California Democrats address abortion rights as ‘defining issue’

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  • Photo by Mark McKenna
  • Erin Sullivan, wearing a pink glove and waving a coat hanger, was one of dozens who showed up in support of reproductive health at the courthouse on Tuesday.

When a proposed Supreme Court ruling that would strike down the constitutional right to abortion was leaked Monday night, California’s Democratic leaders reacted swiftly with shock, grief and anger.

It didn’t take long for the personal devastation to turn political.

As of Wednesday morning, Governor Gavin Newsom, who is running for re-election this year, had already cut a new campaign ad about “reproductive freedom under attack”. In a tweet unveiling the announcement, he touted the defeat of “anti-choice Republicans” as the “defining issue of the 2022 election.”

While the harsh reality has crumbled to the extent that the landmark Roe v. Wade reaches his 50th birthday, many Democrats are leaning forcefully on the right to abortion as a key election issue. With decades of public polls indicating that a majority of Americans think abortion should be legal in all or most cases, it could be the party’s strongest counterweight in a campaign cycle in which Republicans seem ready to capitalize on voter frustration over inflation and crime.

“Don’t think for a second that’s where they stop,” Newsom said Wednesday outside Planned Parenthood Los Angeles, where he sounded the alarm that conservatives would also seek to roll back other rights such as homosexual marriage. “Be careful, America. They will come after you next.

In his remarks, Newsom called for a stronger Democratic counterattack on abortion protections. He slammed Republicans for claiming to be pro-life while opposing policies aimed at providing more support to women and families after the birth of a baby, foreshadowing a political attack that could soon be come to swing neighborhoods Across the country.

“This is how extreme the Republican Party is in the United States of America. You want extremism? Rape and incest, they don’t even make an exception,” Newsom said. “Wake up, America. Wake up with who you elect.

Democrats, weighed down by President Joe Biden’s declining approval ratings and threatened with losing control of Congress in November’s midterm elections, are struggling to come up with a message that could motivate liberal voters to run. at the polls and persuade the moderates to stay with their governance.

Jack Pitney, a politics professor at Claremont McKenna College, said the reality of a Supreme Court ruling against abortion rights could provide a significant boost. Although warnings about this potential outcome have historically not drawn Democrats’ turnout as the Roe decision has withstood decades of attack, Pitney said voters were much more alert to the losses.

“The question has moved from the realm of the hypothetical to the realm of the real,” he said.

And it could remain top of the news for the rest of the year, with official opinion expected this summer, and then potentially dozens of states passing new abortion restrictions afterward.

“It’s a bit like a wildfire, and the burning embers and debris will engulf the electorate for months to come,” Pitney said.

Yet it’s unclear how much of a difference abortion can make for Democrats, who face significant political headwinds nationwide due to pocket issues like spiraling inflation and high gasoline prices.

While probably not powerful enough to shift the balance of power, Pitney said abortion could shift the margins in tight races with national implications, such as contests for the U.S. Senate in Georgia and New York. Wisconsin. Some Republicans are already considering push for a national abortion ban whether the GOP gains full control of the federal government within the next few years. The decision, Pitney added, could also help Democrats regain ground with younger voters, who have particularly sour on Biden.

There’s likely less potential impact in California, where Democrats have nearly maximized their power at all levels of government.

Beth Miller, a Republican political consultant, said Californians motivated by abortion rights are already very politically engaged. She is skeptical that this will bring new or infrequent voters to the polls, especially when access to abortion is not under immediate threat here.

“The overriding issue in California is the cost of living,” Miller said.

But California Democrats are quick to elevate abortion to the forefront of their message anyway, with some even fundraising by announcing that Roe v. Wade could be canceled. More than 70% of Californians oppose repealing the ruling, according to a survey this year by the Public Policy Institute of California.

In a few hours of Politico Releases Draft Supreme Court Ruling On Monday night, Newsom and legislative leaders pledged to bring forward a November ballot amendment enshrining the right to abortion in the state constitution. Although “that’s not why we’re doing this,” Senate Speaker Pro Tem Toni Atkins, a Democrat from San Diego, acknowledged at a press conference Tuesday that she hopes the measure would stimulate participation.

While visiting Planned Parenthood on Wednesday, Newsom agreed that “people should be really pissed right now. If that doesn’t get people involved…I don’t know what will.

The biggest impact could come from a handful of swing quarters US House, where the Democratic Party defends vulnerable incumbents or seeks to regain seats it lost two years ago. Anti-Donald Trump fervor among suburban women led Democrats to big gains in places like Orange County in 2018, and anger over abortion restrictions could provide a similar motivating force in 2022.

In the Santa Clarita Valley near Los Angeles, where Republican Mike Garcia won a congressional race by less than 400 votes in 2020, his Democratic opponents repeatedly lambasted the Supreme Court’s proposed decision on social media and in local media since Monday evening.

Christy Smith, who lost to Garcia two years ago and is looking for a rematch, attended a rally for abortion rights Tuesday night, posing near a giant replica of a wire hanger with a ‘Keep Your Politics Off My Body’ sign. She called it a “warning” to Garcia.

Another Garcia-defying Democrat, Quaye Quartey, said in an interview that the proposed ruling created “more of a sense of urgency” around stopping the “Republican assault on our Democratic values.” He noted that Garcia had signed a amicus brief asking the Supreme Court to overrule Roe and co-sponsored a bill to ban abortion nationwide by declaring that life begins at conception.

“We know he’s dangerous, and this is just another example of how dangerous he is,” Quartey said.

Still, not all Democrats rushed to embrace the subject, hinting at some of the political nuances that could emerge as immediate outrage over the draft notice subsides.

Unlike many of her colleagues, says Senator Melissa Hurtado of Hanford, who faces one of the toughest re-election bids of any lawmaker this year has yet to comment on the decision. Since Monday, she has posted on the social networks of mental health awareness, teacher appreciation and even star wars daybut not the right to abortion.

Assemblyman Rudy Salas of Bakersfield, who is seeking to eliminate Republican David Valadao in a Headquarters of the Central Valley Congress with a growing advantage for Democratic voter registration.

Neither Hurtado’s nor Salas’ campaigns responded to interview requests. But both are running in precincts where the majority of voters are Latino and where white conservatives have traditionally wielded disproportionate influence in elections due to low turnout.

The PPIC investigation found that support for Roe v. Wade was significantly lower among Latinos than among other California ethnic groups — just 64 percent. And while a narrow majority of Republicans (54%) oppose overturning the decision, that compares to 77% of independent voters and 87% of Democrats.

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