Today’s Republicans are obsessed with Obamacare. Clinton, who’s so comfortable drawing distinctions on specific issues, could and would put Democrats on the offensive here. He understands that the question is not just the 7.5 million people already securing coverage on the exchanges, or the 8 million who will sign up for Medicaid this year, or the 100 million Americans who now have access to free preventive care, including mammograms for women. The explainer in chief can easily and eloquently point to all that. But he also can oversee the making of ads, alongside a flow of earned media events, that starkly hold the GOP accountable for voting to deny access to mammograms—and to let insurance companies refuse coverage because of preexisting conditions, cut it off when people get sick, or throw young adults off their parents’ policies.
That is the high ground of the battle if Democrats will seize it. And it has the additional advantage of being true, in contrast to the parade of broadcast lies featuring individual “horror” stories about Obamacare from conservative propagandists such as the misnamed Americans for Prosperity. If anything, the real horror stories are on the other side—for example, the young mother in Florida with a heart condition who died as she was struggling to afford medication after Republican Gov. Rick Scott turned down the federally funded expansion of Medicaid. Any ad invoking that tragedy would have to be exquisitely sensitive and carefully crafted.