Hindsight is always 20/20.
People are piling on Alex Sink. Her volunteers are blasting her on Facebook that she ran a keystone cops campaign. The Young Turks are blistering her for bashing the president on the ACA rollout and trying to be "republican-lite". And these guys are gentle compared to the skewering she is getting on the internwebs.
I met Alex Sink in 2007. She is a wickedly smart woman. She did an excellent job as CFO in Florida. But she has always been a wishy-washy Democrat. These are not the best for turnout. Midterm elections are all about the base, and even though they know they will be hurt by the opposition, they only bother to show up if they feel you will fight for them. And yes, I agree that politics is not her specialty. (No matter how you spin it, she has now lost to two fatally-flawed candidates).
Although she deserves a fair share of blame, I do think it unfair to place the entire defeat squarely on her shoulders. Keep in mind that this is Florida, the land where people vote against their own best interests--and unfortunately, these are the people who vote most often. Here, more than anywhere, Democrats have had an historically persistant problem of turning out our base for midterm elections--and this hurdle was made even harder: we were trying to get our people to vote in freaking March. In-person voting on election day put Jolly over the top: his districts had turnout of over 50%. Ours was around 30%.
I should also mention that Rick Scott went so far as to target the Elections Supervisor to make absentee voting as inconvenient as possible in this particular district. He succeeded.
I was trying to be positive for our sake, but this state has let me down so many times and the obstacles were as such for this special election that I was frankly amazed we did as well as we did.
But I'm not posting here today to defend or lament Alex's campaign. I think its safe to say her political career is over, so focusing on her is pointless. However, we SHOULD learn from this campaign. If we do, there is no reason why we shouldn't win in November. But we have to, this time, learn the right lesson. The reason I'm posting right now is to say LOUD AND CLEAR that unless we want to lose, (and sometimes I wonder), the one thing our national and state party SHOULD NOT do is take their marching orders from Fox News or right-wing radio.
In other words, DO NOT RUN FROM OBAMACARE.
The Affordable Care Act is popular here. Florida has the second-highest rate of signups in the nation--only behind California. This is freaking amazing, considering that Rick Scott, the legislature, and our attorney general are working as hard as they can to make it as difficult as possible. We not only don't have our own exchange, our Secretary of State refuses to give information on it. Rick Scott even issued an order to prevent residents from finding out how to sign up for it. If you try go to Florida's website just to find information on where to go, you get a nasty page filled with burdensome regulations and warnings about being a health care navigator. And yet, people in this state are still finding ways to sign up.
Consider this: In freaking red Kentucky, over 300,000 people, half of all of their uninsured, have signed up thru ACA. Can you imagine if Florida set up something for our people? If our leaders were actually trying to HELP the uninsured get healthcare?
People in this state are getting healthcare who never had it before. Next time, instead of a lukewarm response, how about touting the myriad of benefits of this law that people love? FL-13 is packed with seniors. Just one ad about the benefits of ACA for seniors might have closed the deal: the 250M investment to fight fraud (which also would have allowed an obvious swipe at Rick Scott), the requirement that insurance companies offer free preventive care (like colorectal cancer), or the fact that the ACA finally CLOSES the medication donut hole!
HELL NO I don't want to repeal it! How can you be AGAINST any of those things? How can you be against the job creation and lower rates because you refused Medicaid expansion? How can you be FOR taking insurance away from people who finally have it? Where was THAT line of attack?
The other side is going to run against ACA. In fact, the only advantage of this failed election is that the GOP is going to double-down on campaigning against it, even though the war is over! We WON! The American people now support the law at 64%, and its growing everyday as more and more people sign up. Those advocating complete repeal are throwing in the towel.
Running away from it is a fool's errand for a Democrat--and in shortime, for a republican as well. Keep in mind that the people who hate Obamacare are never going to vote for you, but you can excite your own base by letting them know that the ACA might be crippled. Give them a reason to come out and fight with you! For those few remaining on the fence, hit them with a whole list why its awesome!
AS A DEMOCRAT, YOU OWN THE LAW... SO FREAKING OWN IT!!!
The law's opponents are spending millions and can't even find people who aren't benefiting from this law. Why aren't we running ads on the MILLIONS it has helped? Heck, I can find you two people on my block who would make a commercial.
The GOP is saying we should run from what is arguably the Democrat's greatest social achievement. WE need to have candidates with a message that is exactly the opposite.
Now I expect the GOP to take the wrong message from this election, but heaven help us if we do the same.
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