One of the most persistent pundit’s fallacies out there is that the Democratic support for abortion is a political liability that they need to back away from, even thought Roe was supported by 2-to-1 majorities from the day it was decided:
Just from a messaging (ugh) standpoint “Back to Roe” is the easiest and best message and complicating it with a convoluted triangulation message that people need 5 minutes to parse and will make everyone mad is incredibly dumb.— vocational politics appreciation account (@Convolutedname) September 27, 2023
There are surely issues that Democrats could use better messaging on, and in some cases that might involve more moderate messaging. I am going to suggest that the issue that is directly responsible for 15 months of Republican underperformance is not one of them. Biden knows what he’s doing here:
I guess I can’t prove to an absolute certainty that muddying the waters by talking about how abortion is icky, or using the phrase “religious ontology” like a communications student in a grad seminar in 1999 would have caused the Democrats to over-perform even more, but I certainly know how I’m betting.
Abortion centrists are particularly obsessed with superficial readings of polls that show more support for (completely arbitrary) bans on second-trimester abortions. Conveniently, Lindsay Graham tried that as a basis for national messaging in 2022. The results speak for themselves. Whatever people might tell pollsters in isolation, talking about banning abortion is bad for Republicans and good for Democrats, and that’s especially true after Dobbs made abortion bans a real threat rather than a hypothetical. And ordinary voters seem to understand better than some pundits hat 15 week abortion bans are always an interim Trojan horse.
The Democratic message on abortion is working in Kentucky in Kansas! It’s fine! This is one Clinton-era nostalgia tour we really don’t need.