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Tipsheet

From the Comfort of the White House Basement, Biden Seeks to Ruin the GOP on This Issue in 2024

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

Joe Biden might not have the best political acumen, but he will have good people around him to run his re-election campaign. Their politics may be horrific, but the Democratic Party has some of the best political operatives in the business—they know how to win. They see a massive crease in the GOP line: abortion. Our side is either too extreme on some pieces of legislation or outright scared to engage, knowing the fallout that usually happens when some Republican trips over the tongue on the issue. For Democrats, Biden may be old, out of his depth, and slow, but he’s not one to have diarrhea of the mouth on abortion, whereas the GOP is susceptible to such trip-ups. That’s not to say that Biden doesn’t trip over himself on various public speaking events, but on this issue that has ginned up the Democratic base—that’s not the case. And he will be pushing abortion hard on the 2024 campaign trail from the comfort of his basement, coaxing the GOP into a national discussion (via Real Clear Politics):

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Reporters spotted Julie Chavez Rodriguez, the newly announced campaign manager, watching from the crowd. Her number two: Quentin Fulks, an alum of Sen. Raphael Warnock’s 2022 successful reelection and also the pro-abortion group Emily’s List. 

Biden and his team are confident they have the right personnel and policy in place to win the abortion argument in a general election, regardless of who Republicans nominate, according to a senior Democratic aide familiar with the campaign’s plans but who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss details on the record. 

“They all have this political anvil tied around their waist, and we can talk credibly about the issue and how extreme Republicans are no matter who their nominee is, even if that’s not Trump,” the aide told RCP in reference to the GOP field led by the former president. 

[…] 

Democrats have rallied around abortion rights since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last summer, and Biden had promised before the midterms that he would codify Roe into federal law if voters delivered him a super majority in the Senate, a hope that did not develop. Though buoyed politically by the controversy as more and more states pass legislation limiting abortion, the White House has not said if the president favors any national restrictions at all. That debate now consumes Republicans. 

Trump earned a strong rebuke from the anti-abortion lobby earlier this month when he said that the “issue should be decided at the state level.” 

Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of SBA Pro-Life America, promised her group would oppose any candidate “who refuses to embrace at a minimum a 15-week national standard to stop painful late-term abortions while allowing states to enact further protections.” 

Some Republicans, like Mike Pence, who is mulling his own White House bid, have already expressed a willingness to meet that standard. The former vice president told RCP in an interview last September that he supports a 15-week ban. Others, like former U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley, told RCP earlier this month that debating what week to ban abortion is “a no win.” 

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Since the Dobbs decision, the pro-life segment has tried to blitz state legislatures by passing bills that virtually ban abortion. In principle, I agree, as most Republicans do, but there are political realities on the ground that need to be accounted for, the first being that there will be no national abortion ban. 

Is it possible to pass a law doing that? Sure—but why aren’t pro-life groups coalescing around a federal push for a nationwide ban with the same gusto displayed when conservatives tried to repeal Obamacare? It’s suicide, that’s why. 

It’s the same reason pro-infanticide groups aren’t pushing for a bill that guarantees a right to an abortion; years of late-term abortion extremism have killed that effort. The way is clear for both sides to pass legislation matching their objectives. The late Justice Antonin Scalia, while a staunch pro-lifer, was clear that the Constitution has no explicit language on this subject, including text that points to prohibiting it. Therefore, if you want a right to an abortion, or an outright ban, pass a damn law. 

The GOP’s pervasive inability to message correctly on this subject has been an issue for years, and it might have cost us some opportunities in 2022. The issue is fraught with nuance; it’s not black and white. Kansas voters rejecting a right-to-life amendment to their state constitution might have been a warning, though one that isn’t a liberal victory. Yes, 58 percent voted against it, which means many Republicans voted in the ‘nay’ column. Still, Kansas also bans all funding, has a 21-week ban, and parental consent laws—all things that are anathema to pro-choice America. 

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It's a messy debate, and it will probably get worse before it gets better, but one side must win. I want to say it’s a toss-up, but Democrats appear to be the ones gaining ground.

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