The most recent Gallup poll on abortion shows that just 18% of Americans think abortion should be illegal in all situations. And 79% of Americans believe that abortion should be legal either all the time (29%) or some of the time (50%).
As the country waits for Donald Trump to announce his pick to replace Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court, some observers now believe that abortion will be the most important issue going into the fall midterm elections.
If Trump picks a conservative jurist who is likely to vote with a majority of other conservatives and overturn the pro-abortion Roe v. Wade opinion then it is clear his decision will have been made to appease evangelical anti-abortion forces who are in the minority in this country.
On the flip side, an anti-abortion Supreme Court nominee would likely energize the pro-choice forces in a way that has not been seen for decades. If this leads to large increased voter turnout to vote against Republicans in November it will spell doom for Donald Trump since it will mean that Democrats are almost assured of taking back control of the U.S. House of Representatives.
And if Democrats take control of the House they will appoint Democratic committee chairmen with devastating consequences for Trump. Adam Schiff would replace Devin Nunes as chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, and Schiff has already said that if this happens he will re-open the Russia probe which Nunes has shut down.
Many people have observed that due to Trump’s unpopularity and low approval ratings a “Blue Wave” election is likely this fall as voters express this displeasure with Trump’s personality, character, agenda and track record as president. And since Kennedy resigned, Democrats have been saying that the confirmation of a Trump Court nominee who would likely overturn Roe v. Wade will bring an army of Democrats to the polls, turning the Blue Wave into a Blue Tsunami.
According to Democratic pollster Celinda Lake Republicans’ public discussions about their desire to overturn Roe v. Wade and outlaw abortion through the Supreme Court will be their downfall:
“Our biggest ally here is their own rhetoric because they’re not trying to finesse this in anyway. They’re clear about their agenda. There’s no question it mobilizes more our side. There are a lot more millennial women than born-again Christians who need to be mobilized.”
Lake’s reference to millennial women is key because this is the voting block with historically low turnout but with the strongest pro-choice opinions. Of course this is also the group of people most directly affected by conservative abortion restrictions since they are women who actually might get pregnant and have to face the choices that old white men on the Supreme Court don’t have to face.
Jennifer Duffy, a senior editor at The Cook Political Report, said that the abortion battle could help Republicans in Senate races in Indiana, Missouri and West Virginia by increasing evangelical turnout, but it will hurt Republicans running for the House in key swing districts that Democrats need to win to take back control of the lower chamber.
“A fight over abortion will definitely drive up Democratic turnout in pro-Clinton congressional districts,” Duffy said.
And Lake also believes that the abortion fight will provide a big boost to pro-choice Democratic candidates in suburban House districts by increasing turnout among women voters who are socially liberal and strongly in favor of abortion rights. “This will help flip control of the House,” Lake said.
Trump and his right-wing supporters are thrilled that he will be choosing a second conservative nominee for the Supreme Court. If his choice energizes Democratic voter turnout and Democrats take over control of the House of Representatives, this will be Trump’s worst nightmare. Adam Schiff and other Democratic committee chairs will start holding hearings on not only Russia but also on the corruption of Donald Trump, his family, and members of his cabinet. If Democrats truly start to “drain the swamp” in Washington then Donald Trump will truly be doomed.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.