• Dems stake 2014 survival on class strife
• Study: ObamaCare will boost, not reduce emergency room visits
• Weed Wars: All about the green
• Aiken for a House seat?
• Did you remember to get diapers?
DEMS STAKE 2104 SURVIVAL ON CLASS STRIFE - ObamaCare is going to cost Democrats dearly in this year’s midterm elections. And if early warnings about higher costs, less access to care and disrupted coverage for the 85 percent of Americans who were covered before the law prove true, there may be little anyone can do to avoid another landslide defeat for the blue team. But while Republicans are readying themselves for majority status, Democrats know that the only number that matters is five. If Democrats can limit Republican gains in the Senate to five or less, nothing changes in Washington. So while the GOP is thinking big, Democrats are thinking small, small, small. While Republicans are hoping to ride a national tide, Democrats are hoping to just protect half of the 10 most vulnerable seats on their side of the aisle. Their strategy: to focus on an issue that has animated the activist base of the party for generations: The gap between rich and poor. It may not be nearly as important as ObamaCare, but President Obama and Harry Reid don’t need it to be. They just need to squeeze out enough base voters to preserve a Senate majority.
[Peter Beinart - Democrats in 2014: The Party of John Edwards “The North Carolinian laid the groundwork for Bill de Blasio’s mayoral run and Barack Obama’s 2014 agenda, but don’t expect his name to come up.”]
Limiting losses - There may be no saving red state Democrats like Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark. or Mark Begich, D-Alaska. But a relentless attack on income inequality might offer something for Democrats in states with large urban centers or with strong populist or union sentiments: Michigan, Iowa, West Virginia, North Carolina and even South Dakota come to mind. So while Republicans are girding for what may be the most brutal rounds of primary fighting yet, Democrats are building their bases and uniting the party around “eat the rich” politics. It worked for Obama in 2012, and if it just works a little bit in 2014 it might be enough to save the day. If Democrats do it right, a few thousand votes in a few races could mean preserving the president’s agenda and keeping the health law lurching forward.
Combo platter: Welfare and wages - Republicans who dismiss this thinking will do so at their own peril. Senate majority leader Harry Reid will start the barrage on Monday with a call to restore federal benefits to those who have exhausted their state unemployment insurance. And soon thereafter, expect a strong push on raising the federal minimum wage, a popular policy offering. Republicans decried “class warfare” in 2012, but ended up getting clobbered anyway. The midterm electorate will be different, but just a few races on the bubble could change the arc of history this year. Reid will not be shy about discovering his inner Bill de Blasio. And for Obama, who has made income redistribution the chief aim of his presidency, this is exactly where he wants to be. The Democratic dream scenario: House Republicans split on welfare and wage issues amid the added pressures of the debt-limit fight set to begin one month hence. Even if Democrats can’t squeeze out a government shutdown, they can get weeks of talking points, especially from an establishment press that is quite keen on the subject.