Roe vs. Wade decision promises more division, political strife

Never before has the Supreme Court stripped a constitutional right so dramatically.

It is therefore impossible to know the full effect of his seismic decision that overturned Roe vs. Wade.

Except that in a country already so deeply divided it’s more like enemy entities, red and blue, living uneasily on the same divided landmass, life in America will become edgier, angrier, and even more contentious.

Democrats hope the shock of Friday’s verdict will shake up the party’s grassroots and inspire the otherwise apathetic to vote, as well as win support from independents and even some Republicans — especially women — who resent the legal right to Abortion in the air disappears.

“Democrats needed a stimulating, organizing dynamic, and this provides it,” said Fred Yang, a veteran Democratic pollster and strategist who works on a series of competitive House and Senate elections across the country.

The party is battling the twin headwinds of high inflation and low confidence in the Biden administration.

“We needed something affirmative to say and an issue where we can affirmatively say that we will protect your rights,” Yang said. “That’s it.”

But the evidence so far is scarce and contradictory.

The first significant and enduring test of political consequences will come in November, when control of the House and Senate and thousands of seats in parliament and the governorship in 36 states are at stake. The Republicans seem far from certain of winning the House of Representatives and also have a good chance in the Senate.

If history continues, the GOP will also increase its number in statehouses nationwide, cementing the gains of the past two decades that have led to looser gun laws and tougher abortion restrictions in much of the country before the Supreme Court has signaled its approval.

The 5-4 on Friday was no particular surprise. A leaked draft of the decision, closely modeled on the one issued Friday, made clear the court’s intent for the past few weeks.

There have been a string of congressional and general elections since then, and none indicate excessive turnout from Democrats or sympathizers excited by the looming Roe vs. Wade reversal. In Texas, the only anti-abortion Democrat in the House of Representatives, Henry Cuellar, won a first victory over another Democrat campaigning with strong support from abortion rights groups.

Shortly after the draft decision surfaced, an NBC poll showed that the abortion issue gained 16 points in importance for voters compared to March’s issue. It also found that the “enthusiasm gap” between Democrats and Republicans — that is, interest in the November election — had also narrowed significantly in favor of Democrats.

But this is just a poll. Others show how ambivalent Americans are about legalized abortion, despite the fervor expressed by the loudest and most adamant voices on both sides.

In a recent poll conducted by the Pew Research Center, only about six in 10 said abortion should be legal in all or most circumstances, compared to fewer than four in 10 who said it should be illegal in all or most circumstances .

But there was a lot of grey.

More than half of advocates for legal abortion believed that there should be limits based on timing. A significant number of abortion opponents said the procedure should be allowed in cases of rape or incest, or when pregnancy “threatens the health or life of the woman”.

Countless elections have shown that abortion-strongest voters — and especially those who are passionate in one way or another — are likely already casting their ballots, clear on whether they support the Democratic or Republican stance .

So the key is those with somewhat mixed feelings, the casual voters who might otherwise stay at home, and those only loosely affiliated with one party or another. The latter tend to decide elections, and they tend to make their decisions based on issues or concerns that are moving them at a given point in time, rather than a set of deeply rooted beliefs.

Charlie Cook, a bipartisan analyst, has spent decades studying campaigns and elections at a granular level, and he’s skeptical that Friday’s decision will drastically change a political climate dominated by issues — rising prices, pain at the gas pump, economic concerns — working to Republicans’ advantage.

“If this were a level playing field, that could have a bigger impact,” Cook said. “But when you have the economic situation that we have, with a majority — in some cases a large majority — expecting a recession, high inflation, skyrocketing interest rates, it’s difficult to support abortion or guns or the 6th cutting January through all this.

“It’s like the Democrats dug themselves into a 10-foot hole,” Cook said. “Abortion can fill a foot of it. January 6th can fill a foot. But they are still stuck in a deep hole.”

When liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died just weeks before the November 2020 presidential election, the Supreme Court was brought – for a very brief time – to the forefront of political debate. Democrats warned that replacing her with Amy Coney Barrett would secure the court’s conservative majority and guarantee Roe’s reversal.

Then as now, they expected the abortion issue to electrify the party base and send Democrats to the polls. However, post-election polls found that just over one in 10 voters cited the Supreme Court as the most important factor in their decision, and a majority of them voted to re-elect President Trump.

One of the biggest questions following the Supreme Court ruling is whether the actual Roe vs. Wade reversal will matter more to voters than their theoretical reversal, spurring the massive turnout that Democrats are hoping for and Republicans fear .

That — not the raw emotion of that moment — will determine not only what happens in November, but where the country goes from here. Roe vs. Wade decision promises more division, political strife

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