By National Right to Life Political Department
Pro-abortion Democrats and their allies in the mainstream media are pushing a narrative that they are winning the fight over abortion in the Post-Dobbs Era. This is no accident. It is intended to energize their base and demoralize pro-life advocates. They want us to become disengaged, lose sight of our goals, and ultimately throw in the towel.
With the lives of unborn babies and their mothers hanging in the balance, we know those are not options. We cannot succumb to pessimism or forget that the work that we do truly saves lives. One of the key areas that we must remain clear-eyed and engaged is politics. The impact of elections cannot be overstated. We are almost exactly one year away from Election Day 2024. Here are some of causes for optimism heading into 2024:
Winning the White House
Pro-abortion President Joe Biden and his administration continue to be plagued by low approval numbers. According to Gallup, “President Joe Biden’s job approval rating among Democrats has tumbled 11 percentage points in the past month to 75%, the worst reading of his presidency from his own party. This drop has pushed his overall approval rating down four points to 37%, matching his personal low. At the same time, Biden’s approval among independents has declined four points, to 35%.”
In facing persistent questions about the octogenarian president’s health and mental acuity, the campaign must also find a way to manage the subsequent scrutiny those questions bring to Vice President Kamala Harris, who is historically unpopular. An acknowledgement of the drag on the ticket that Harris continues to be, pro-abortion mega-fundraiser EMILY’s List has pledged to spend tens of millions of dollars to improve Harris’s image.
Harris’s cross-country tour of college campuses this fall, branded as the “Fight for Our Freedoms” tour, does not appear to have the moved the needle. Young people continue to give the administration low marks. On the tour, Harris touted the administration’s commitment to unlimited abortion.
Underscoring the weakness of the Biden-Harris ticket heading into 2024, a new Democratic primary challenger has entered the fray– pro-abortion Congressman Dean Phillips of Minnesota. Phillips told media outlets that his last-minute candidacy was necessary in order to avoid a Democratic defeat in the general election. His campaign hopes to tap into dissatisfaction among rank-and-file Democrats with the prospect of Biden as their 2024 nominee.
Some Democratic voters, including some supporters of Biden, remain frustrated that their party has refused to allow any primary debates. Some have also voiced criticism of the Democratic National Committee (DNC)’s changes to the primary schedule, which they argue amounts to rigging the nomination process in Biden’s favor.
Among the changes, South Carolina was granted the first-in-the-nation slot traditionally reserved for New Hampshire. (South Carolina was the first state Biden won in 2020 following embarrassing showings in Iowa and New Hampshire.) In defiance of the DNC but in keeping with actual state law, New Hampshire still plans to hold its primary first. The Biden campaign plans to forfeit the contest. Without Biden on the ballot in New Hampshire, the winner of the first state primary will likely be Phillips or author Marianne Williamson, Biden’s other chief primary rival. Even though no delegates will be awarded,
An October CNBC poll found former President Donald Trump leading Biden nationally in a hypothetical head-to-head matchup by four percentage points. While those are encouraging numbers, what really matters in presidential elections is what happens in individual states.
Biden has failed to build upon his narrow wins in key battleground states. An Emerson Poll found former President Donald Trump leading Biden by 9 percentage points in Pennsylvania, the state where Biden was born and which helped determine the victor in the 2016 and 2020 elections. The Emerson Poll is an outlier, but other recent polls of Pennsylvania voters reveal a statistical dead-heat between Trump and Biden.
A Susquehanna poll found Trump leading Biden 47 percent to 45 percent. A Bloomberg/Morning Consult poll also showed Trump narrowly ahead of Biden 46 percent to 45 percent. Conversely, a Franklin and Marshall poll found Biden leading Trump 46 percent to 44 percent. The results of all three polls are within the margins of error.
The Bloomberg/Morning Consult polling also found Trump and Biden statistically tied in Michigan, Nevada, and Wisconsin. However, it showed Trump leading Biden in Arizona (47% to 43%), Georgia (48%-43%), and North Carolina (47%-43%).
