Despite access to public polls for months that showed the majority of Americans did not support the fall of Roe v. Wade, the republican party finally seems to be imposing itself. All it took was for Democrats to maintain control of the Senate, win a series of key gubernatorial contests and avoid a major rout in the House, where Republicans are only poised to win a slight majority. As the dust settles following the mid-term reviews, one thing is clear: it is not only the economy, stupid.
Much blame has been thrown since the predicted “red wave” turned out to be more of a ripple. One of those targets is, unsurprisingly, the former president Donald Trump, whose hand-picked candidates largely turned out to be duds and could have cost the Republican Party the Senate and several governor’s mansions. In the words of the financier Ken Griffin, who was one of the GOP’s biggest donors this cycle, Trump is a “three-time loser.” But Republicans have also begun to recognize abortion as a motivator for voters.
Utah Senator Mitt Romney Told HuffPost, “I think abortion was a much bigger issue against us than we anticipated.” North Carolina Senator Thomas Tillis echoes the sentiment. “Dobbs impacted suburban voting,” he said, referring to the Supreme Court ruling, which gutted federal abortion protections. Likewise, the senator Pat Toomey acknowledged that his party groped their message in the post-deer countryside. “Republicans have been slow to find their footing, and I’m not sure all Republicans ever have,” he told Politico.
Early numbers show Democrats enjoying strong turnout from young voters in swing states; according to NBC News exit polls, 63% of voters between the ages of 18 and 29 voted for the Democrats, compared to just 35% who voted for the Republican candidates. Among Democratic voters, a staggering 76% said abortion was their number one issue heading into the polls.
As I reported, the salience of abortion was not only apparent in major Senate and House races, but in a range of ballot measures. Vermont and Michigan have voted to enshrine the right to abortion in their state constitutions. Californians went further by passing an election measure that would also protect the right to contraceptives. Access to abortion has even proven popular in red states; voters in Montana and Kentucky overwhelmingly voted against measures to erode reproductive rights. A similar campaign move to restrict abortion rights failed resoundingly in Kansas — in a primary election, nonetheless. Still, Marilyn Musgrave, the vice president of government affairs for the anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, recently indicated that she thinks Republicans should have pushed their anti-abortion measure Stronger. “Republicans were talking about inflation and crime and not really fighting back” against Democratic pro-abortion messaging, she told Politico.
While Democrats have performed better than expected this cycle, without Republican support they will be unable to codify the protections once provided by Roe vs. Wade at the federal level, a reality Joe Biden recognised. “I don’t think they can expect much else that we’re going to stand our ground,” the president said Monday when asked at a press conference what Americans can expect from Congress. concerning the right to abortion.