Why Democrats lost

An editorial from The Charleston Gazette

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — For at least 14 years, national and state Democrats have been running from their successes. When it is time to explain to people what Democrats have to offer, instead they try to out-Republican the Republicans. Is it any wonder that approach doesn’t appeal to voters?

West Virginia saw it again Tuesday. To no one’s surprise, the state chose Republicans for U.S. Senate and all three seats in the House of Representatives, sent a majority of Republicans to the House of Delegates and tied the state Senate.

With some small exceptions, the most prominent Democrats did everything they could to distance themselves not only from President Obama, but also from Democratic accomplishments that actually help West Virginians.

Health care is a perfect example. Exit polling data from the AP shows that nationally, 48 percent of voters said they think the Affordable Care Act “went too far.” In West Virginia, it was 59 percent.

Yet, the Affordable Care Act has been very good for West Virginia. It has expanded health insurance — and therefore health care access — to more than 100,000 West Virginians. With it came insurance industry reforms that prevent people from losing coverage when they get sick. It has slowed the rising cost of health care. It has been good for hospitals, which are seeing fewer charity care cases. Since charity care bills are passed on to those who do pay, that should mean less cost shifted to everyone else’s bills. For decades, rising health care bills have been one of the biggest drags on business and profitability.

But what did West Virginians hear from Democrats seeking election this fall? Precious little about that profound success…

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