Abortion Rights: A Midterm Pivot?
By: Tony Lu
Democrats are focusing on abortion as a keystone issue in the midterm campaigns, in light of the landmark Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. With the impending possibility of losing their slim Senate and House majorities, Democrats are uniting against the high Court’s ruling, while Republicans are attempting to draw attention away from reproductive rights.
Democratic strategists are hoping that the ruling will propel the topic of reproductive rights into the center of media, giving Democrats an significant issue to fight for. In particular, Democratic candidates across the United States believe that a strong pro-abortion stance will attract the support of suburban households and particularly suburban women, a voter group that Democrats had previously lost due to repeated closures and unassertive legislation earlier in the pandemic.
On the other hand, Republican strategists believe that the controversial issue will do little to change many other topics regarding which Democrats are mostly unpopular, including a rapidly-rising crime rate, inflation, and the immigrant crisis. Republicans’ viewpoint comes from a general policy of maintaining their gains and being wary of any potential hot-button topics (such as abortion bans) that may detract from their campaign, in stark contrast with the “desperate” Democratic strategy of focusing attention away from issues that make them unpopular.
Abortion rights have been a popular topic among U.S. citizens for many decades. This issues has commonly formed the heart of Democratic campaigns in the past. The Republican-leaning press acknowledged and praised the ruling, but many Republican candidates underestimated the impact of the Supreme Court’s decision, calling it a chance to return decisions on abortion rights to citizens of each state and their representatives.
Democrats are attempting to integrate the topic of abortion within their more general campaign mottos. For example, Representative Tim Ryan of Ohio called abortion rights “an issue of freedom.” Freedom is a theme he had previously constructed his campaign around, referring to “a more liberal” economic system, especially for middle-class families.