Perspective: Americans can’t afford to vote on abortion in November
As gas and grocery prices skyrocket, Democrats are desperate to change the subject. But polls suggest this strategy won’t work
If you checked social media over the weekend, you might have picked up on the fact that people have strong opinions about the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade on Friday morning. Democrats quickly seized on the anger and almost immediately began using it for fundraising.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom, as an example, sent a text to some of his constituents, saying “I am texting to humbly ask you to make a contribution to help us pass a constitutional amendment this November that will enshrine the right to abortion access into California’s state constitution.”
I saw the text because a liberal friend posted a screenshot with his own commentary: “And the politicians are already asking for donations. That didn’t take long.” His comment came with the eye roll emoji, and that’s exactly how most Americans will respond to Democrats’ efforts to turn abortion into an all-encompassing platform come November.
It’s not that most Americans aren’t against overturning Roe; in a new CBS poll only 41% of Americans support the decision, and 59% are opposed. But will that translate to Democratic victory in November? That appears unlikely.
What will Americans be voting on? The economy, stupid.
Fox News reported Friday, “A USA Today/Suffolk University poll released Friday showed just under 15% of likely voters viewed abortion as the most important election issue headed into the November midterms. A majority of respondents, 62%, said abortion is an important issue but not the most important one.”
The poll found that just 23% of voters see abortion as more important than the economy. To 66%, the economy matters most.
Voting on an issue like abortion is a luxury most Americans simply cannot afford right now, amid skyrocketing prices at the gas pump, grocery store and everywhere else.
It’s understandable that Democrats would prefer to talk about abortion rather than the stickier issues related to the economy. They see the Supreme Court’s decision as a magic “get out of jail free” card that presents an opportunity to change the subject.
There is a whiff of desperation in their efforts, for good reason. The Associated Press on Monday reported on some dire numbers for Democrats:
“More than 1 million voters across 43 states have switched to the Republican Party over the past year, according to voter registration data analyzed by The Associated Press. The previously unreported number reflects a phenomenon that is playing out in virtually every region of the country — Democratic and Republican states along with cities and small towns — in the period since President Joe Biden replaced former President Donald Trump.”
Alyssa Farah Griffin, a CNN commentator and frequent guest host on “The View,” tweeted her explanation for the exodus from the Democratic Party:
The answer to this is simple: the economy. A middle class, near-retiree who is close to me, told me she recently lost $20k in her 401K. That matters 10x more to her immediate life than most partisan fighting in DC. https://t.co/5j2fcOQmNB— Alyssa Farah Griffin 🇺🇸 (@Alyssafarah) June 27, 2022
True, there are some Republicans (reportedly even Trump) who are concerned that the Supreme Court ruling will hurt their party in a year in which the midterms have been expected to be a GOP romp.
It’s more likely, however, that Americans will wonder why abortion is the only thing that Democrats seem to get excited about. They will think, “Democrats have all of this energy and enthusiasm, but they don’t have it for me or my family’s well-being. They didn’t have it when my kids’ school was closed or when my business was shut down. But they have it in spades for abortion.”
And the extremist views on abortion espoused by many mainstream Democrats are made obvious by their unwillingness to discuss their positions. This won’t work in Democrats’ favor.
While most Americans would classify themselves as “pro-choice” and are in favor of abortion rights in the first trimester, that support drops precipitously as a pregnancy advances. In its most recent polling, Gallup reported that 67% of Americans believe that abortion should be legal in the first trimester, but in the second trimester that support fell to 36% and in the final trimester, just 20%.
In its reporting on the massive migration from the Democratic Party, The Associated Press cited progressive “extremism” as a cause. That extremism extends to the party’s increasing support of abortion on demand, for whatever reason, at any point in a pregnancy. The AP wrote that Emily Seidel, who leads Americans for Prosperity, said that “suburban voters are distancing themselves from Democrats who represent ‘extreme policy positions.’”
November is a long way off, and a lot can change for both Democrats and Republicans in the time between the Supreme Court decision and when Americans go to the voting booth. But as it stands now, this ruling doesn’t seem to be the gift Democrats believe it to be, electorally speaking, that is.
Bethany Mandel is a contributing writer for Deseret News. She is a home-schooling mother of five and a widely published writer on politics, culture and Judaism. She is an editor for the children’s book series “Heroes of Liberty.”