Unlike ’16, Democrats embrace health care on the campaign trail

In the campaign of 2016, Republicans clobbered Democrats on the campaign trail over their support of health care. And, because of Obamacare’s unpopularity, a lot of Democrats didn’t fight back. The rest is history.

Americans didn’t like health care much until they were set to lose it last year in the initial wave of attempts to rollback the Affordable Care Act.

That should’ve told the Democrats something. It did. At least it did for North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, a Democrat in a blood red state who is trying to hold onto her seat by tarring Republicans with the very thing that got them elected in the last election.

“It’s all the proof you need to know that 2018 will be the inverse of the past two midterm cycles: Democrats are relying on Obamacare to carry them in tough races rather than Republicans exploiting it to bring them down,” Vox’s Dylan Scott writes today.

You won’t find this message in just North Dakota either. Democrats are spending more money on ads for health care, according to the Cook Political Report, than any other issue.

Like Heitkamp, Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin has emphasized her personal history with preexisting conditions — she’s had one since she was 9 — in the Wisconsin Senate campaign.

In West Virginia, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), also up for reelection in a tough race, penned an op-ed earlier this summer that criticized the Trump administration for attacking preexisting conditions.

“Heitkamp’s support for Obamacare has saddled North Dakotans with higher costs, worse care, and fewer options; and voters will remember that in November,” North Dakota Republican Party spokesman Jake Wilkins said, betting that what worked before can work again.