Brace yourselves. War is coming. A slight variation on the classic line from the hit HBO series “Game of Thrones” is in order. By the time the year is up there will be an all out political war knocking on millions of Americans’ doorsteps, televisions, mailboxes and computers. You’ll see them at the local supermarket. You’ll catch signs as you drive down the interstate. There will be countless advertisements on YouTube for you to click ‘Skip this ad now.’ Every night when you watch the evening news there will be either a new attack ad or some pundit talking about the latest scandal to rock a candidate. No I’m not necessarily talking about 2016, though this will be a prelude to that, I’m looking with an eye towards 2014. Oh you are barely getting over the mess that was the 2012 election? Tough luck.
After Barack Obama was re-elected to a 2nd term as President of the United States the embodiment of his campaign, Obama for America morphed into Organizing for Action. With this transformation came a slew of promises that, much like Obama’s 2008 promises, have not come to fruition yet. OFA had a lot of promise. It looked like it would be the biggest operation the nation had ever seen run by an advocacy group born out of a campaign. Liberals everywhere went home after the inauguration comfortable with the belief that the ideals that embodies the democratic agenda would be carried out nationwide by a well organized (irony) Organizing for Action coalition. They’ve been let down. Gun control is dead. Immigration reform is stalled. What purpose does OFA have now? Nothing at the moment. But it’s coming soon. Already the cogs are turning for a new onslaught of campaign ads this time advocating for Obamacare. Oh sure the narrative right now is it’s not about Obamacare so much as it is about stopping Republicans from retaking complete control over Congress but the truth is that this is going to be about Obamacare and this time the Democrats are hoping to change the tune from the last round.
In 2010 Republicans shocked Democrats when they swept to power after a harsh campaign season where it was a non-stop almost daily barrage against the nations’ sweeping healthcare overhaul. A law that already had little public support, and lots of controversy was displayed as an abuse of government power, and a sign of the treachery that was Barack Obama. But in 2012 the tune began to change. Whereas in 2010 democrats largely avoided the issue, even being advised by the DNC if approached in town halls to steer clear of that topic, President Obama embraced it. He acknowledged its largest flaws, thereby encapsulating what much of America felt, and championed the benefits. Backed by a stunning ground team and an impressive ad campaign American opinion on Obamacare shifted ever so slightly. Faced with the comparison against Romney and the Republican platform the alternative would be nothing and the recognition is that that cannot continue. This time with the help of Obama, the DNC, and OFA the plan is to challenge Republicans on the issue and to change the narrative. It is crucial for 2014 and perhaps for 2016 as well while the law is implemented with its many flaws still left intact. Incumbent democratic senators and representatives are being given guidelines by their party leaders on how to approach the issue, and OFA is placing the pieces to prepare for the largest ground game (part two) in an attempt to outsmart the republicans.
Already the efforts by OFA are starting to reach the media. In an article entitled ‘OFA embraces tea party blueprint’ Politico pointed out that ‘the group has grown more quickly than even its leaders anticipated, raised millions of dollars and hired 26 state directors,”
The strategy may yet work. If they can split the vote enough, and drive out the minority vote like in 2012 the opportunity is there. Because even if democrats cannot take back the House they could keep the Senate with that, and perhaps convince House Republicans that if they wanted a shot at 2016 they will need to change. In other words they’ll want and need to hang a sign that says “Closed for repairs.”