GOP stands to gain in midterms from Democrats’ insistent abortion messaging, silence on economy
On the campaign trail, Democrats have seized every opportunity to bring up or respond to the issue of abortion, from the presidential debate to every other debate and town hall. With the GOP facing a tough Midwestern primary, they are also looking to exploit and polarize the issue of climate change, which has become a wedge issue in the race.
While Democrats have turned the issue into an important one, they are still struggling to find a message that is not too controversial and that can work in states where the Republican candidate is well-known.
“The abortion message seems to be resonating all over the country, and I think that they would be best served trying to use it as a wedge or a distraction between themselves and the conservative message, particularly in the Midwest where they have to win a lot of those states,” said Josh Putnam, a former advisor to President Obama who now runs the G.O.P. data analytics firm Empirical Data LLC.
“The economy-is-the-reason message that they have been able to dominate for a year and a half now, I do not think they have a lot of advantages in that area.”
On Friday, the Senate’s Democratic campaign arm, Priorities USA action, announced spending of $250,000 to air commercials on broadcast networks to promote the issue of abortion for the November 3 run-off. The network airings, which the Priorities action group declined to disclose, would be “a major test” for the group, said the Priorities USA’s executive director, Jason Kander. One spot from the Priorities action group — “The economy isn’t the reason abortion is good” — says “Abortion rights are human rights” and will run on Fox News and broadcast networks. On NBC and MSNBC, airings of “The economy is the reason abortion is good” will air twice, but it is unclear when.
“They are using the issue because it resonates, it’s humanized them, and it can be made to hurt them,” said Kander.
Democrats point to Senate candidate Joe Donnelly, a former Republican congressman from Indiana who leads the polls in the race for the seat being