My colleague Caitlin Owens noticed a trend as she looked around at Republicans' midterm campaigns: Many of them keep promising that if they win, they will do unpopular things — like repeal the Affordable Care Act or cut Medicare.
Between the lines: The reason for this, especially for Republicans, is that this year isn't about persuading or winning over swing voters. It's about turning out the base. And the base still wants ACA repeal.
- “It’s all about the base, because as far as I can tell, they’ve lost the independents, there’s no one left to woo," said conservative economist Doug Holtz-Eakin, a former campaign aide to late Sen. John McCain.
Many Republicans in swing districts have backed off their most overt ACA attacks, as the Daily Beast notes from a survey of candidates' websites.
- ACA repeal polls poorly overall, including with independents.
- Registered Republicans are the only group that still supports it.
But that's enough, at least in some races.
- Vice President Mike Pence told reporters in Wisconsin that if the GOP candidate wins the Senate seat there, the effort will be revived, per The Hill.
- “We made an effort to fully repeal and replace ObamaCare and we'll continue, with Leah Vukmir in the Senate, we'll continue to go back to that," he said.
Some vulnerable Republicans are also reviving the GOP plan to curb Medicare spending — a plan Democrats attacked vociferously in 2010 and 2012, when they were in a far weaker position on broader health care issues.