After the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade back in June, a narrative shift took place on the left and in the mainstream media.
They said this would at long last give Democrats the momentum they needed ahead of the 2022 midterm elections after months of tumbling approval ratings for President Joe Biden and successive polls showing Republicans edging out Democrats on the generic ballot and the House flipping to red.
And for a short time, it looked like they were right. Democrats bumped up some in the polls over the summer. There were Republicans who underperformed in some primaries and special elections. Out of that, the narrative that Democrats were “on the comeback trail” took root. Up until a month ago, it was a claim continually repeated by the talking heads.
Except in early September, Democrat hopes and dreams for a resurgence came crashing back down to earth as Biden’s approval ratings began sliding again. As inflation and the economy remained the top priority for most Americans, independent voters in particular were voicing their displeasure with Biden’s focus on abortion, his divisive “MAGA Republican” speech, and his unilateral decision on student loan forgiveness.
“Over the last month or so, the issue environment has kept shifting toward the Republicans,” Nate Cohn, the chief political analyst at The New York Times, observed in a late September analysis.
So with all of that in mind, one would think that Biden would try to play it smart and avoid divisive issues so close to the big day.
Except he hasn’t.
With exactly three weeks to go before Election Day, Biden gave a speech in front of the Democratic National Committee pledging to codify so-called “abortion rights” provided Democrats kept their majority in the House and padded their thin majority in the Senate.
“If we do that, here’s the promise I make to you and the American people: The first bill that I will send to the Congress will be to codify Roe v. Wade. And when Congress passes it, I’ll sign it in January, 50 years after Roe was first decided the law of the land,” Biden told attendees of the DNC event.
Why would Biden do this? No doubt to shore up his base at a time when Democrats are panicking and signaling they know it’s going to be bad.
Except abortion was already going to be *the* motivator for the Democratic faithful. The voters Biden has to worry about are independent voters and even some middle-of-the-road Democratic women voters who have sent strong indicators in recent weeks that their priorities are kitchen-table issues that impact their families, not abortion.
Biden’s decision to make abortion the centerpiece of his party’s campaign to keep the House and gain more control in the Senate is very risky and has no doubt made vulnerable Democrats like Ohio Democratic Senate nominee Tim Ryan, Nevada Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto and others in battleground parts of the country extremely nervous.
In my opinion, it’s a self-defeating strategy. But Biden seems to think it will be a winner, which goes against all available evidence in terms of polling and the general political landscape of America right now. Considering how Biden has been known to operate throughout his political career, though, his move is not exactly surprising.
The old saying about how you should never interrupt your enemies when they are in the middle of imploding comes to mind here. In other words, keep talking, Joe. Keep right on talking.
North Carolina native Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym Sister Toldjah and is a media analyst and regular contributor to RedState and Legal Insurrection.