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April 15, 2014 9:05 AM How It’s Done: Mark Begich Campaigns On Obamacare

By Mark Kleiman

As long as the polls show the net favorables for “Obamacare” under water, there will be a temptation for Democrats, especially in Red states, to run away from it. That approach is (1) cowardly (2) wrong and (3) futile.

If people hate the ACA, they’re not going to love Democratic candidates.And if Democrats don’t stand up and brag about about the program’s good points, lazy reporters will keep reporting, “objectively,” that it is a disaster, and low-information voters will belive them. There’s a bit of a collective-action problem here; no one wants to be out of step with everyone else, but it’s also a case of “hang together or hang separately.” The only sane approach for Democrats as group is to be loud and proud about what a great idea it is to protect people from the risks of disease, the vagaries of the job market, the rapacity of some elements of the medical-care system, and the cold-bloodedness of health insurers.

Like this ad from the Mark Begich campaign in Alaska:

h/t Martin Longman at Washington Monthly Longman’s piece, about the “hack gap,” is worth reading. I’d add that it applies to politicians as well as pundits.

[Cross-posted at The Reality-Based Community]

Mark Kleiman is a professor of public policy at the University of California Los Angeles.

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