Just over a week after the conservative-leaning Wall Street Journal published a poll showing that abortion is “the single issue most likely to make [Americans] vote this November”—outpacing inflation, border security, gun violence, and the FBI’s raid of Mar-a-Lago in inspiring voter turnout—Republicans continue to insist that voters just don’t care that the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.
“I don’t think it’s an issue in [this election] at all,” GOP strategist Matt Gorman said on NBC’s Meet the Press Sunday morning. “I mean, talk to Republicans every day who see these internal polls. It is not in the top four of issues.”
Two women on the panel immediately fact-checked him on that assertion.
“As someone who’s been out on the campaign trail—even if you ask a voter about health care or the state of democracy, abortion comes up 90 percent of the time,” said PBS anchor Yamiche Alcindor. “I think to say it’s not an issue is very interesting to hear.”
“I hope Matt keeps saying that everywhere he goes, that abortion really isn’t an issue in this election,” former Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) chimed in. “I think it is exactly what infuriates women, when they hear that.”
Republicans, of course, know well that that the Supreme Court’s recent stripping of abortion rights—and the horrifying pregnancy nightmares that have poured out in the news, since—is wildly unpopular with voters and will potentially hurt them badly ahead of an election they had previously been expected to dominate. The Washington Post reported on Saturday that the GOP is privately panicking about the midterms, having counted on inflation as the issue that would motivate voters to the polls for them:
Donald Schneider, who served as chief economist to Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee, said that for months Republicans have believed inflation “was our big arrow in the quiver.” But now, “it’s a private concern among Republicans: ‘Are we going to lose this thing, or are we okay?’”
Early results in primaries and special elections are already serving as a warning shot to the Good Ole Party: Alaska recently elected a Democrat to Congress for the first time in half a century, and Kansas voters (who favored Trump in 2020) overwhelmingly rejected an anti-abortion ballot measure. The WSJ’s own poll found that 60% of voters now believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases—a five percent rise since March, before the SCOTUS decision. And some Republican candidates, now seeing the writing on the wall, have taken to simply lying to voters about their positions on abortion.
Republicans have openly fought for years to end reproductive rights in America. They got what they wanted, and it’s now backfiring on them spectacularly. The party can try as hard as it wants to pretend now that abortion is not an important issue to them or to voters, but Americans are simply tired of being gaslighted.