That’s Congresswoman-elect Mary Peltola’s first ad for a fill term representing Alaska. She frames the abortion debate perfectly, especially for a libertarian-type state like Alaska. No mention of abortion— just infringement of individual rights. She’s a committed advocate for “personal privacy rights” and preventing the government from”taking away our freedoms.” She closes by asserting Alaskans “should have the right to make choices that work for ourselves and our families.” So far, Mary, a Democrat, is doing real well. She came in first in the first round of voting and she came in first in the second round, which has made her the first Democrat to represent Alaska in the House since 1973 (when Democratic Rep Nick Begich was killed in a mysterious plane crash and a special election resulted in a win for conservative Republican Don Young, who Begich had just beaten 4 months earlier).
There are a lot of stories lately about why the much-touted “red wave” seems to have turned— at best— into a red trickle. Trump is a big part of it— and a handful of apparent Democratic successes in Congress (plus student loan forgiveness and the hostile GOP reaction). But, overwhelmingly, it is abortion. This morning, Aaron Zitner, the Wall Street Journal polling editor, fielded 3 questions. The first was what caused the change in the outlook for the midterms. He wrote: “In a word: Abortion. Voters are still very pessimistic about the economy and inflation— even a bit more than in our prior survey, in March. But since then, abortion has emerged as an important issue in motivating the votes of many people, including women in political swing groups. Women who are independents, for example, shifted 20 percentage points in the Democrats’ direction, and Hispanic women moved by 15 points. That’s one reason we saw Democrats shift to a small lead of three percentage points— within the poll’s margin of error— on the question of which party voters would support for Congress if the election were today. Republicans held a five-point advantage in March… We found that, on the broadest level, views of whether abortion should be legal remained largely stable. Some 60% said abortion should be mostly or always legal, five points higher than in March. At the same time, voters had negative views— and in some cases very negative views— of specific restrictions that state or federal lawmakers might enact. For example, 62% opposed a ban on abortion at six weeks with an exception only for the health of the mother, and 57% opposed a similar ban at 15 weeks. Larger shares opposed banning women from crossing state lines for abortion or prosecuting doctors for performing abortion.”
Here’s an impromptu clip of Oregon congressional candidate Jamie McLeod-Skinner talking on the day after the Supreme Court voted to overturn Roe v Wade. Though her opponent, Lori Chavez-DeRemer, doesn’t mention it on her campaign website, she is an anti-Choice fanatic, so an easy target for strong, sensible messaging like this: