by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The White House has not settled on a message regarding the charged pro-abortion rights protests sparked by the leaked draft Supreme Court opinion overturning the landmark case Roe v. Wade.
The rhetoric shift is reminiscent of the mixed response from President Joe Biden’s 2020 campaign to George Floyd’s death, which prompted months of demonstrations, as Biden tries simultaneously to unify the country and motivate the Democratic base before November’s midterm elections.
Democrats, such as onetime party consultant Christopher Hahn, anticipated the Supreme Court’s move and have long been candid about their hopes that it will propel Democratic voters to the polls in the fall. But despite angry protesters gathering outside Supreme Court justices’ homes and anti-abortion groups, as well as churches, reporting threats and vandalism, Hahn is adamant the demonstrations “have not crossed any line.”
“Nor do I expect they will,” Hahn, host of the Aggressive Progressive podcast, told the Washington Examiner. “The White House should do whatever they can to keep the passion of pro-choice advocates alive. This is a powerful motivator for progressives heading into the midterms and can limit expected GOP gains.”
Political commentator Costas Panagopoulos, Northeastern University’s politics chairman, agreed that “anything that can potentially energize the Democratic base right now is worth the risk going into the November elections.”
“The Democratic disadvantage in enthusiasm can be fatal for Democrats in 2022, and the recent developments on abortion can level the playing field,” he said.
Republicans have an average 3-percentage-point advantage on a generic congressional ballot as of Tuesday, according to RealClearPolitics. The GOP also has history on its side, with the governing party tending to lose seats during midterm cycles. …
… But the White House does not appear as certain as Hahn or Panagopoulos concerning the protest’s political consequences.
Press secretary Jen Psaki adopted a defensive tone Tuesday after protesters converged on the home of Virginia-based Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, the draft opinion’s author, the previous night.