Supreme Court abortion decision won’t save Dems, Biden in midterm elections: Here are 5 reasons why

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The conventional wisdom declared that recent rulings from the Supreme Court provided a boost to the sagging political fortunes of the Democratic Party. “The Fall of Roe May Save Democrats in the Midterms, at Least in the Suburbs” declared one headline from Time Magazine, “Democrats bet on Roe’s ballot power” read another from Axios. 

True, the topic provided a conversation changer from $5 gasoline and soaring inflation. But don’t be so sure these trends will hold until November. Here are five reasons why. 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, President Biden and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer

One, the decision is the latest reminder of President Joe Biden’s status as a relic of the past. Five decades ago, a 30-year-old newly-elected senator from Delaware declared the Supreme Court went “too far” on abortion. A half century later, as the soon-to-be 80-year-old head of the Democratic Party, the same man is spitting mad. 


But words are not enough for some ostensibly in Biden’s camp. Progressives such as U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., demanded, “more specific actions rolled out … We all knew this was coming.”  

Jayapal is right. The court’s decision was telegraphed nearly two months ago via the unprecedented leak of the draft decision. Yet it took the president almost a week to call for blowing up the filibuster to enshrine abortion rights into law, earning a rare nod of approval from U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., in the process. (Never mind that Senate Democrats’ decision to go around filibuster rules a decade ago paved the way for Republicans to confirm the conservative majority on the Supreme Court – that is a topic for a different column.) 

Which gets to the second reason: the left’s most extreme voices are taking center stage – and so are their ideas. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren declared the court had “lost legitimacy” and proposed abortion tents at national parks. The aforementioned AOC suggested impeaching the justices. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot yelled “F— Clarence Thomas.” Even the former (and future?) Democratic standard-bearer, Hillary Clinton, jumped in, announcing, “women are going to die.” 

Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks at the Museum of Modern Art on May 24, 2022, in New York City.

Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks at the Museum of Modern Art on May 24, 2022, in New York City.
(Cindy Ord/Getty Images)

So much for Biden’s call in his Inaugural address to “lower the temperature.” 

Third, the Biden presidency is on the brink of unraveling. His approval rating hit a new low of 38%, according to Real Clear Politics. At this point in their respective terms, President Barack Obama’s approval stood at 46% while President Donald Trump was at 42% – and their party received shellackings in the first midterms. Biden’s legislative agenda is hopelessly stalled. Instead, his White House is already focused on the onslaught of congressional probes in the likely event of a GOP Congress. 

Worst of all, the quiet whispers about Biden’s ability to run for re-election have snowballed into an open conversation among leading Democrats. Both Clinton and Ocasio-Cortez are facing questions about their 2024 plans. Vice President Kamala Harris’ statement that Biden “is running for re-election, and I will be his ticket mate” did little to silence the doubters. 

Kamala Harris walks out of the vice president's residence at the Naval Observatory in Washington on July 20, 2021.

Kamala Harris walks out of the vice president’s residence at the Naval Observatory in Washington on July 20, 2021.
(Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

The speculation has left Team Biden understandably “irked,” according to the New York Times. After all, he was elected with the most votes ever less than two years ago. 


It’s been all been downhill since, for both Biden and the country, which brings us to the fourth reason.  

Heading into Independence Day, America is in a rut. An Associated Press survey showed 85% of adults believe the country is headed in the wrong direction, and it’s easy to see why. Anyone planning to travel for the holiday weekend faces a choice between widespread flight delays and cancellations, soaring prices and shortages of rental cars, and the highest gas prices in our nation’s history – prices that American consumers will face “as long as it takes,” according to Biden. Even the average cost for a cookout is up 17% from last year. 

President Joe Biden speaks about inflation and the economy from the White House campus on May 10, 2022.

President Joe Biden speaks about inflation and the economy from the White House campus on May 10, 2022.
(Drew Angerer/Getty Images)


The fifth and final factor: the Biden presidency has not been a boon to the economy (or frankly much of anything), but it has been a shot in the arm for GOP voter registration numbers. New data from the Associated Press showed more than one million voters across 43 states have switched to the Republican Party. The American public is voting with their feet, and well before election season. The Democrats are handing back all the gains they made during the Trump years. 

The Supreme Court is now in recess until October, and the dust will start to settle from the recent spate of rulings. When it does, the Democratic Party will be heading into a daunting midterm landscape led by a president who has lost more than a few miles per hour off his fastball. The die has been cast, and now the party in charge has little left to do but brace for impact.


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