Are Democrats Doomed in 2014?

Slate's weekly political roundtable.
Feb. 7 2014 1:20 PM

The “Take This Job and Shove It, ’Cause I've Got Obamacare” Gabfest

Listen to Slate's show about the 2014 midterms, whether Obamacare will really reduce employment, and the 10th anniversary of Facebook.

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On this week’s Slate Political Gabfest, Emily Bazelon, John Dickerson, and David Plotz discuss Democratic and Republican prospects in the 2014 midterms, the truth behind the CBO’s estimate that some people will work fewer hours because of Obamacare, and the 10th anniversary of Facebook.  

Here are some of the links and references mentioned during this week's show:

  • In sixth-year midterm elections since World War II, the president's party has lost an average of 5.6 Senate seats and 29 House seats.
  • Democrats need to pick up 17 seats to take back the House. According to the Cook Political Report, only 15 seats are toss-ups.
  • Most of the vulnerable Senate seats this year are in red states; Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana, Montana, North Carolina, South Dakota, and West Virginia will be difficult for Democrats to hold.
  • The electorate in midterm elections is usually whiter, older, and more conservative.
  • Obamacare will reduce employment by the equivalent of 2.5 million jobs by 2024, according to a report the Congressional Budget Office released Tuesday.
  • Many conservatives (and some news organizations) initially reported that the CBO had said Obamacare would kill 2.5 million jobs. That's a false reading.
  • Jonathan Chait proposed a thought experiment in New York Magazine: If we had universal health care and repealed it, forcing millions of Americans into the labor market, would we consider that job creation?
  • The CBO report is a reminder that a law with Obamacare's scale creates a lot of economic uncertainty, John writes.
  • It's Facebook's 10th anniversary. People have claimed that the site elected Obama and caused the Arab Spring.

John chatters about the 1917 Immigration Act, which required a literacy test and passed over President Woodrow Wilson's veto.

Emily chatters about a woman who was fired from a Whole Foods in Chicago because she stayed home from work to care for her special-needs son during the polar vortex.

David chatters about David Simon's plan to create a musical based on the music of the Pogues.

This week's credits are in haiku.

Topic ideas for next week? You can tweet suggestions, links, and questions to @SlateGabfest. The email address for the Political Gabfest is (Email may be quoted by name unless the writer stipulates otherwise.)

Podcast production by Mike Vuolo. Links compiled by Rebecca Cohen.

Emily Bazelon was a Slate senior editor from 2005 to 2014. She is the author of Sticks and Stones.

John Dickerson is Slate's chief political correspondent and author of On Her Trail. Read his series on the presidency and on risk.

David Plotz is Slate's editor at large. He's the author of The Genius Factory and Good Book.


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