by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Democrats hoping anti-abortion Republicans will motivate their base and potential swing voters before November’s midterm elections notched an unexpected win this week in Kansas after the state resoundingly rejected a constitutional amendment proposing to remove abortion protections.
President Joe Biden’s administration underscored the issue Wednesday by signing another executive order and convening the White House task force’s first meeting, one day after the Justice Department announced it was challenging Idaho’s near ban. But Democrats are criticizing Biden for his lackluster response, while Republicans remain quietly confident abortion will not determine this election cycle.
Republicans such as former Kansas Rep. Tim Huelskamp expressed their disappointment with the Kansas vote, contending that the fight for life against “the well-funded abortion industry has never been easy.”
“National pro-life groups and politicians saw the tremendous energy, excitement, and enthusiasm among pro-life voters despite the unfortunate mistakes made by Kansas pro-life leaders,” Huelskamp told the Washington Examiner. “This will certainly translate into strong support for candidates who support pro-life laws.”
Cesar Conda, Sen. Marco Rubio’s (R-FL) former chief of staff, analyzed the Kansas vote differently, arguing that Roe v. Wade critics had asserted abortion should be adjudicated by the states.
“Aside from ginning up liberal donors, I doubt the Kansas vote will have much of an impact in congressional elections around the country,” he said. “Inflation, recession, and crime are the issues that will decide the midterm elections.”
Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel amplified Conda in a statement, adamant that Biden’s “radical” abortion agenda is out of touch with members of the public who “can’t afford gas or groceries.”
Polling released last week undermines Democrats insisting abortion will galvanize the party before November. Almost two-thirds of the public described Roe’s overturning as a “major loss of rights,” but abortion proponents are uncertain whether they will vote this fall, according to a Washington Post-Schar School poll.