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Republicans Doubling Down On Their Anti-Choice Hysteria-- Voters May Have A Message For Them (Again)

This list of Republican congressmembers below may look familiar to you. They are all incumbents in seats that Biden won in 2020. And these members are all, more or less, DCCC targets for 2024, or at least they are right now. For example, last week when the House Appropriations Committee marked up a bill that included an anti-mifepristone provision, members from the list who are on that committee saw press releases go out to the media in their districts that were exactly like this-- only the name of the member changing:

Juan Ciscomani Votes to Pass New, Dangerous National Abortion Restrictions
Ciscomani joins MAGA extremists on the House Appropriations Committee to curb mifepristone access nationwide
Vulnerable House Republican Juan Ciscomani is once again lining up with MAGA extremists to push dangerous new abortion restrictions. Their new attack targets the medication mifepristone and would profoundly limit access to this safe and effective medication nationwide, putting the health and livelihoods of countless women at risk.
This latest assault on women’s freedoms was passed by the Appropriations Committee Republicans, hidden away on page 107. This is far from the first time Ciscomani has tried to hide his anti-abortion extremism from voters.
Despite literally running away from voters when asked about abortion, Ciscomani fell in line behind the extreme fringes of their party and backed this disturbing attack.
This extreme attack on safe, legal medication happens as recent polling shows a near record level of support for abortion access.
DCCC Spokesperson Viet Shelton: “This vote makes clear extreme MAGA Republicans– including Juan Ciscomani– will stop at nothing to enact a nationwide abortion ban. His actions highlight how out of touch he is from his district. No longer will Ciscomani be able to hide behind empty rhetoric when he is actively voting to restrict reproductive freedoms from women everywhere.”

The same press release went out to media in David Valadao’s district and Mike Garcia’s district— as well as to the districts of two other targets whose districts Biden didn’t win: Ken Calvert’s and Ryan Zinke’s, because... why not. Anyway, here’s the list of districts Biden won that have GOP incumbents now (along with, and in order of, the Biden margin):

  • NY-04, Anthony D’Esposito- 14.6

  • CA-22, David Valadao- 13.0

  • CA-27, Mike Garcia- 12.4

  • CA-13, John Duarte- 10.9

  • NY-17, Mike Lawler- 10.1

  • OR-05, Lori Chavez-DeRemer- 8.8

  • NY-03, George Santos- 8.2

  • NY-22, Brandon Williams- 7.4

  • NE-02, Don Bacon- 6.4

  • CA-45, Michelle Steel- 6.1

  • NY-19, Marc Molinaro- 4.6

  • PA-01, Brian Fitzpatrick- 4.6

  • NJ-07, Tom Kean- 3.8

  • CA-40, Young Kim- 1.9

  • VA-02, Jen Kiggans- 1.9

  • AZ-01, David Schweikert- 1.5

  • NY-01, Nick LaLota- 0.2

  • AZ-06, Juan Ciscomani- 0.1

These 18 members have plenty to worry about electorally. They need to create their own brands— the way Bacon and Fitzpatrick have— independent of the GOP, but not so independent that the local MAGAts will feel offended enough so as to not support them in the general... or, worse, encourage a primary challenger. So, just what they probably didn’t want to hear this week is that Susan B. Anthony Anti-Choice America is now demanding that all Republicans get behind a nation-wide ban. I’ll come back to that in a moment. First some YouGov polling for CBS News. You can read all the findings at that link, but this pretty much sums it up:

And that number may not mean much in a beet red district in A Dakota or Tennessee, nor a deep blue district in a normal part of the country, but in swing districts… it could be the whole ballgame, like in those 18 districts above and another half dozen or so that Biden didn’t win but that are just as swingy. Shelby Talcott reported right around the same time CBS released those polling numbers that Susan B. Anthony Anti-Choice America “is pushing to get Republicans singing from the same songbook a year after the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade damaged the party’s national political prospects. Citing a new round of national polling the group commissioned, Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America argues in a new memo, obtained by Semafor, that many Americans are comfortable limiting access to abortions even if they consider themselves broadly ‘pro-choice.’ It’s part of an effort to convince Republicans to go on offense with an issue that many believe played a role in the party’s disappointing midterms performance, and get them to at least back a national ban on abortions after 15 weeks.”

