In public, Republicans are reveling after the Supreme Court granted a decision they’ve long desired. However, some are quietly feeling the midterm tides turn just as nearly everything had been going right for an overwhelming sweep.
Politico conducted dozens of interviews with Republican strategists and party officials that reveal a hint of worry about the hit GOP candidates could take during upcoming midterm elections due to reinvigorated Democrat voters.
A closed-door consensus has formed that the court’s overturning of precedent will be a liability for the party, perhaps even beyond midterms if former President Donald Trump chooses to run in 2024.
John Thomas, a Republican strategist who works on House campaigns across the country, said, “This is not a conversation we want to have.”
“We want to have a conversation about the economy. We want to have a conversation about Joe Biden, about pretty much anything else besides Roe … This is a losing issue for Republicans.”
A Republican operative who spoke to Politico on the condition of anonymity said the decision undercuts the progress Republicans have made with moderates and swing voters.
“It takes a sizeable bloc of voters who were leaning [Republican], and it gives them reason to vote Democrat,” he said. “And they haven’t had any reason to vote Democrat in quite a while.”
Not all who were interviewed were so negative. There isn’t a Republican or Democrat who thinks the issue will keep the GOP from reclaiming the House in November.
“Maybe instead of losing 45 seats, they lose 30,” said a former Congressman speaking anonymously. “There will be a few seats that Republicans would have won without [the Dobbs decision], and they may not win them now.”
Even polling from after the leaked draft showed abortion falling below other voter concerns.
National Republican strategist Dave Carney is confident that voters have more pressing things to worry about, such as ongoing inflation and recent shortages of essentials like baby formula.
“That’s not what’s driving the conversation. Real people, working people, people who vote, are talking about the incompetence of the president, and then they go down the list of six or seven things.”
As midterms approach, Republicans will attempt to keep the long list of economic issues at the forefront of public focus.