Roe v. Wade decision could play factor in key midterm races

Politics

(NewsNation) — The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade case Friday will have not just sweeping implications for abortion access nationwide, but could also sway the outcomes of pivotal midterm elections in November.

Republicans and Democrats will be battling for control of both the House and Senate in November in races that are already expected to be tight around the country.

The Supreme Court has effectively thrown a curveball at those races as abortion is now dominating messaging on both sides of the aisle, according to The Hill’s Julia Manchester.

“You are seeing Democrats up and down the ballots, starting with Senate going all the way to state and local races, talking about the need to elect Democrats in order to codify Roe v. Wade in states,” Manchester said on NewsNation’s “Rush Hour.” “Especially in those states that you mentioned, there are trigger laws in place or there are states with other laws on the books that could go into effect eventually.”

There are 13 states in the U.S. that have trigger laws which activated Friday.

Manchester noted, however, it is midterm battleground states such as Georgia, Michigan and Arizona where Friday’s ruling could really play a factor in down-ballot races.

Manchester said responses from Republicans have been mixed. Some Republicans, particularly the anti-abortion wing of the party, is celebrating Friday’s ruling as “40 years in the making,” while establishment Republicans want to stay focused on inflation, crime and the border, Manchester said.

Democrats have already begun to start fundraising campaigns around the issue of abortion. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Cal., sent out a fundraising email shortly after the decision came down asking supporters to help defeat Republicans in the midterms.

“It is clear that we just have to win a majority in November. Everything is at stake,” Pelosi told reporters.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer also used the Roe v. Wade ruling Friday to play into the November elections.

“Elect more MAGA Republicans if you want nationwide abortion bans, the jailing of women and doctors and no exemptions for rape or incest. Or, elect more pro-choice Democrats to save Roe,” Schumer said in a statement.

Which strategy will work in midterm elections, however, remains to be seen. But Republicans’ focus on the economy might have played better pre-Supreme Court decision, according to Lauren Wright, an associate research scholar and lecturer in politics and public affairs at Princeton University.

“In a lot of these swing states, there is broad support for abortion, in at least some cases,” Wright said on NewsNation’s “On Balance With Leland Vittert.” “Just because the economy and gas prices will still probably be top of mind doesn’t mean a marginal shift in opinion, that takes abortion from a backburner issue to the front of people’s minds, can have a very meaningful impact.”

Stef Kight, a political reporter for Axios, told Vittert while we have already seen many Democrats rally behind abortion messaging, the question remains whether they can keep energy behind the messaging through November.

Still, Democrats must be vigilant as to how their messaging will play in different battleground states.

“The other thing that will be interesting to watch is whether it’s equally as potent in every state,” Kight said. “Depending on how states act moving forward from here on their own state abortion laws and how that pans out.”

The Supreme Court striking down Roe v. Wade could also have implication for the survival of the Senate filibuster, Manchester said. Democratic Senate candidates are expected to bring the filibuster back into the conversation, tying it to an effort to codify Roe v. Wade in Congress.

Friday’s ruling effectively ended federal constitution protections for abortion in a ruling powered by the court’s conservative majority.

Democratic political analyst Jason Nichols believes the Roe v. Wade decision could put the court at the forefront of more voters’ minds come November, something Democrats would surely view as a win given roughly 66% of Americans feel abortion should be legal in most cases.

“I think that codifying Roe is definitely going to be on the ballot, it’s something that Democrats need,” Nichols said on NewsNation’s “Dan Abrams Live.”

Nichols also argued, however, that Friday’s decision may impact swing voters less than it does the Democratic base, specifically young voters and how they feel about President Joe Biden.

“Right now, when you have something that is so fundamental like right to privacy and reproductive freedom and health care, and you can put that on the ballot … that is going to motivate the Democratic base of young voters who are not necessarily excited about Joe Biden,” Nichols said.

While the decision has been anticipated for the last month, given a draft opinion overruling Roe leaked to Politico in May, it may lead hundreds of thousands of people — both supporters and those opposing the ruling — to express their feelings, including to Biden as well as lawmakers from both parties.

Biden called it “a sad day for the court and the country,” during an afternoon televised address, while House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., applauded the decision. “A lot of lives are going to be saved,” McCarthy told reporters. “But it also goes back to people in the states to have a say in the process,” he said.

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