This weekend marks the first anniversary of the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade. In the wake of that momentous ruling, abortion has been a critical issue in special elections, midterm contests, and ballot measures. Abortion rights advocates say that the passage of time will not dim the matter’s salience with voters but will continue to motivate them to turn out at the ballot box.
“Abortion is a kitchen table issue for voters,” argued Angela Vasquez-Giroux, the vice president of communications and research at NARAL Pro-Choice America. “There’s not a single person in the United States whose life is not affected by the Dobbs decision, and I think that the sooner we begin to understand that, the easier it will be to understand why voters are reacting and acting the way they are.”
A December poll by PerryUndem, a Democratic public opinion research firm, found that 64 percent of first-time voters in the midterms were motivated by the Supreme Court’s decision overturning the right to an abortion, and 59 percent of registered voters said that the issue would motivate their vote in the long term.
“It arguably, I think, made the difference between what should have been a pretty massive red wave and what wasn’t,” said Christina Reynolds, the senior vice president for communications at Emily’s List.
A recent Gallup poll found that a record high of 69 percent of Americans say abortion should be generally legal in the first three months of pregnancy, and 61 percent believe overturning Roe was a “bad thing.” Support for abortion has particularly increased among women, with 40 percent saying that the procedure should be legal under any circumstances.
As Republican-led states pass increasingly stringent laws severely restricting or banning abortion, Reynolds argued, voters will make their voices heard at the ballot box. She contrasted those policies with steps taken by state governments in Minnesota and Michigan to protect access to abortion.
“The more we illustrate what can happen if you vote this way, if you ensure that you are represented by people who will protect your rights and not rip them away, the more voters will be inspired to come out,” Reynolds said. Tuesday’s primary elections in Virginia offered another example of the salience of abortion rights, with a primary challenger toppling a Democratic incumbent state senator who has described himself as “pro-life.”
In a Wednesday press conference on marking Dobbs’s first anniversary, Representative Suzan DelBene, the chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said that Republicans’ positions on abortion would “cost [them] the House majority.” Senator Gary Peters, chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, highlighted key states where the Democratic incumbents support abortion rights, such as Ohio, Wisconsin, and Arizona.
Senator Tammy Baldwin pointed to an April election in her home state of Wisconsin where a pro–abortion rights candidate overwhelmingly won a state Supreme Court seat. That court may consider an 1849 statute restricting abortion in the state. “It will remain a very significant issue for Wisconsinites, and so I believe that it will be a major topic in the 2024 elections,” said Baldwin, who is up for reelection.
A USA Today/Suffolk University poll published this week reflects this trend: The survey found that one in four Americans say state efforts to restrict abortion have made them more supportive of abortion rights. (For their part, anti-abortion advocates at the Susan B. Anthony List are pressing candidates to support a 15-week abortion ban, Semafor reported.)
Nevada Senator Jacky Rosen, who is up for reelection this year, promised Wednesday that she would make abortion a key campaign issue. “As long as I’m here, and Senate Democrats remain in the majority, we won’t let a restrictive abortion ban pass,” she said.
Trivia, tips, and pet pics
We want to hear from you! Is Hunter Biden’s proposed plea deal a “slap on the wrist” or justice being served? Is this CNN poll showing Trump losing steam an outlier or a sign of things to come?
Chris Christie’s weird Democratic appeal
There’s something about Chris Christie that Democrats seem to find—maybe not appealing but less atrocious than other Republicans. That’s the situation in this Republican presidential election, at least. On Pod Save America, for example, the Pod Save bros occasionally like to give Christie a softer drubbing than they do other GOP candidates. On a recent episode, Jon Favreau and Dan Pfeiffer played a clip of Christie’s raison d’être for running (which is to defeat Donald Trump, contra almost any other candidate in the race). “I loved it,” Favreau said. “Of course. Of course. How could you not love that?” Pfeiffer similarly said later in the episode that most of the Republican primary field has “the same problem, which is: How do you make a case against Trump when you were just slavishly defending every terrible thing he did six months ago? At least Christie says he’s wrong.”
This sentiment isn’t exactly new or unique. Going all the way back to 2014, Democrats have found Christie appealing if the only other options are Republicans. According to a Christian Science Monitor article from that year titled “Is Chris Christie the Democrats’ favorite Republican?” the then–New Jersey governor was Democrats’ “favorite possible GOP candidate.”
