Democrats were absolutely sure that the new somewhat conservative Supreme Court and the Texas law limiting abortion would save their bacon in 2022 and 2024.
The reason is that surveys have consistently shown about 60 percent of people say abortion should be legal in most cases.
Democrats were certain that outrage about abortion restrictions would translate into voter backlash against Republicans in the coming election cycles.
But Dems and their lapdogs in the media are finding much to their disappointment that people are not talking that much about abortion in 2022. Check out this story:
As the right to an abortion in the U.S. hangs in doubt, one thing seemed clear at the outset of 2022: the issue would tower over America’s midterm elections.
But in Texas — of all places — that hasn’t been the case going into the nation’s first primary.
Airwaves are not swamped with campaign ads focused on abortion access. Candidates spend more time talking about COVID-19, immigration and the reliability of the power grid. Some rallies and events come and go without even a mention of Texas having the most restrictive abortion law in the country on the books for months now.
“It’s almost like we’ve become numb,” said Democrat Ann Johnson, a state representative in Houston.
The change has disappointed abortion rights supporters who suspect that months of court defeats has taken a toll on their side at a time when a full press is still needed. Others worry that some candidates, particularly Democrats, still don’t know how to effectively campaign on abortion even after the tumult of last fall.
“It’s a community issue, it’s a public health issue and I think to not talk about it is like super blind,” said Amy Hagstrom Miller, president of Whole Woman’s Health, which operates four clinics in Texas.
It shows that both Democratic and Republican candidates alike in Texas have concluded other issues are currently higher priorities for voters in the primary — the economy, schools and health care chief among them.
Many believe the abortion issue will return to the spotlight in the general election campaign, when candidates are facing the opposing party rather than like-minded competitors from their own, and after the Supreme Court decides whether to weaken the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling that guarantees the right to an abortion. The court’s decision on a key abortion case is expected by June.
But as the 2022 campaign begins, the Texas race has revealed cracks between the practical impact of the Texas law on abortion rights and the politics of the issue. Recent data confirmed that in the first month after the restrictions took effect, abortions in Texas fell by 60%.
Outside San Antonio this month, a forum of candidates for a seat in the Texas House — where the law known as Senate Bill 8 overwhelmingly passed a year ago — drew a crowd of more than 100 people in mostly rural Kendall County.
None of the candidates on stage talked about it, and no one in the audience asked.
“There was 45 minutes there that it could have come up, and it didn’t,” said Laura Bray, who chairs the local Democratic Party.
In her county, where President Donald Trump won 3-to-1 in 2020, Bray said Democrats purposefully avoid discussing abortion so they don’t turn off Republican voters they’re trying to win over.
What campaigns in Texas have been most emphasizing aligns with national surveys: although Democratic voters increasingly support protecting reproductive rights, a range of issues from the economy to gun control still rank higher, according to a December poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.
Across the country, Democrats have promised to make abortion a cornerstone of the midterm elections, saying the issue can energize their base at a time when their narrow majorities in Congress are at risk. The conventional wisdom is that abortion is more of a motivating issue for Republicans. But even Gov. Greg Abbott’s early campaign for a third term has also not heavily promoted his signing of the law, which appeared to go even too far for other GOP states where copycat measures have stalled.
“Abortion has never been one of the top issues for most voters,” GOP pollster Whit Ayres said. “It’s always overwhelmed by, in this day and age, the pandemic and the economy.”
If Democrats can’t make hay with the abortion issue in 2022 in Texas, which has a new and very controversial anti-abortion law, they probably will fail to stir up the voters on this issue in other future key races.
It is obviously true that voters are more concerned about the economy and COVID restrictions in 2022, but I think there is something more important going on. Voters instinctively know that abortion, like education, marriage law, the death penalty and other issues, should be decided on the state level, not the federal level.
The polling on this question is, in my opinion, devastating for the pro-abortion side. One recent poll showed 38 percent of people think abortion should be decided on the federal level, 34 percent think it should be decided on the state level, and 28 percent said they were unsure. That result is telling. Five decades after the Supreme Court unnecessarily made abortion a federal issue with the Roe v. Wade decision, only 38 percent of people are sure this is the correct result.
Here is the reality for abortion advocates: most people are actually somewhere in the middle on the abortion issue. People do not believe 13-year-old girls who get pregnant should be forced to carry the baby to term, but they also don’t believe in abortion in the eighth or ninth month. People don’t want to return to the days of back alley abortions, but they also don’t want people using abortion as birth control. Access to birth control is much more widespread in 2022 than in 1973, and most people want more people to be responsible for their own sexual choices. It is probably worth pointing out that the birth rate has fallen precipitously since 1973, and there are hundreds of thousands of people trying unsuccessfully to adopt in an environment where nearly a million abortions take place every year. But still, most people believe women should have access to safe abortion for relatively rare cases.
If the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, most people will, in effect, get what they want. If you are a pro-choice and live in a blue state, you will still get all the abortion you want. If you are pro-life and live in a red state, you will get much less abortion with many restrictions. If you are pro-choice and live in a red state, and you have an unwanted pregnancy, all you have to do is travel to a nearby blue state to have your abortion.
You will hear progressives say that poor people in red states will suffer under this new reality, but I think that people instinctively know this is not a real issue. Progressives these days love abortion, and they love helping poor people get abortions, and they have all of the necessary infrastructure to make sure poor people in red states get access to abortions. You can imagine thousands of pro-abortion Go Fund Me accounts, and even Hollywood fundraisers for the poor oppressed peasants in red states.
Activists and politicians in California are already planning for the state government to pay for out of state abortions and is declaring the state “a sanctuary” for abortion. This will also happen in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and other blue states.
So, the nightmare scenario for abortion advocates — that poor people in red states will be prevented from getting abortions — is rapidly disappearing as a concern. The overturning of Roe v. Wade, which by the way has not happened yet but is possible in 2022, will basically give everybody what they want on the abortion issue.
The primary lesson here should be that if the Supreme Court had followed the Constitution in 1973 and in subsequent decisions we could have avoided five decades of unnecessary battles. In 1973, many states were already moving to legalize abortion. Other states would have kept abortion restrictions. Without an activist Supreme Court, we would have arrived at more or less the situation we will likely be in this year: ie, the people get to decide on a state level how to regulate behavior in their states.
So, why is abortion not a big political issue in 2022? Yes, the economy and COVID are bigger issues, but I also believe most people are at peace with the a new post-Roe reality. Let’s hope the Supreme Court decision reflects that reality.