Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Challenging Democratic Voters

Christina Cauterucci, who periodically writes reproductive rights pieces for Slate, observes

Historically, anti-abortion voters have been more likely than pro-choice voters to say they wouldn’t vote for a candidate that doesn’t share their views on abortion. Political analysts have taken that to mean that abortion impels more conservatives to the voting booth than liberals, making it a better bet for Republicans than Democrats to lean into their party-line positions.

Cauterucci cites polls from ABC News/Washington Post, Reuters/Ipsos, NBC News, PBS, and Pew which show increasing support for the pro-choice position among voters, especially (though not exclusively) Democrats. Nonetheless

Given their new Supreme Court appointments and their control over statehouses and governorships, Republicans have finally taken the extremist abortion rhetoric they’ve been hawking for decades to its logical conclusion. In doing so, they’ve given voters the opportunity to imagine two Americas: one governed by the abortion bans of the far right, the other by the protections of Roe v. Wade. The polls are clear on which set of policies they prefer. Voters might even be motivated enough to do something to save the abortion rights they’ve increasingly come to support: Translate those preferences into votes.

As a law professor I once had (in another field of study) enjoyed saying when he posed a dilemma to the class, it depends.

The rise in support for abortion rights, as Cauterucci recognizes, is due primarily to the recent crackdown on choice in Alabama, Georgia, and elsewhere.  Many Americans long have understood that returning abortion policy to the states, as overturning Roe would do, would impel restrictions unacceptable to most people.

Nonetheless, while Democratic politicians have for decades ignored the critical role of the Supreme Court, GOP politicians have emphasized its importance, especially to white evangelicals, who hear "abortion"  and eagerly pull the Republican lever. Democrats have forfeited the issue of the Supreme Court, a tactical error because while there is still a substantial minority of individuals supporting substantial abortion restrictions

Most Americans want the landmark abortion ruling Roe vs. Wade to stay put — but they’re far from satisfied with the current state of abortion laws.

Some 77% of Americans want the U.S. Supreme Court to keep Roe v. Wade in place, according to an NPR/PBS News/Marist poll released Friday, while just 13% want it overturned and another 11% are unsure.

Voters are deeply suspicious, and somewhat hostile to, judges. Yet Democratic officeholders and office seekers, often identifying with the legal profession, rarely stress the relevance of federal courts and have assiduously avoided criticizing them.  But if voters are to be "motivated enough to do something to save the abortion rights they've increasingly come to support," this needs to stop, and now is the time.

                                                 HAPPY THANKSGIVING

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