In addition to primary challengers, the Biden campaign will have to contend with the candidacy of Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., who dropped out of the Democratic Primary to instead run as an Independent. Kennedy, a lifelong Democrat, shares many of Biden’s views including on the issue of abortion. He endorses a policy of unlimited abortion for any reason, and he supports using taxpayer dollars to fund abortions.
A Harvard-Harris poll taken in October that included Biden, Trump, Kennedy, and Cornel West, a pro-abortion progressive also running as an Independent, showed Kennedy eating into support for both Trump and Biden but winning more support from voters that would otherwise go to Biden versus those who would otherwise vote for Trump. The poll found Trump leading with 41 percent, followed by Biden with 34 percent, Kennedy earning 21 percent, and West getting 3 percent.
Retaking the U.S. Senate
Republicans are looking at one of the most favorable Senate maps they have seen in a while. There are three Democratic incumbents up for re-election in states that Trump won in 2020; Jon Tester in Montana, Sherrod Brown in Ohio, and Joe Manchin in West Virginia. Jacky Rosen in Nevada, Bob Casey, Jr. in Pennsylvania, and Tammy Baldwin in Wisconsin are three other incumbent up for re-election in battleground states.
There could be a three-way race in Arizona between pro-abortion incumbent Kyrsten Sinema, an Independent who has not officially announced if she will seek re-election, the Democratic nominee (who will most likely be pro-abortion Congressman Ruben Gallego), and the Republican nominee.
In New Jersey, pro-abortion Senator Bob Menendez is also up for re-election. Menendez, the first sitting senator in U.S. history to be indicted on two unrelated criminal allegations, according to data compiled by the Senate Historical Office, is facing a major primary challenge from pro-abortion Congressman Andy Kim.
Despite the strong blue lean of New Jersey, if Menendez wins the Democratic nomination for another term, it could hand Republicans a golden opportunity to flip the seat.
With the retirement of pro-abortion Senator Debbie Stabenow (D), there is an open seat up for grabs in Michigan, another key battleground state.
While Democrats have the difficult task of defending so many incumbents, they also lack real opportunities to flip Republican seats. The most promising prospects for Democrats are Florida and Texas, although the races in those states appear to be only marginally competitive at this point. Both Republican incumbents Rick Scott in Florida and Ted Cruz in Texas lead in hypothetical polling matchups against Democratic opponents. The Cook Political Report ranks both races as Likely Republican.
Holding the U.S. House
Currently, Republicans hold a narrow majority in the U.S. House. However, there are more than three dozen pickup opportunities for Republicans heading into the 2024 elections. According to the Cook Political Report, 21 seats currently held by Democrats fall into the Tossup or Leans Democrat columns. Another 17 seats are rated Likely Democrat. A race in any of these categories could be within striking range for a strong Republican candidate. Cook also lists 3 seats currently held by Democrats as Likely Republican.
Morale is high among House Republicans following the selection of pro-life champion Mike Johnson as the new Speaker of the House. Republican donors also appear to be energized by the new speaker.
According to a report from The Hill, “The House GOP campaign arm reported its best online fundraising day in 18 months Friday, providing a glimpse into Speaker Mike Johnson’s potential to carry on the fundraising torch passed down by his predecessor, Rep. Kevin McCarthy. The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), the political committee helping elect more Republicans in the House, pulled in $175,000, the group’s best online fundraising day since February 2022.” The total in the following days came to more than $475,000.
By this time next year, it will be all-hands-on-deck! As we look ahead to the 2024 elections, the pro-life movement has some golden opportunities to elect leaders who will work to protect unborn babies and their mothers from unlimited abortion.
But we cannot turn these prospects into victories without each one of us doing our part. Please get involved with a National Right to Life state affiliate or a local chapter in your area. Make sure your pro-life friends and family are registered to vote. Stay informed about the races happening in your state or district. Share pro-life content on social media.
Most importantly, do not lose sight of what’s at stake: vulnerable human lives who are depending on us to defend them!