The debate over the Supreme Court is raising the issue of abortion and reproductive rights to a level of prominence that hasn’t been seen in years, creating an unpredictable and dangerous environment for incumbents in the midterm elections.
Democrats say the prospect that the Senate will confirm a nominee who could overturn the Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion will bring an army of Democrats to the polls — to the detriment of Republicans, particularly in the House.
“Our biggest ally here is their own rhetoric because they’re not trying to finesse this in anyway. They’re clear about their agenda,” said Democratic pollster Celinda Lake.
“There’s no question it mobilizes more our side,” Lake added. “There are a lot more millennial women than born-again Christians who need to be mobilized.”
Republicans are just as confident that the issue will mobilize their own grass roots, which backed President Trump in 2016 partly because of his promises on Supreme Court nominees.
“If you look at the way Trump won in 2016, a big part of that was energizing the evangelical base that didn’t turn out in 2008 and 2012,” said a Senate Republican pollster.
“The groups that turn out at the lowest numbers are noncollege educated white males and evangelicals. A Supreme Court nomination fight is like injecting fuel into the enthusiasm level of that base,” the pollster said.
It’s possible that both sides could be right, with the battle helping Republicans keep their Senate majority but potentially hurting them in the fight over the House.