5 Keys To A Successful Republican 2014

Republicans can have a pretty good year at the ballot box in 2014 if, as the Doors sang, they can "keep [their] eyes on the road and [their] hands upon the wheel."

Democratic funders have all but given up retaking the House and are training resources on retaining the Senate, which political prognosticator Larry Sabato now puts at "50/50." They know the congressional races of 2014 will draw smaller turnouts, which favors Republicans, and that losing the Senate would consign President Obama to finishing his term with lame duck status.

It could all blow up – Republicans are famous for snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. But if they can remember a few simple guidelines, they can press the advantage they enjoy now at the ballot box in November.

1) Keep the spotlight focused on Obamacare: Democrats continue to pretend otherwise, but they have begun to realize the political drag associated with the president's signature legislative achievement will far outlive the bungled rollout and balky website. Not only are the president's approval numbers near all-time lows, the approval numbers for Obamacare continue to sink as well. Today, nearly a third of Democrats oppose the law and nearly two-thirds of independents. Even Obama's loyal allies in the union movement – union leader Richard Trumka is the most frequent visitor to the White House since Obama became president – have begun to squawk. Losers – people who have lost insurance, been forced into a more expensive plan or had to change doctors or hospitals – outnumber winners, those who have benefitted from the law, by 5 to 1 or more. Those numbers may change some between now and November, but probably not much. Republicans should talk constantly about the law's failures, be ready with solutions of their own and remind voters that not a single member of their party voted for this disaster. It truly should be the gift that keeps on giving.

Read more from Ford O'Connell at U.S. News & World Report

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Analysis & Political Strategy