Christie, formerly both a U.S. attorney for the district of New Jersey and top-tier Republican presidential candidate (certainly in 2012, when he passed on the race, and arguably in 2016), is still able to go on conservative-leaning networks and podcasts and prosecute the case against Trump. Over on the Ruthless podcast, which is somewhat of a conservative Pod Save America analog, Christie recently said Trump “intentionally hid dozens of boxes of documents from his own lawyer … I mean look, it is a tough indictment, and I guarantee—having done something like this for seven years—is that that’s about a third of the evidence. You never put all your evidence in the indictment—ever.” These are just things to which conservatives won’t listen coming from a liberal but which a card-carrying, abrasive Republican can say.
What’s more, Christie isn’t exactly popular among Republicans. When he finally decided to run for president in 2016, he bet the barn on a good New Hampshire showing, only to meet embarrassingly dismal results, posting behind Trump, former Ohio Governor John Kasich, Senator Ted Cruz, former Florida Governor Jeb(!) Bush, and Senator Marco Rubio.
Christie’s popularity isn’t exactly rebounding. According to FiveThirtyEight, Christie is currently “more unpopular than ever among Republican registered voters: His national net favorability rating in the latest Monmouth poll was -26 points (21 percent to 47 percent).” The former Garden State governor, though, isn’t exactly an old-school liberal Republican from New Jersey. He recently said that while he thought the original Roe v. Wade ruling was “wrong,” voters wouldn’t have to worry about a federal abortion ban if he is elected president.
All of which is to say that, given the current crop of Republicans vying for the party’s presidential nomination, it’s understandable why Democrats might see Christie as the least nefarious of the various candidates. Too bad for Christie that Democrats don’t decide who wins the Republican nomination.
Document of the week
This week’s document is a fundraising invite for President Joe Biden featuring Biden, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker, and Pritzker’s wife, first lady M.K. Pritzker. Pritzker, it’s worth noting, has been mentioned as a possible presidential candidate, but it’s clear as long as Biden is running, the second-term governor is eager to support the sitting president to lead the Democratic Party.
News and views
Ohio Supreme Court OKs August election for plan to make it harder to amend constitution, by Haley BeMiller in The Columbus Dispatch
Democratic National Committee ‘alarmed by’ Alabama party losing diversity caucuses, by Brian Lyman in AL.com
Meet the next generation of LGBTQ+ rights activists in New York, by Rebecca C. Lewis in City & State New York
DeSantis aside, few presidential hopefuls heading to early state Nevada, by Gabby Birenbaum in The Nevada Independent
London Breed saved herself. Can she save San Francisco? by Josh Koehn in The San Francisco Standard
Lisa Blunt Rochester, Delaware’s sole congresswoman, will run to fill Carper’s Senate seat, by Meredith Newman in The Delaware News Journal
Aird ousts Morrissey in Senate primary; Bagby beats Gooch, by Michael Martz in The Richmond Times-Dispatch
He’s deeply religious and a Democrat. He might be the next big thing in Texas politics., by Adam Wren in Politico Magazine: “James Talarico confounds Fox News hosts, fights the culture wars by quoting scripture, and has fellow Democrats talking about his statewide future.”
Gov. Ron DeSantis used secretive panel to flip state Supreme Court, by Beth Reinhard and Josh Dawsey in The Washington Post: “Leonard Leo, the key architect of the U.S. Supreme Court’s conservative majority, led the advisers who helped DeSantis reshape the state court.”
Team Trump suspects his former chief of staff is a ‘rat’, by Asawin Suebsaeng and Adam Rawnsley in Rolling Stone: “Earlier this year, Donald Trump sent some of his lawyers and political advisers on a ‘small fact-finding mission,’ as a person with knowledge of the matter describes it to Rolling Stone. The former president wanted to know, according to that source and another person close to Trump: ‘What is Mark doing?’”
The Virginians who can’t vote on Tuesday because of Glenn Youngkin, by Alex Burness in Bolts Magazine: “Under Youngkin’s predecessor, Virginians automatically regained the right to vote upon leaving prison, an approach that would have made Hawkins eligible to vote. But Youngkin has revived the state’s lifetime ban on voting for people with felony convictions.”
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This week’s winners of our pet photo contest are Shrimp Taco (front) and Señor Don Gato (back). Submitted by Emily Perlstein of NARAL, Shrimp and Señor are polar opposites in terms of personality—the former pathologically friendly, the latter allergic to all non-Emily human connection—but they agree on their love for each other. They may have one brain cell between the two of them, usually in use by Señor, but their cuteness knows no bounds.