Democratic strategist and Clinton advisor James Carville is warning his party against laser-focus on abortion in the run-up to the November midterm elections.
‘A lot of these consultants think if all we do is run abortion spots that will win for us. I don’t think so,’ the famed strategist told the Associated Press. ‘It’s a good issue. But if you just sit there and they’re pummeling you on crime and pummeling you on the cost of living, you’ve got to be more aggressive than just yelling abortion every other word.’
Democrats had hoped the overturning of Roe v. Wade would offer them a political boon in the midterm elections, where they are favored to lose the House and could potentially lose the Senate.
Democrats have banked on the Supreme Court‘s overturning of Roe v. Wade offering them a political boon to change the tides.
Democratic candidates, the party’s campaign arm the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) and affiliated super PACS have spent over $18 million airing more than 100 abortion-focus broadcast TC ads in four dozen battleground regions, according to data from media tracking firm AdImpact obtained by Politico.
That sum is three times more than what Democrats spent on abortion ads during the entire 2018 general election.
Democratic strategist and Clinton advisor James Carville is warning his party against laser focus on abortion in the run-up to the November midterm elections
At least seven super PACS have focused their message on abortion rights, as has the DCCC. Outside groups have dedicated more than 40 percent of their total broadcast TV spending to abortion ads, according to AdImpact.
The ads largely paint Republicans as extremists who want to take away rights for half of the country, meanwhile, Republicans are shying away from the matter, keeping focus on crime, inflation and the border.
Other strategists agreed that abortion alone will not help Democrats maintain power.
‘Abortion is probably Democrats’ best opportunity in decades to build a new electoral coalition, and I’m excited to see them finally discovering their voice on the issue,’ Democratic strategist Max Burns told DailyMail.com. ‘But Carville is also right that we’ll need to talk about abortion and other kitchen table issues as well. Abortion is a winning issue for Democrats but it can’t be the only issue.’
GOP strategist Ken Spain was even less convinced abortion could help sway elections.
‘Inflation and the economy will be the defining issues of the election. Messaging aggressively on the abortion issue could potentially help Democrats mitigate losses in some races, but it’s unlikely to change the trajectory of the election,’ Spain told DailyMail.com.
Even Sen. Bernie Sanders said Democrats could be making a mistake by hitting the issue too hard.
‘As we enter the final weeks of the 2022 midterm elections, I am alarmed to hear the advice that many Democratic candidates are getting from establishment consultants and directors of well-funded Super Pacs that the closing argument of Democrats should focus only on abortion. Cut the 30-second abortion ads and coast to victory,’ he wrote in a column for The Guardian.
‘In my view, while the abortion issue must remain on the front burner, it would be political malpractice for Democrats to ignore the state of the economy and allow Republican lies and distortions to go unanswered.’
Another veteran Democratic strategist, Chuck Rocha, told DailyMail.com he tells the candidates he advises to lean into the abortion matter.
‘This election is about turnout, not about persuasion. Abortion is a great issue for mobilization of women, especially young women,’ he said. ‘Young women just happen to over-index voting for Democrats.’
But he said that older voters and male voters tend not to decide their vote on abortion. ‘That’s why I’ve been telling my candidates to run on an abortion-plus narrative,’ he said, pointing to Democratic bills that have sailed through Congress like the Inflation Reduction Act.
Republicans have kept up a steady stream of attacks on Biden’s economic record.
Democrats have banked on the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade offering them a political boon to change the tides.
They point to inflation and the high price of gas as they try to tell voters they can do a better job on the type of pocket book issues that often decide elections.
They got good news last week when the OPEC+ oil alliance moved to keep prices high by cutting production, sending gas prices immediately higher in the U.S. – despite Biden’s efforts to woo Saudi Arabia’s crown prince.
A recent strategy memo, written for the Republican National Committee, sets out how they Democrats playing into their hands.
‘Democrats and the national media are determined to try and make abortion the top issue ahead of the midterms, however, the media is not on our side, and we do not answer to them but to voters,’ said the analysis by the Tarrance Group.
‘Voters have made clear this election is largely about the economy and crime.’
In polling commissioned by the National Republican Congressional Committee in August and September, voters in 68 out of 69 districts said the economy and inflation combined were more important than abortion rights to them. Inflation was the top issue at 25 percent, followed by abortion at 12 percent.
But in Democratic polling, abortion was indeed the top issue at 25 percent, a sign their advertising could pay off by motivating the base to get out and vote in a midterm year.