Republicans want you to think they’re ready to kick some butt in 2014.
They’re giddily sharing a new article from Politico that says Democrats have given up on the House in hopes of saving their Senate majority. They love hearing that almost as much as a new memo from former Clinton advisor William Galston predicting the public will reject President Obama’s “go-it-alone” approach.
These analyses swell Republican confidence on the premise that it will always be October and November of 2013 for President Obama, with HealthCare.gov floundering and Obamacare death-spiraling. And with their billionaire donors reinvigorated and involved in the primary process, the GOP expects 2014 to look a lot more like 2010 than 2012.
The truth is the president’s approval ratings have begun to improve, slightly, and he remains leagues more popular than Republicans and Congress as a whole. And while Democrats are probably correct that their chances of winning the House are minute, the likelihood of a GOP landslide has diminished greatly since the dark days of December.
Here’s why Republicans may still blow their third straight chance of winning the Senate.
1. The worst of the Obamacare crisis is over.
The popularity of the president’s health care law has not recovered but data from the insurers suggests that the law is nowhere near the peril its critics imagine. Just over 3 million people have picked a private plan from an exchange and for the first time a majority of the uninsured say they plan to get covered before the March 31 open enrollment deadline.
And Republicans have accepted that repeal isn’t an option, with a majority consistently saying they want to keep and fix the law.
Now that Republicans are being forced to offer their own alternatives, they’re going to have to defend some uncomfortable things — like tax increases on the middle class paired with tax breaks for the rich. And eventually someone is going to point out that these alternatives require lots and lots of cancelations of insurance plans, which makes it hard to run against cancelations.