If Obamacare isn’t a disaster, what does a disaster look like? How could this be any worse? But a lot of liberals — including Eugene Robinson, Carter Eskew and Kevin Drum of Mother Jones — are encouraging Democrats on the ballot in November to hunker down and promote Obamacare as a success story. I hope Democrats follow this advice. It could only serve to turn out more Republicans and independents in the midterm elections who aren’t just angry and looking for negative retribution but who want to vote affirmatively for relief from Obamacare. What could a Democratic candidate in a competitive race say that would make the growing list of horrible consequences of Obamacare seem worth it or destined to serve the public good?

To a lot of voters, the 2014 elections will be referendum on Obamacare. Candidates are either for Obamacare or against it. It is binary. No parsing or weaselly attempts at nuance will work. The best thing a Democratic candidate can do is acknowledge failure and ask for the chance to start over.