TARA Group CEO and TargetSmart Senior Advisor Tom Bonier wrote a guest essay for the New York Times on the growing saliency of abortion rights and the impact the issue will have on the 2024 elections.
You can read the full piece here – a few key excerpts are below:
With two election cycles after the decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization under our belts, it cannot be denied: Abortion rights are the dominant issue in American politics. And when supporters of abortion rights — a clear majority of Americans — see a connection between their votes and protecting what was once guaranteed by Roe v. Wade, they are more likely to vote.
With a second Trump term possibly hanging in the balance in next November’s election, these are lessons Democrats must seize.
Abortion rights won big on Tuesday night. In Ohio, a constitutional amendment enshrining protections for abortion rights was on the ballot, and in Virginia, control of both chambers of the state legislature was considered a tossup, and both parties made abortion rights the central issue of their campaigns. The pro-abortion-rights measure in Ohio passed by a wide margin. In Virginia, the Republican governor, Glenn Youngkin, made his proposal for a ban on abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy the central argument for electing Republicans in the state legislature. Republicans failed to win back control in the Senate and lost their narrow majority in the House of Delegates as turnout surged to historically high levels in key swing districts.
Abortion rights have had the biggest impact on elections over the past year and a half where voters believe abortion rights to be threatened and when they plausibly see their votes as a means to protect or reinstate abortion rights, it is good news for Democrats and for expanding or protecting abortion access. States with abortion on the ballot in the form of ballot measures have seen the biggest effect, but similar effects have been felt in states like Pennsylvania, Nevada and Arizona, where the issue was at the forefront of campaign messaging.
While Republicans find themselves boxed into a corner on the issue of abortion, in many ways Mr. Biden is the ideal messenger to connect the dots for moderates on this issue. His personal journey on abortion rights has been well documented and mirrors that of many Americans. This year Mr. Biden said: “I’m a practicing Catholic. I’m not big on abortion. But guess what? Roe v. Wade got it right.” Polling shows a sizable portion of moderates and even conservatives more or less agree with him: They may not consider themselves activists on the issue of abortion rights, but at the same time, they are deeply uncomfortable with the Dobbs decision and how it stripped so many Americans of individual freedoms.
Democrats exceeded expectations and precedent in key races in 2022 and 2023 by putting abortion rights and Republican extremism front and center. In 2024 all voters must understand that their votes will decide the future of abortion rights, everywhere.