The Democrats have done well in a number of midterm elections in the US, despite the low popularity of President Joe Biden. Once again, the right to abortion proved to be an important asset.
In the state of Ohio, almost 57 percent of voters voted in favor of guaranteeing the right to abortion. In Virginia, Democrats won the majority in the House of Representatives after a campaign in which abortion was an important issue.
The House elections in Virginia always fall one year before the national elections for Congress and president. In addition to polls, they are therefore an important concrete indication of the mood among voters.
These polls are worrying for Democrats. Voters blame Democratic President Joe Biden for the American economy, which in their view is underperforming. And even most Democrats believe the president should not want to start a second term at 82.
That seems to give Biden’s presumptive Republican challenger, ex-President Donald Trump, good chances of defeating him in November 2024. Biden has so far no significant opposition in the Democratic primaries.
Tuesday showed once again how the Democrats can get voters on their side: the right to abortion. Since the Supreme Court abolished the national right to abortion in 2022, states can decide for themselves whether abortion is allowed and after how many weeks it becomes punishable. In many states where Republicans are comfortably in power, the intervention was promptly banned. Sometimes completely, sometimes with a few exceptions, such as rape or incest, sometimes after a limited number of weeks, for example six.
But Republicans have since been surprised by referendum results on the subject in a number of states, including Kansas and Kentucky. On Tuesday, Ohio joined that ranks.
In their search for an abortion rule that could gain broader support, many Republican politicians have settled on a 15-week limit. The governor of Virginia, Glen Youngkin, among others, advocated this. But after a campaign in which the issue received widespread attention, Democrats won the majority in the state’s House of Representatives. They already had it in the Senate, and they kept it.
That result is a blow to Governor Youngkin’s presidential aspirations for next year. He seemed to want to enter the battle for the Republican nomination. A handful of challengers have so far failed to make a dent in Donald Trump’s lead. With a victory in Virginia and a not too extreme ban on abortion, Youngkin would have hoped to convince Republican voters that he has a better chance of defeating Joe Biden in November 2024.
Democrats could also rejoice in the re-election of Governor Andy Beshear in the usually conservative-voting state of Kentucky.
Beshear had created distance from President Joe Biden, who was completely unpopular in his state, with critical statements. After his re-election, he specifically thanked Hadley Duvall, a 21-year-old woman who had told in a campaign spot how she had been abused by her stepfather when she was 12 years old, after which she suffered a miscarriage. Beshear’s Republican opponent did not want to allow an exception to an abortion ban for girls who become pregnant in such a case.
But the Democrats failed to win the governor’s post in the equally conservative state of Mississippi. Governor Tate Reeves was re-elected there. Democratic candidate Brandon Presley, a second cousin of Elvis, came quite close with 47 percent. He was just as strongly against the right to abortion as his Republican opponent.