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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Scher: Dems Should Ditch Intraparty Debate on Tactics Re Abortion Ruling

From “The End of Roe v. Wade Could Help Democrats in These Midterm Races: Instead of fighting each other over abortion, Democrats can fight these Republicans.” by Bill Scher at The Washington Monthly:

‘Legitimate arguments can be made about whether Democrats should take every conceivable action—without regard to existing law and Senate rules—to protect abortion rights now or whether party members should only work within the system because further erosion of norms would make all rights, reproductive and beyond, at the mercy of shifting political winds.

But why should Democrats get mired in an intraparty debate about tactics when they can unite against Republicans banning abortion?

Republicans are turning the clock back to the early 20th century—and in some cases, where dormant laws are being dusted off, the 19th—in about half of the states. The political scientists Jake Grumbach and Christopher Warshaw crunched survey data from multiple sources for The Washington Post and determined that “a majority of the public in about 40 states supports legal abortion rights.” In other words, several states present opportunities for Democrats to restore reproductive freedoms.”

Scher spotlights some of the key races he believes Dems can win by focusing on Republicans banning abortion, including the governorships of Florida, Georgia and Texas and maybe Arizona, Iowa, Ohio, South Carolina, and South Dakota. He also believes Dems can win the races for Attorney General in Florida, Georgia, Ohio and Texas, along with majority control of the state legislatures of Arizona, Michigan and Pennsylvania. Read the article for his detailed analysis of these races.

Scher concludes:

“To be clear, none of the above races are easy wins for Democrats. And we can’t know if the abortion issue on its own will be enough to make them more competitive. But that uncertainty only makes it more imperative for Democrats to employ strategies that maximize unity and appeal to swing voters. Party infighting over parliamentary procedures and norms fuels “Democrats in disarray” punch lines that accomplish the opposite.

To motivate the pro-choice majority—which extends well beyond progressive base voters in deep blue states—to prioritize abortion, Democrats need a laser focus on states where abortion is banned or severely restricted.

If such a strategy is successful, Democrats will broaden their geographic support. That would help secure abortion rights in more states and improve the odds of Democrats retaining U.S. Senate control. Holding the Senate keeps Democrats’ judicial confirmation power. If they can keep it long enough, they will be in a position to replace the eldest Supreme Court justices: Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas.”

No doubt there are good arguments for targeting  U.S. Senate and House races Dems can win using the same attack strategy. What is certain is that the circular firing squad strategy is the one Republicans hope Dems will adopt.

2 comments on “Scher: Dems Should Ditch Intraparty Debate on Tactics Re Abortion Ruling

  1. Victor on

    Democrats have basically used abortion exclusively for fundraising. Why? The campaign spending advantage hasn’t translated into electoral success for Democrats at least since 2016.

  2. Victor on

    The midterms can’t be the end all of strategy. What is the longer term strategy? Will Democrats continue to push to codify Roe/Casey (which wasn’t working that well to begin with)? Will the party adopt a cutoff for on-demand abortion? Will issues be left to the states (both legally and politically)?

    More importantly, will Democrats challenge abortion restrictions via the initiative/referendum in those states that have these mechanisms?


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