Democrats are bracing for the court’s 6-3 conservative majority to deliver potentially blockbuster defeats but are already preparing to try to turn the losses into victories at the ballot box. Democrats are betting on polling trends that show that Americans support Roe v. Wade and tougher gun laws, especially in the vital and fluid suburbs.
Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney of New York, the campaign chair tasked with defending Democrats’ House majority, said Republicans “may live to regret it” if the Supreme Court majority they built reverses Roe.
“Anybody who understands how important reproductive freedom is would be outraged by overturning 50 years of settled law. It would be terrible for the country. And I think there would be a price to pay,” Maloney said. “People who contribute to that should be held accountable.”
Historical trends favor Republicans in the battle for the House and the Senate next year. The last two presidents suffered heavy losses for their parties in the first midterm elections. Democrats, who rely on a base of younger and nonwhite voters, tend to have sharper drop-offs in turnout when they control the White House.
“Turnout, turnout, turnout!” said Tyler Law, who was an aide to the House Democrats’ campaign arm in 2018.
“If you look back at past midterms where Democrats took an a– whooping, it was largely because of huge drops in Democratic turnout,” he said. “Two massive decisions from the Supreme Court will up the stakes of the election and fight against any voter apathy that could hurt our side.”
For decades, abortion has been a political win-win for Republicans, galvanizing their base while lulling supporters of legal abortion into relative complacency because of a perceived unlikelihood of losing the right. Guns were once a winning issue for the GOP, but the rising frequency of mass shootings over the last decade has moved voters in favor of stricter laws, surveys show.
Mike Davis, a conservative strategist who has worked on Supreme Court nominations at the highest levels of the GOP, said he’d welcome a battle over the courts in the midterm election.
“As Hillary Clinton in 2016 and four former Senate Democrats in 2018 learned the hard way, focusing on the Supreme Court is a winning issue for Republicans,” Davis said, adding that it “unites and motivates conservatives” and “wins over independents.”
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