“Democrats are congratulating themselves that they are now the “normie voter” party. The logic runs like this.
They have recovered from a deficit in the generic Congressional ballot and no longer appear to be headed for a complete drubbing in the November election. They could plausibly hold the Senate and keep their losses in the House relatively modest (though are still highly likely to lose control of that body).
The Democrats can point to several issues on which Republicans are out of step with the country and have contributed to their recovery. Chief among them is abortion, where the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision reversing Roe v. Wade has allowed them to cast the Republicans as intransigent advocates of abortion bans. The public on the other hand is clearly on the side of moderate abortion rights.
Another helpful development is the increased prominence of Donald Trump in the political dialogue and in various specific races. Republicans have a great deal of trouble dissociating themselves from Trump and his endless relitigation of the 2020 election. Some are true disciples of Trump and some just find it too politically difficult, whatever their personal opinions, to put real distance between themselves and the former President. But the end result is being out of step with the public which sees the 2020 election as settled and generally disapproves of Trump’s role in the January 6th events, his inflammatory rhetoric and his disregard of democratic norms.
Finally, Democrats have succeeded in passing stripped down versions of key leglislative priorities, the CHIPS and Science Act and the cheekily name Inflation Reduction Act, both of which are fairly popular with the public and strengthen the Democrats’ argument that they are delivering on their promises. (Of course, the recent decline in gas prices has little to do with Democrats’ priorities and actions and that decline certainly does more for Democrats’ immediate prospects that these pieces of legislation.)
So Democrats are on the right side of public opinion on these issues and are seeing their fortunes improve as a result. Does that make them the normie voter party now?
Not so fast. It may be fair to say that Republicans, by virtue of being associated with abortion bans and with Trump and Trumpism, are not the normie voter party. But that does not mean that Democrats, by virtue of not being those things, are now the normie voter party. Normie voters want more than that—a lot more than that.
Start with the very issue that is currently doing the Democrats the most good: abortion. Democrats are taking advantage of the Dobbs decision and the intent of many pro-life Republican forces to leverage that decision into draconian state abortion laws. This is not what normie voters want (see: Kansas). But on the other hand, neither do normie voters want completely unrestricted access to abortion throughout all nine months of pregnancy, the default position of much of the Democratic party.
By about 2:1 the public favors at least some restrictions on abortion. Looked at by trimesters, the framework used in Roe v. Wade, Gallup found that 60 percent think abortion should be generally legal in the first three months of pregnancy. But that falls to 28 percent for the second three months and just 13 percent for the final trimester.
This and other data strongly indicate that the median voter position is that abortion should be available without restrictions for the first trimester and then available only with restrictions, such as for rape, incest and the health of the mother, thereafter. This approximates the legal situation in most Western countries and would cover close to 90 percent of the abortions that currently take place.