WASHINGTON – Virginia was once at the forefront of anti-abortion efforts, going to the Supreme Court to defend its right to prosecute a newspaper publisher for publishing an ad promoting abortion.
But today, Democrats are betting that voters in the current old domain will keep them in the governor’s office to defend abortion rights after the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Wednesday’s vote.
From Virginia to California, Democrats are trying to motivate voters, as the extended conservative majority in court is close to limiting or revoking the right to terminate a pregnancy for the first time in nearly half a century. It’s a look at the changing U.S. policy on abortion, which has usually been more energized by conservatives.
Terry McAuliffe, the former Democratic governor of Virginia running for a second term, was already airing television ads about abortion before the court allowed the strict new Texas law, which bans abortion, to come into force. of six weeks. (Virginia prevents governors from serving consecutive terms).
And now, he says the imminent threat against Roe against Wade will help motivate Democrats to run in November and get him back in office to make sure abortions are legal.
“People have been talking about the end of abortion for years. It’s really happening now, “McAuliffe said.” This will make people come out en masse. It will really motivate people. “
Washington Democrats, facing tough winds in defending their majorities in Congress in next year’s election, see a new opportunity to motivate voters who may have taken abortion rights for granted .
And Republicans are facing a disturbing new political landscape after promising to ban abortions for decades to motivate their base.
Joshua Wilson, a political science professor at the University of Denver, said Republicans have had a “safe space” for years because their vote to ban abortion was seen as an empty promise by both the left and by the right as a result of support for legal abortion during the previous Supreme Court regime.
Now, this safe space is gone.
“Under Trump, the context of the Supreme Court changed drastically. So all of a sudden, you’re in that context where the court could revoke abortion rights, “Wilson said.” That makes politics more dangerous for Republicans. “
“The reason I’m running”
The extensive growth of the northern suburbs of Virginia has turned the state into a reliable democratic turf. The outgoing governor, Democrat Ralph Northam, signed a law last year that would make Virginia the first southern state to proactively advocate for abortion rights in the event that Roe is revoked.
McAuliffe’s Republican opponent, businessman Glenn Youngkin, was secretly filmed telling a person who had asked him to “take him to abortionists” that his hands are tied by politics.
Youngkin seemed to recognize that he would lose support for Virginia if he promised to attack abortion rights.
“I will be very honest with you. The short answer is in this campaign, I can’t, ”Youngkin said in the video, which was first aired on MSNBC.“ When I’m governor and I have a majority in the House, we can start offending. But as a campaign issue, unfortunately, that won’t actually win my independent votes that I have to get. “
Youngkin has generally distanced himself from abortion unless asked to do so, when he said he opposes abortion rights, but believes there should be exceptions to rape and incest. and when a woman’s life is in danger, exceptions that do not appear in the new Texas law.
“I’m in favor of life,” Youngkin told reporters Wednesday, “but I’m very focused on making sure Terry McAuliffe’s extreme agenda … isn’t part of Virginia’s future.”
Youngkin posted a digital ad in response to McAuliffe’s TV commercials, saying McAuliffe is “too extreme” because he supports “taxpayer-funded abortions” and not vetoing a controversial abortion rights bill that should allowed late abortion. But otherwise, Youngkin has not debated abortion on social media since he won the Republican Party primaries.
In California, Republican Larry Elder – who has spent decades as a radio presenter known for happily pushing all the buttons on politics – keeps his distance from abortion policy while campaigning to replace Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom in the next month’s election.
Withdrawal of elections to the bastion of the country’s most famous liberalism is a test case of Democrats’ ability to loosen their grassroots turnout when former President Donald Trump does not participate in the vote and issues such as abortion or restrictions covides are his formula for trying to do just that. tan.
Asked about abortion by NBC News at a news conference Wednesday, Elder said that while he opposes it, the issue is not a “priority,” saying the Democratic supermajority of the legislature would never pass restrictions on abortion, regardless of who is governor.
“Before Roe v. Wade in California, abortion was almost available on demand. And in the event Roe v. Wade is overthrown, abortion will still be available almost on demand here in California,” Elder said. “The reason I’m running has nothing to do with Roe vs. Wade.”
“Shake Intermediate Periods”
In Congress, Democratic lawmakers split once, with more rural members opposing abortion rights. But now the party is largely unified, the product of defeats in rural areas and the loss of support for white voters who did not go to college, voters who still oppose abortion.
The new majority of Democrats is due to well-educated voters who tend to have more socially liberal views.
A recent NBC News poll found that 54% of Americans want abortion to be mostly legal, while 42% want it to be mostly illegal. And regional disparities are strong: urban voters want abortion to be legal by a ratio of almost 2 to 1 and rural voters want it to be illegal by a ratio of 2 to 1.
In the suburbs, where congressional control is likely to be decided, 54% of voters say abortion should be legal, compared to 42% who say it should be illegal. University-educated white voters favor abortion rights by 60 to 37 percent.
“Democrats need things to shake up the interim periods in order to avoid many historical trends working against them. No doubt this could be it,” said former Democratic consultant Tyler Law, an agent of the campaign. the House, which stated that abortion rights could “curb the gains Republicans hope to make in suburban areas with higher education.”
The Democratic Senate campaign arm said the tacit passage of Texas law by the Supreme Court is “a powerful reminder of next year’s election betting, and why we need to defend a majority of the Democratic Senate with the power to confirm or reject Supreme Court justices. “
The chairman of the House Democratic Campaign Committee, New York Representative Sean Patrick Maloney, vowed to fight “from now until election day to make sure House Republicans come for the reproductive rights lose their seats in 2022 “.
Democrats hear restrictions on Texas abortion as a rallying cry for the left. Meanwhile, the Republican Party’s House and Senate campaign committees had no weight on Texas law or the tranquility of Wednesday’s green.
Republican strategist Matt Gorman, who was the party’s campaign communications director for the 2018 campaign, said it’s “too early to tell” what the problem means for the 2022 races.
“There is a possibility that it will fade and be a peripheral problem. There is a possibility that it will encourage women and liberals, “he said.” The key is that Republicans will be asked their stance and whether they agree or disagree. They have to be prepared. ”
And Republicans are looking to reclaim the suburbs after seeing them move away during the Trump presidency.
“State policy is important for the future of abortion rights,” said Wilson, a political scientist. “Because if the Supreme Court begins to erode or dismantle abortion protections in a significant way, that only puts more pressure on states to act.”