While some Democratic strategists have advocated for their candidates to embrace messaging that stresses their desire to mend the health care law, the early television advertising in a slate of key races suggests an inclination toward a much more aggressive posture.
It centers around a counterattack used widely in 2012: Republicans would gut Medicare, push up out-of-pocket prescription costs and threaten seniors’ retirement. What it lacks in originality, Democrats hope it makes up in resonance.
Nowhere is the strategy more pronounced than in Arkansas, where Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor is attempting to beat back a potent challenge by fresh-faced, first-term GOP Rep. Tom Cotton.
Of the nine television commercials Pryor has run so far, five feature the Medicare charge.
Due to Obamacare’s unquestionable unpopularity in the Natural State, Pryor’s campaign team views Medicare as a particularly salient issue for them to raise. It allows them to address health care while forcing Cotton into a defensive position in a relatively poor state that has half a million Medicare beneficiaries.
Because Cotton not only voted for the Ryan budget, but also supported the more conservative Republican Study Committee budget – which eventually lifts the retirement age to 70 – Democrats see the congressman as uniquely vulnerable.