For Democrats, the Ides of March came early this year.
On March 11, to be precise, in a special election in a swing congressional district in Florida. A mostly unknown Republican knocked off a much better known Democrat, just like Roman conspirators knocked off Julius Caesar in 44 B.C. Caesar’s killers used a knife. The Republicans’ deadly weapon? Obamacare. Three-quarters of Republican TV spots mentioned Obamacare.
Democrats need to practice saying, “Just wait until next time.” Because while 2014 is looking worse and worse for Democrats, 2016 is looking better and better.
Midterm elections like 2014 are not about choosing a leader. They’re about sending a message.
And the message voters seem to want to send this year is, “Obamacare isn’t working.” Total enrollment is lagging. More dangerously, enrollment of young people 18 to 34 is lagging behind enrollment of people over 55. Without enough young and healthy people in the risk pool, premiums will skyrocket. Insurance companies will announce new premiums for 2015 this fall — just before the election.
To prevent sticker shock, the Obama administration may offer subsidies to insurance companies. That would give Republicans a new complaint: another government bailout! It was public anger over government bailouts that first gave rise to the Tea Party back in 2009.