Sure, tell that to those Republican incumbents in the swing districts, especially beacuse they've probably seen a new Gallup poll that came out late yesterday with their new polling analysis about the potency of Choice as an electoral issue. Lydia Saad reported that “33% of registered voters who identify as pro-choice versus 23% of pro-life voters say they will only vote for a candidate who agrees with them on abortion. This advantage for the pro-choice side is new since last year… Not only did the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision cause more Americans to identify as pro-choice than had for the prior quarter century, but it also caused that expanded group of pro-choice identifiers to attach greater importance to a candidate’s abortion stance when they vote. Meanwhile, the diminished pro-life segment of the electorate is less energized on the issue than they have been previously, indicating that the desire to see laws changed is more motivating to voters than wanting current laws maintained. This dynamic likely explains, at least in part, the outcome of recent state abortion ballot measures where even some Republican states have turned down proposed constitutional bans on abortion. It could also have been at work in the 2022 midterm congressional elections, which resulted in more favorable results for the Democratic Party than were anticipated by traditional preelection metrics, such as the incumbent president’s low job approval rating and lackluster consumer confidence. The 2022 exit polls suggest abortion was an important factor in many voters’ decision to back Democratic candidates then, and if current attitudes persist, the same could happen in 2024.”

This morning Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux reported for FiveThirtyeight that the abortion issue is a huge liability for Republicans. “[A] FiveThirtyEight analysis,” she wrote, “finds that after one of the most disruptive Supreme Court decisions in generations, many Americans— including women, young people, and Democrats— are reporting more liberal views on abortion than major pollsters have seen in years. Even conservatives, although the changes are slight, are increasingly supportive of abortion rights. There are other signs that longstanding views are shifting: For instance, Americans are more open to the idea of unrestricted third-trimester abortion than they were even a year ago. And although it’s hard to predict what will shape upcoming elections, there are indications that abortion has the potential to be a major motivator for some Americans when they go to vote in 2024… Perhaps most crucially for Republican politicians, who have mostly doubled down on abortion restrictions despite backlash in swing states during the 2022 midterms, no subgroup in Gallup’s data has become notably more conservative on first-trimester abortion since Dobbs. The KFF poll found that Americans are much more likely to say that the Democratic Party best represents their views on abortion (42 percent), rather than the Republican Party (26 percent).”

[A]bortion is gaining much broader political salience among groups that weren’t traditionally motivated by the issue. PerryUndem found that between June and July 2022, groups like suburban women and independent women were increasingly likely to say they wanted to act on the issue of abortion. And according to KFF, 30 percent of voters— including almost half (46 percent) of Democrats and more than one-third of women voters (35 percent) say they will only vote for a candidate who shares their views on abortion. Along those lines, a recent Gallup analysis found that a record-high share of registered voters (28 percent) say that they will only vote for a candidate who shares their views on abortion, with voters who identify as “pro-choice” accounting for a greater share of these people than voters who identify as “pro-life.” According to that analysis, Black voters, Democrats and younger women (ages 18-49) are most likely to say that they’re pro-choice and will only vote for a candidate who shares their views on abortion.
“The ruling on [Dobbs] was a great disappointment and has made me very fearful for all my fellow Americans who have been harmed by pro life laws,” Amanda F., 29, who asked that her full name not be used for personal reasons, told me in an email. “Abortion is the issue that I first look for in a political candidate. If they aren't unapologetically pro choice, I am not voting for them.”
The groups that seem disproportionately motivated by abortion rights don’t represent a majority of American voters. But the 2022 midterms signaled that they do have a significant amount of power, particularly if abortion is galvanizing voters who might otherwise feel unenthusiastic about Democratic candidates. A recent analysis of the Latino vote by Equis Research found that Latinos who chose abortion as their top issue were overwhelmingly likely to vote for Democrats, and turned out at rates that were higher than analysts had predicted before the election.
All of these findings suggest that abortion will remain a potent political issue as the 2024 election cycle ramps up— and after years of pushing for more abortion restrictions without much backlash, Republicans are on the defensive. In the wake of the Dobbs decision, the country, and particularly key Democratic constituencies, are more supportive of abortion rights than they’ve been in years, and there’s no sign that the issue is becoming less important to them.


1 Comment

Jun 23, 2023

democraps need this to maybe not lose as many seats... so they're only too glad to let the nazis proceed.

to hell with all those poor women (and kids). the party takes precedence.

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