The sudden focus on abortion shakes the landscape of the by-elections

WASHINGTON – The expired draft opinion of the Supreme Court on abortion, which would overturn the remarkable decision of Rowe against Wade, shakes the political landscape of the United States in what was expected to be a difficult election year for Democrats.

As Democrats condemned the project, they suddenly had a clear, unifying message. The real possibility of banning abortions in dozens of states in the coming months could revive their dreary base – especially young voters, people of color, and suburban women who are unhappy with the pace of progress under Democratic leaders in Washington.

Republicans, meanwhile, are struggling to contain their excitement at the prospect of winning a decades-long battle, even as they speculate that Democrats are exaggerating the likely real-world impact of turning Rowe.


The draft opinion came just as the most competitive phase of the season began, with races taking place Tuesday in Ohio and Indiana. While the political repercussions will take months to settle, this is clear: rarely in the modern era has a Supreme Court case had the potential to change American life and politics so dramatically.

“I hope that women in this country will rise up and understand that this is no longer theoretical,” warned Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow, a Democrat.

Republicans have been fighting for an abortion ban since Supreme Court ruling Rowe in 1973, but on Tuesday many offered only modest assessments of the political impact of a decision removing the legal guarantee of rights.

The draft decision, which the court stressed was not final, will become land law only after an official announcement is expected in late June or early July. In particular, GOP strategists are worried that canceling Roe before the election could provoke an anti-Republican reaction.


South Carolina Sen. Lindsay Graham, a Republican, acknowledged that a radical change in national abortion laws could help Democrats in November, but he suggested the election would depend more on the state of the economy than the explosive social problem.

“They will have a problem to talk about. We’re going to have a problem to talk about, “Graham said of Rowe’s overthrow. “I think this will be a new issue, especially at the state level, but I think that most people, quite honestly, are not independent voters.

Voters in some states would be more affected than others.

A total of twenty-two states, mostly in the South, West and Midwest, already have total or near-total bans on their books – almost all of which are now blocked in court because of Rowe. These include the red states with elections this fall, including Idaho, Missouri, North Dakota and Utah. But they also include high-profile swing states, including Pennsylvania, Arizona, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin.


A White House adviser said Rowe’s conversion would serve as a stimulus for key segments of President Joe Biden’s coalition, giving Democrats a clear message of connection to the midterm elections. At the same time, the adviser, who insisted on anonymity to discuss domestic strategies, acknowledged that changing abortions alone may not be enough to overcome the political winds in November.

Biden’s popularity remains weak amid growing concerns about inflation and the country’s direction. History also suggests that the party that controls the White House almost always suffers losses in the first congressional election of a new presidency.

An ominous sign is that Democrat fundraising by ordinary people, usually a sign of enthusiasm, was noticeable slowly in the hours following the expiration of the draft decision.

The Democratic fundraising platform, ActBlue, raised less than $ 3 million in donations between 6:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Tuesday. In contrast, the platform raised $ 71 million in 24 hours after the death of former Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg.


As Democrats across the nation tried to sound the alarm, Republicans were quietly confident.

“There are now three things in life you can count on: death, taxes, and Democrats that outplay each other,” said Republican strategist Chris Wilson, who is running in several top-level elections this year. He noted that Democrats in states such as New York and California will not be affected by Republican-led abortion bans in states.

For most Democrats, Wilson said, “life goes on as usual.”

But there are several different states with Republican-controlled laws in which the November gubernatorial election could ultimately decide a woman’s right to abortion, including Georgia, North Carolina, Arizona, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan.

Even in countries that are unlikely to ban abortions in the short term, Democrats hope the renewed focus on the issue will help their candidates overcome the party’s other political challenges.


New Jersey Democratic MP Tom Malinowski, a main goal of Republicans, described this year’s election as focusing on abortion rights, arguing that a majority of Republican parties in Congress could pursue a national ban to repeal New Jersey law on the right.

“This is the key to this election in November, which we all need to remember,” Malinowski said in an interview. “Will we retain a majority in the House of Representatives, in the Senate, that will protect 50 years of established law in this country that will protect women’s right to vote?”

Nevada Senator Catherine Cortes Masto and New Hampshire Senator Maggie Hassan, among the country’s most vulnerable Democrats this fall, also addressed the issue as critical of their upcoming election.

“Don’t underestimate what this decision would mean for women in Nevada and across the country,” Cortes Masto said in an interview. “If this court rules to overturn Rowe v. Wade, it will infuriate women across the country who have lived for almost 50 years with the right to vote.”


From New Hampshire, Hassan said the leaked opinion clarifies the stakes this fall for voters inside and outside her state. She called Roe’s potential conversion “devastating to women across New Hampshire, across the country and to all people who truly believe in our individual freedoms.”

The focus on abortion would also offer a stark contrast to her Republican opponents, whom she described as “extremists” on abortion.

“This is a really difficult day for Granite women, American women,” Hassan said.

Some Republicans welcomed the battle.

Marjorie Danenfelser, who heads the Susan B. Anthony Anti-Abortion List, said her group’s fundraising has increased throughout the year in line with the excitement of Roe’s potential conversion. Social conservatives have been waiting for this moment for decades, she said.

“This is a potential cultural, political maritime change,” she said.

Senator Rick Scott, chairman of the Republican Senate campaign, was more cautious.


“I think it’s an important issue for a lot of people, but so is inflation, so is crime, so is the border,” Scott said.


People reported from New York. Associated Press authors Thomas Beaumont in Des Moines, Iowa; Brian Slodisko and Mary Clare Yalonik in Washington; and Mike Catalini in Lamberville, New Jersey, contributed to this report.


Follow the AP to fully cover the midterm elections at https://apnews.com/hub/2022-midterm-elections and on Twitter at https://twitter.com/ap_politics.

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The sudden focus on abortion shakes the landscape of the by-elections

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