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2014 Watch

Democrats' secret 2014 weapon: Expanding Social Security?

Democrats' secret 2014 weapon: Expanding Social Security?

That's the argument Greg Sargent lays out over at The Washington Post. The thinking goes like this: Midterm voters tend to be older and whiter, which favors the GOP. But Democrats could peel away some of those voters by pushing an expansion of Social Security and forcing Republicans to come out publicly against such a plan. Sargent continues:

Dem Senator Sherrod Brown, a member of the Finance Committee, tells me that GOP Senators have requested hearings into Social Security Disability Insurance this summer. [...] Brown says Dems should seize this occasion to get behind a proposal that would lift or change the payroll tax cap, meaning higher earners would pay more, while adopting a new measure for inflation that would increase benefits for all seniors. Instead of getting drawn into debates about "Chained CPI" and other entitlement cuts, Brown says, Dems should make the case that stagnating wages and declining pensions and savings demand an expansion of social insurance. [Washington Post]

That may not be a bad idea. Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) was once considered the most vulnerable incumbent Democrat this year. Then he launched an ad blitz bashing his opponent for wanting to gut Social Security and, though that campaign can't be solely credited for Pryor's reversal of fortunes, he's now posting double-digit leads in some polls.