Democrats won only because a third-party candidate—self-proclaimed tea partier Jack Davis—spent a reported $3 million of his own money. Absent Mr. Davis as a spoiler—he got 9% of the vote—Democrats would never have made a serious bid for this district, nor won if they did. Ironically, Mr. Davis ran for the same seat in the last three elections as a Democrat. This year he ran as a populist conservative.
But you won’t hear that from the folks on the left. A third party candidate, coupled with a Medicare scare campaign, won the race for the Democrats.
This is not to say that a GOP budget that reforms Medicare is a liability–on the contrary, it will be an asset, if Republicans can learn to talk about it right. If they can communicate that their budget is fair, keeps Medicare viable, and brings federal spending down (and that no one will be hurt or thrown off a cliff), voters will respond favorably.
Voters want to hear about Medicare reform. They understand the serious threat that the current spending trends present for our country. But Republicans have got to learn to communicate and counter Democrats distortions. Otherwise, it won’t matter how good the plan to reform unfunded liabilities is–Democrats will win elections based on the threat of negative change.