Tuesday's special House election between Democrat Alex Sink and Republican David Jolly is hailed as a preview of November coming attractions. One lesson that will likely be trumpeted: Obamacare is not a silver bullet for Republicans.
When Republican Rep. Bill Young died last October, it set up Tuesday's contest, pitting Sink, the former CFO of the state of Florida, against Jolly, former counsel general for Young. We tend to make a lot out of special elections, in part because they allow both political parties and the entire news media to focus on one thing instead of a thousand. But the added political tension over Obamacare — and both campaigns' willingness to advocate a position on the health care law — has turned the race into what Slate's Dave Weigel calls "Obamacare's Ground Zero."
"If Obamacare could break Sink, it could break anyone," Weigel writes. "If she can defend the law, Democrats in tougher races will start to believe they can, too." Weigel interviews voters on all sides: a young woman whose plan was cancelled, a woman in the Medicaid gap, an older man who is pleased that the law gives him added flexibility. Florida's enrollment numbers are higher than most states, Weigel notes, making the law relatively successful. Charlie Crist, running for his old job (governor) with a new party (Democratic), praised Obamacare over the weekend on CNN: "I think it’s been great. I know the rollout was difficult; I’m sure the president feels that way too."