Democrats have to stop allowing Republicans to define the election as an up or down vote on an abstraction called Obamacare. Instead of running away from health reform, they have to run on it -– in the right way. The key is to denominate the choice in terms of specific provisions of the law, which are overwhelmingly popular in survey after survey.

Pound away at a Republican candidate for proposing, and a Republican House incumbent for voting 51 times, to permit insurance companies to deny coverage for pre- existing conditions; 65% of Americans disagree with that in the Bloomberg data. Assail Republicans for opposing a ban on lifetime limits, so policies can’t be canceled when patients are sickest and need them most; 53% of Americans support the ban. And go after Republicans for favoring or voting for a bill to deprive children up to the age of 26 of the chance to stay on their parents’ health insurance policy. Here Democrats are in sync with 73% of the country.

Even the individual mandate elicits just narrow disapproval, 51% to 47%. Democrats can defend it, but it’s imperative to go on offense by recognizing and actualizing the reality that the parts of health reform are more powerful politically than its sum.