The New Health Care Strategy in Action

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As Crowley writes today on Time.com, health care is not dominating either party’s message heading into the midterms. But that doesn’t mean no one is talking about it. As Kate reports, Democrats are experimenting with novel ways of selling a skeptical electorate on the merits of the new law. Almost assuredly doomed Arkansas Senator Blanche Lincoln released a new ad today directly defending her vote on PPACA and it seems to follow the new thinking from reform advocates pretty closely:

Before defending herself, Lincoln concedes that she’s “gotten an earful” from “angry” voters and highlights her opposition to a “government run program.” That sounds a lot like using a “transition message to meet [voters] where they are and relax their defenses.” And then there’s her ending line: “I ‘ll never stop working to make [health care] better for Arkansas.” That hews pretty closely to this piece of advice:

In this context, voters what to move on and improve the law rather than repeal it. The language of “improve” works better than “fix,” “repair,” or “innovate” because it is positive and forward-looking.

And she doesn’t try anything on the list of don’ts:

-assume public knows the health reform law passed or if they know it passed understand how it will affect them;
-list benefits outside of any personal context;
-barrage voters with a long list of benefits;
-use complex language or insider jargon;
-use heated political rhetoric or congratulatory language;
-say the law will reduce costs and deficit

That’s not to say there’s necessarily a connection here. Lincoln is fighting for her political life in a deeply red state where she’s unlikely to make much headway by using what many Democrats have tried so far. But this ad is more or less what the new strategy that Kate explored would look like in action.

And for what it’s worth, the ads below (released today by Republican independent expenditure group American Crossroads) are the type of thing many Democrats are up against this cycle:

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