The Backlash To Losing Roe v. Wade Is Just Getting Started

by | Nov 19, 2022 | Politics

The end of national abortion rights threw a wrench in Republican plans for a “red wave” in the midterm elections by turning the advantages of running against an unpopular president’s party on their head.The biggest policy change of President Joe Biden’s first term wasn’t passed by Congress nor signed by the president. In Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which in June overturned the abortion rights precedent set in 1973 in Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court’s Republican-appointed conservatives asserted themselves, and the party that put them on the bench as counter-incumbents to Biden. Their woefully unpopular decision — consistently opposed by at least 60% of Americans across most polls — energized Democratic Party voters when backers of the current president’s party usually are less engaged. It not only helped limit Republicans to a maximum net gain of nine seats in the U.S. House but also helped Democrats maintain Senate control and win crucial state-level races for governor and state legislature seats in more traditionally conservative states such as Arizona, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.AdvertisementAnd just as the court’s Roe v. Wade ruling worked to disassemble the interests and factions that made up Democrats’ New Deal coalition, so too will Dobbs continue to tear at the seams of the GOP coalition for elections to come.The first sign that Dobbs had changed the 2022 election dynamic came when Republican-heavy Kansas voted down an anti-abortion initiative in August. A string of Democratic overperformances in House special elections followed the Kansas vote, culminating in Democratic wins for Pat Ryan in New York and Mary Peltola in Alaska, who both ran on explicitly pro-abortion rights platforms.Seeing how the electorate reacted to Dobbs in these races, Democrats made abortion the top attack issue in their midterm campaign with tens of millions of dollars invested in advertising. The goal all along was to energize Democratic voters over abortion rights as a way to blunt the traditional political advantage Republicans would gain as the party not in control of the White House and not presiding over the economic turmoil dragging down Biden’s approval rating.AdvertisementRepublican and Democratic political operatives agree that the Dobbs decision activated Democratic voters and prevented the “red wave” that was widely expected, HuffPost reporters Kevin Robillard and Alanna Vagiannos reported.Two post-election polls — a TV network exit poll and a Kaiser Family Foundation supplement to the Associated Press’s VoteBeat survey — back that up, with numbers showing that the Dobbs decision energized key constituencies in support of Democrats and drove crossover Republican voting in key races.Republican and Democratic political operatives agree that the Dobbs v. Jackson decision in June activated Democratic voters and prevented the “red wave” that was widely expected in the midterm elections.Anadolu Agency via Getty ImagesThis …

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