The “Screaming Siren” for 2014 Is Not Obamacare

So David Plouffe has been quoted by TPM’s Sahil Kapur as saying that the results in FL-13 are a “screaming siren” warning for Democrats that something equally bad could happen in November.

You can count on Republicans (and perhaps some MSM pundits) taking the quote out of context to suggest that Obamacare could sink the Donkey Party’s prospects this year. But actually, Plouffe went out of his way to say that wasn’t the problem: it is, instead, what readers of PA have known for a good long while: midterm falloff

“It doesn’t necessarily have to be a harbinger. We have a turnout issue. And I think that this is a screaming siren that the same problems that afflicted us in ’10 — and traditionally we’ve had tougher off years than presidential years — that could face us again,” Plouffe told Bloomberg TV’s “Political Capital with Al Hunt” in an interview set to air Friday night….

“I think for, particularly red states, and we’ve got a bunch of red states though like in Louisiana, in Arkansas, we have significant minority population. We’re going to have to work over time on turnout,” he said. “It’s not just about data and technology. The candidates themselves are going to have to do a good job.”

It could be the difference between a tough year with limited losses, setting up Democrats for a boffo 2016 when the Senate landscape improves immensely and a presidential electorate is in play, and something more like 2010. And Plouffe’s right: there’s no magic technological instrument at hand. It will take exceptional targeting, but also a lot of old-fashioned motivation. A good start would be a refusal to take the bait and panic over Obamacare, which remains more or less a wash, best as we can tell.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.