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Seven or eight months ago, many Democratic strategists feared that the 2022 midterms would bring a massive red wave like the red waves that plagued President Bill Clinton in 1994 and President Barack Obama in 2010. But that was before the U.S. Supreme Court’s radical-right majority handed down its decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization and overturned Roe v. Wade after 49 years. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell still believes that Republicans are likely to “flip” the U.S. House of Representatives, but he considers the U.S. Senate a toss-up.
In an article published by the conservative website The Bulwark , Rich Thau (president of the research firm Engagious and a moderator for the Swing Voter Project) and Susie Pieper (an Engagious intern and student at Haverford College in the Philadelphia suburbs) examine the effect that the abortion issue could have with swing voters in the 2022 midterms. The Dobbs decision, according to Thau and Pieper, definitely helps Democrats among swing voters. But the burning question is: How much?
“An overwhelming majority of Americans oppose the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs, which overturned Roe v. Wade,” Thau and Pieper explain. “Concurrently, an overwhelming majority of Americans think abortion should be legal in at least some cases. But how will these views translate to voting behavior among swing voters? This month, as part of our Swing Voter Project, we asked focus groups of Trump-to-Biden voters across North Carolina what’s changed for them when it comes to their likely voting behavior in the wake of the Dobbs decision.”
Abortion rights, according to Thau and Pieper, are a high priority for the swing voters that the Swing Voter Project spoke to in North Carolina. But they have other priorities as well.
“Among eleven North Carolinian swing voters, nine said that Dobbs would be a top-three issue for them in the midterms, which seems significant,” Thau and Pieper report. “Except that issue matrixes are often complicated: Earlier in the same focus groups, we asked which one issue in the news concerns them the most — and only one said abortion. We have seen similar results in recent months, where abortion is a leading issue, but it competes with various others — such as inflation and gun violence — for the top concern.”
Alana, a 26-year-old swing voter from Dover, North Carolina, told researchers, “I was registered as a Republican. I still am right now, but I’ll be switching completely to Democrat. As I say, most Republicans are the reason why this happened, and I just can’t stand by and agree with something that has affected myself, my family, and friends so much. It’s just something that has upset me greatly.”
Abortion is clearly a major issue for Kayla, a 34-year-old swing voter from Mocksville, North Carolina who told researchers, “I was registered unaffiliated. I didn’t see myself as a Republican or a Democrat, but I would vote for a Republican if I thought that candidate had my views for the economy. But nah, I’m leaning left completely. And this is personal for me. So, I’m probably going to end up registering as a Democrat from here on out.”
The Swing Voter Project found that some of the swing voters were leaning towards pro-choice Democratic nominee Cheri Beasley in North Carolina’s 2022 U.S. Senate race. A Civitas/Cygnal poll released in late September found Beasley and Ted Budd, the Donald Trump-backed Republican nominee, in a virtual dead heat. However, Beasley trailed Budd by 3 percent in an Emerson College/The Hill poll released on September 20.
“We won’t know the electoral impact of Dobbs until the votes are counted,” Pieper and Pieper observe. “But this month’s focus group suggests that with swing voters, the issue salience is high and helpful to Democrats.”
Reprinted with permission from Alternet.
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Newly-minted Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson will join the court — the first Black woman to do so — today when the new court term begins. And to say it plainly: I’m ecstatic about it.
Not because I anticipate Jackson leading her Republican colleagues out of their anti-American haze. I wouldn’t dare rest the error of their ways on Jackson’s shoulders, but I am hopeful that her voice will provide much-needed support to that of associate justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. Together with retired peer Stephen Breyer, Sotomayor and Kagan were left to defend Americans’ right to abortion by themselves on the court, and their Republican peers outvoted them 6-3 on June 24. Following that decision, Associate Justice Clarence Thomas immediately claimed that other cherished federal protections should be on the chopping block next as “demonstrably erroneous decisions.”
Now, rights to protect same-sex couples, affirmative action, voting and free speech are all planned for this term. Holding on to hope is no small feat, though a necessary one, I am reminded by Jackson’s investiture ceremony on Friday.
During the ceremony in which new justices take constitutional and judicial oaths, Jackson promised to “administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich,” according to The New York Times.
Although the investiture proceedings were “purely ceremonial” and Jackson was sworn in on on June 30, Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. said Jackson's arrival will cause the other justices to “kind of up our game a little bit.”
“It’s almost like the new in-law at Thanksgiving dinner,” he said.
Roberts added that because there will be a “new person” joining them “each of us will be a little more careful in explaining why we think what we think.”
Kagan said in remarks captured on C-SPAN that the press often refers back to former Justice Byron White's quote that whenever there is a new justice “it's a different court.” She said once doubted that but now realizes it in a sense is “deeply true.”
“It wasn’t the addition of the new justice,” she said. “It was actually the fact that the old justice was no longer there.”
Jackson is filling a seat vacated when Breyer retired.
Kagan said Breyer, who served for more than 27 years, would be difficult to replace. “He believed in the power of relationships, and he believed in the power of reason,” Kagan said.
I believe in the power of a Black mother driven by a sense of duty and dedication. In the words of President Joe Biden, who attended Jackson's investiture ceremony: “Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson has already brought uncompromising integrity, a strong moral compass, and courage to the Supreme Court.”
Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson has already brought uncompromising integrity, a strong moral compass, and courage to the Supreme Court.
Today, we celebrate her formal investiture. This is a day for all Americans to be proud. pic.twitter.com/LU9MBQ3gHl
— President Biden (@POTUS) September 30, 2022
Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.
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