Republicans Blow Another Opportunity At the Ballot Box
Leave it to Republicans to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. With an unpopular Democratic president in the White House and that president’s party torn by the difficult decision over whether to back victims of murderous terrorism, the GOP still managed to take a thumping in off-year elections. Stumbling once again over the issues of abortion, former President Donald Trump, and a general gloss of nuttiness, GOP candidates can’t get out of their own way.
Across the country, Republicans who saw victory within reach turned in generally underwhelming performances Tuesday. As in last year’s mid-term elections, they struggled in the shadow of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision overturning Roe v. Wade and making abortion a political issue once again. Like a dog finally catching a car, they found themselves burdened by their achievement.
Hung-Up on Abortion, Again
“Republican challenger Daniel Cameron’s bet failed to produce gains in rural counties,” the Louisville Courier-Journal reported of the Trump-backed candidate’s failure to unseat the Democratic incumbent in Kentucky, which gave 62 percent of its vote to the GOP presidential candidate in 2020. “The results also showed the GOP nominee’s own political baggage — whether his strict anti-abortion views or his role in the Breonna Taylor case — sunk him in urban centers and suburban areas.”
“Youngkin is a relatively popular, middle-of-the-road politician, who probably could have succeeded in flipping the Senate, had it not been for the abortion issue,” Olusoji Akomolafe, chairman of Norfolk State University’s political science department, told the Richmond Times-Dispatch after GOP Governor Glenn Younkin not only failed in his effort to take the state Senate but also lost the House.
Ohio voters cut to the chase and embedded reproductive rights in the state constitution with a higher percentage of the vote—56 percent—than the 53 percent who cast their votes for Donald Trump in 2020 (they also voted to legalize marijuana, making it a good night for personal freedom).
“A year after an expected ‘red wave’ turned into a ripple, conservatives’ election messaging in 2023 sought to adjust to emerging realities,” Rick Klein of ABC News noted in the aftermath. “Election Day 2023 instead continued a losing streak for conservatives on abortion-related issues that began virtually the moment the Supreme Court tossed out Roe v. Wade last year – extending through states that are blue, red and decidedly purple.”
Democrats “handed Republicans another drubbing with their twin issue set of abortion rights and fear and loathing of the MAGAGOP,” observed The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board. “Republicans have a brand perception problem.”
This is remarkable given that mid-term and off-year elections are often referenda on the party in power, and President Joe Biden has been wildly unpopular for over two years; the FiveThirtyEight average of polls currently has the president’s approval at 38.6 percent and disapproval at 55.7 percent.
Article from Latest
The Reason Magazine website is a go-to destination for libertarians seeking cogent analysis, investigative reporting, and thought-provoking commentary. Championing the principles of individual freedom, limited government, and free markets, the site offers a diverse range of articles, videos, and podcasts that challenge conventional wisdom and advocate for libertarian solutions. Whether you’re interested in politics, culture, or technology, Reason provides a unique lens that prioritizes liberty and rational discourse. It’s an essential resource for those who value critical thinking and nuanced debate in the pursuit of a freer society.