Democrats could face a tough choice in election races this fall: Defend Obamacare, or propose ways to fix it.
One thing seems certain: Avoiding the topic won't be an option.
"Ignoring it and hoping it will go away is sort of like standing in the Crimea and saying we'll just ignore the Russian troops," Michael Barone, senior political analyst for the Washington Examiner, told “The Steve Malzberg Show” on Newsmax TV.
Top Democrats such as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi
and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz have said they will run proudly on the legacy of the Affordable Care Act, but Barone said they can afford to do so because they hail from heavily Democratic districts.
Those in tight races and swing districts don't have that luxury. The Affordable Care Act is flagging in its popularity, and candidates will be hard-pressed to propose solutions that encourage voters. Even then, tuning up something that is widely perceived to be broken is likely to be a hard political road.
"The fact is that none of these sound particularly persuasive and there does not seem to be a winning tactic. It's defensive," Barone said. The best advice he can think of for Democrats is to "try somehow to change the subject."
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The GOP has its own questions to figure out. It must determine where it stands on hot-button issues like abortion and same-sex marriage, and how it will appeal to younger voters, particularly around those two issues, Barone says. Declaring that he has been studying voters under-30, the so-called millenials, he says they are more conservative than some might expect.
"On the abortion issue, they are, if anything, as much in favor of restrictions on abortions, not abolishing it, but restrictions, as the older age groups, even a little more so," Barone says.
"They're the sonogram generation, the idea that there's a baby involved is not a foreign idea to them. On the other hand, same-sex marriage, 61 percent of young Republicans are in favor of same-sex marriage. You're looking at elderly Republicans you've got about 61 percent against. That's an issue that divides the Republican coalition."
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