President Obama’s approval ratings are in the dumps and the pundit class has all but declared the midterms over for Democrats.
This week’s election results were immediately spun as a “win” for Republicans and their repeal Obamacare messaging. But not so fast; the overreaction to the special election results in Florida’s 13th district, a historically Republican district, is another example of the media jumping to conclusions to spell doom for the president. Special election results where the voters were majority white and old aren’t exactly a predictor for how a much larger and much more diverse electorate will behave in November.
Obama’s presidency has been declared dead more than once. The Obama presidency always manages to live to see another day no matter how many times the conservative National Journal declares it over. Right now with his approval at 41 percent, the conventional wisdom, driven by GOP spin, is that the country is unhappy with the direction of the country because of…Obamacare? This assertion doesn’t match up with facts or polling on the healthcare law. Obamacare numbers are solid (especially when the law’s components are polled individually) and 4.2 million people enrolled is nothing to sneeze at.
That’s 4.2 million lives changed. That’s 4.2 million American families with a level of financial security they’ve never had before. Republicans haven’t put forth any ideas to deal with the problems impacting Americans who are concerned about jobs, the economy, retirement, and student debt.
Democrats are smart to run on the minimum wage which was historically a bipartisan issue; an optimist could even imagine a scenario where the Republicans are shamed into passing legislation to help someone. The Republican kabuki dance done for the mainstream media on Obamacare is a distraction. It’s the bright shiny object they want the media to look at while they skate by with empty rhetoric and no serious policy proposals.
Democrats can continue focusing on the issues that are popular among the American people, all while figuring out a field strategy to get their majority coalition to the polls in a low turnout midterm election. This is of course in the face of restrictions to voting rights in critical states that give electoral advantages to Republicans.
Beyond that, on culture issues, Democrats certainly have the support of an emerging majority coalition that supports equal rights for everyone. That while simultaneously pulling the economy from the brink of collapse.
On his site The Daily Dish, Andrew Sullivan put it succinctly saying that, “If someone had suggested to me in 2009 that by 2014, after the worst recession since the 1930s and after the huge debt pile-up in the Bush years that the U.S. would be growing steadily, gaining energy independence, and cutting its deficit deeply, I’d have been amazed. We’ve so easily forgotten the extraordinary crisis Obama inherited. We shouldn’t. This presidency was always going to be judged on whether it could return the U.S. to normal governance after the economic calamity of 2007, and after the disastrous wars that were far from over. I fail to see how Obama has failed in any critical respect. Not that it gets him much praise these days. For that we may have to wait for history’s judgment.”
President Obama will have an incredible legacy on the strength of Obamacare alone. Especially considering Republican obstruction at every turn. It may just take time for the media to snap out of their reactionary echo chamber chasing down every false Obamacare “horror” story and instead turn their attention to the 4.2 million stories that have yet to be told.
Follow Zerlina Maxwell on Twitter at @ZerlinaMaxwell.