Following the 2020 elections, too many Republicans wanted to keep their arms around Donald Trump, further undermine democracy, and thwart the will of women to make their own health care choices. Well, the nation has been watching and is about to send a message this fall. I contend the majority of the nation simply does not want Trump 24/7 in their living rooms or being the non-stop topic of discussion going forward. That will need to be tempered, of course, with the law and order process which must continue as Trump and others are held responsible for their actions. Democracy absolutely demands a response to what he and his followers did in the weeks following the last presidential election.
Rational voters do not want the crazy and utterly absurd candidates Trump is pushing from Arizona to Georgia, those nominees his cult followers voted for in primaries. The steam is building for a strong blowback in state after state concerning the Trump-fueled antics this year, just as the results proved in 2020. Ron Brownstein writes where the nation is heading and what the GOP must reckon with come November.
It was a referendum. Now it’s a choice.
For political professionals in both parties, that’s the capsule explanation for why the Democratic position in the midterm elections appears to have improved so much since summer began.
When the election looked to be primarily a referendum on the performance of the Democrats who control the White House and Congress, Republicans were optimistic that a towering ‘red wave’ would carry them to sweeping gains in November.
But with evidence suggesting more voters are treating the election as a comparative choice between the two parties, operatives on both sides are bracing for a closely contested outcome that could include an unusual divergence in results for the House and those in Senate and governor races.
The political evidence of what faces Republicans can be best viewed in how some are now changing their tune and tone about abortion. But if conservative men who were doing everything in an effort to undermine the ability of women to decide their own health care decisions think they can now whistle a different tune at the mid-term elections—well, voters will have something to say about that waffling.
Republican candidates are shifting their message on abortion after several recent elections have shown the issue energizing Democrats.
Some candidates for House, Senate and governor have either reworked sections on their websites or released ads that have sought to downplay, reverse or clarify some of their anti-abortion stances.
The shift started over the summer following the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade, but the change has become increasingly noticeable as more and more signs have emerged showing abortion can be a galvanizing issue for Democratic voters in key states.
“I think the concept that for decades, you know, a Supreme Court fight energized the conservative base because they wanted to overturn Roe, right?” Republican strategist Barrett Marson, who previously worked on Arizona Republican Senate nominee Blake Masters’s campaign, said.
“I think you’re gonna see a flip on that, that the liberal base will get more energized about this issue because they got it taken away from them,” he added.
Voters in the red state of Kansas earlier this month resoundingly rejected a ballot measure that would have given the legislature more authority to restrict the procedure. And last week, Democrat Pat Ryan won a New York special election seen as a bellwether after focusing his campaign on abortion rights.
In three other special elections since the Supreme Court struck down federal abortion protections, Democrats outpaced expectations even though they ultimately lost. And states such as Pennsylvania, Idaho and Wisconsin are seeing larger gaps open up between new female and male voter registrations since the Supreme Court decision, according to TargetSmart, the Democratic data services firm.
Taken together, the developments have seemingly pushed Republicans to reassess how they approach an issue that has already shown it can help swing elections and for some to step back from support for outright abortion bans.
Between Trump carping and storming about how unfair it is to need to abide by laws and due process in the nation while the harshest elements in the GOP strike out at abortion rights means that politicos can now start to gauge the efficacy of the strategy being employed by the Republican Party in the mid-term elections. With about nine weeks to go the cake is getting baked.