We’ve heard almost nothing except Kochsteria from Democrats in 2014, starting with Harry Reid and working down to the grassroots level. Jill Lawrence argues at The Week that Democrats should be worried about their own billionaires than those of the Republicans, and not just because of hypocrisy. In 2014, their agendas — and their cash — will put them on a collision course with the party’s attempts to hold serve in the midterms:
Reducing gun violence and curbing global warming are high priorities for most Democrats. So theoretically, they should be thrilled about plans by like-minded billionaires Michael Bloomberg and Tom Steyer to pour money into this year’s midterm elections.
But there’s a huge catch: The uber-rich pair could help Democrats lose the Senate and do worse than expected in the House. …
Given Republican resistance to even accepting that climate change exists, much less doing anything about it, Steyer knows that a Democratic Senate would be more receptive to his crusade. Still, he put endangered Louisiana Democrat Mary Landrieu, a chief oil-and-gas industry ally, on a list of potential targets.
The Bloomberg group is even more cavalier about party majorities, though Democrats are twice as open as Republicans to tightening gun laws. “The Senate is controlled by the Democrats and we weren’t able to pass background checks,” John Feinblatt, a Bloomberg adviser and president of Everytown for Gun Safety, said Wednesday on a conference call. Feinblatt said Bloomberg could not be clearer: “He is going to hold people accountable when they vote against gun safety and he’s going to reward those people who vote to keep Americans safer.”
It may not make a lot of difference anyway. Incumbent Democrats have a millstone around their necks called ObamaCare, and it’s going to get exponentially worse in the fall when the employer mandates come into effect. The Cadillac tax will force employers to downsize their plans — which, by the way, will also cut into the static-analysis expectations of revenue for the ObamaCare system, too. Some employers will see the taxes and the massive premium hikes coming for 2015 and conclude that it’s better to get out of the health-insurance business, which will throw millions into the individual exchanges, perhaps as many as 93 million down the road. That kind of churn and uncertainty will have a big impact on the midterm vote.
Some Democrats can see the train wreck coming from here. Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA) predicts that Democrats will lose the House and probably the Senate too, thanks to ObamaCare (via Legal Insurrection):
U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch, the lone member of the Bay State delegation to vote against Obamacare four years ago, now predicts the law’s botched roll-out will not only cost Democrats valuable House seats but could even jeopardize their control of the Senate in this year’s hotly contested midterm elections.
“We will lose seats in the House,” the plain-talking South Boston Democrat said in Boston Herald Radio’s studio yesterday, delivering a harsh diagnosis. “I am fairly certain of that based on the poll numbers that are coming out from the more experienced pollsters down there. And I think we may lose the Senate. I think that’s a possibility if things continue to go the way they have been … primarily because of health care.”
Lynch cuttingly questioned whether many of his colleagues who echoed President Obama’s health care promises even “read through the bill really,” noting that many mechanisms created to fund the law still aren’t in effect.
Among them, Lynch said, is a hefty tax on employers who offer so-called “Cadillac” plans that won’t come into play until 2018.
“There’s all these taxes and fees that are the tough medicine, that up to now they haven’t implemented. I don’t know who’s going to do that,” Lynch said. “Maybe … they expect the next administration is going to put these penalties in place. I think that’s the time it’s going to hit the fan.”
If that’s going to happen anyway, this might be the best cycle for Bloomberg and Steyer to make their point. Afteer all, they want their politicians to get back onto their reservations for the 2016 cycle, when it will really matter for Democrats. Consider this a shot across the bow.