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Republicans are using a number of strategies to help motivate the base to turnout at the polls for the November midterms. A slew of anti-trans bills introduced in recent months is an indicator of how abrupt – and effective – those strategies can be.
Some research shows that anti-trans bills, such as those proposed in over 10 Republican-leaning states to ban transgender women from competing on women’s sports teams, are working to pull-in Republicans’ less racially diverse, older base. Proponents of the bills argue trans women are gaining an unfair advantage in women’s sports and that young children are learning about transgender people too soon.
Former President Donald Trump, who is still a big draw for GOP candidates running during the midterm cycle, also has expressed support for anti-trans bills. During an April 23 rally in Ohio, Trump mocked trans athletes and said that “no teacher should ever be allowed to teach transgender – transgender – to our children without parental consent … Isn’t it amazing how that’s become such a big subject?”
Meanwhile, opponents argue the proposed bills are not based on facts.
“It’s not about science. It’s not about facts. It’s not about what’s right. It is short-term gain. Let’s scapegoat somebody because we don’t have anything else to talk about,” Annise Parker, president and CEO of LGBTQ Victory Fund, said.
Trump helps J.D. Vance win in big Ohio primary
Author and Republican U.S. Senate candidate J.D. Vance won the GOP nomination in Ohio Tuesday with a little more than 32% of the vote. Once behind in the polls, Vance moved ahead of the competition after Trump endorsed him on April 15, showing the former president is still a political force to be reckoned with in the Republican party.
Still, a nod from Trump is far from a sure thing for Republican hopefuls. Election expert Henry Olsen of the Washington-based Ethics and Public Policy Center estimated the value of Trump’s endorsement at 10 to 15 percentage points, more than enough to lift Vance over a crowded field of like-minded Republicans.
“Trump’s endorsement is important but not always decisive,” Olsen said.
Gunner Ramer, political director for an anti-Trump organization called the Republican Accountability Project, said there is still “an anti-Trump contingent in the Republican Party.”
“However, it’s not a majority of Republican voters. It’s about a fifth – and that is what (Vance competitor) Matt Dolan pulled in tonight,” Ramer said.
Upcoming Republican primaries in key battleground states like Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Georgia will further test the strength of Trump’s backing.
Vance, who once referred to himself as a “never-Trumper,” changed his tune upon deciding to run for office. The former president responded by overlooking Vance’s past comments and throwing his support behind the “Hillbilly Elegy” author.
Trump is “100% responsible for Vance winning,” said Mike Hartley, an Ohio-based GOP political consultant who was not involved in the race.
More on the Ohio primaries: Incumbent U.S. Rep. Shontel Brown triumphed over progressive candidate Nina Turner to win the Democratic nomination for Ohio’s 11th district, and Democrat Nan Whaley may be on her way to becoming the state’s first female governor.
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Real quick: stories you’ll want to read
- Gov. Hochul finds Lt. Gov. replacement: Gov. Kathy Hochul picked Rep. Antonio Delgado as her new lieutenant governor Tuesday after weeks of navigating the untimely arrest and resignation of her previous second-in-command.
- Jan. 6 committee calls on GOP Reps: The House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol attack called Republican Reps. Andy Biggs, Mo Brooks and Ronny Jackson to testify.
- What does the 14th amendment have to do with Roe? After the leak of the SCOTUS draft opinion, many people are revisiting the provisions in the Constitution the court relied upon handing down the 1973 ruling, including the 14th Amendment.
- Asian American political icon passes away: Norman Mineta, who broke racial barriers for Asian Americans serving in high-profile government posts, died Tuesday. He was 90.
Could Roe fire up Democrats in the way Joe Biden hasn’t?
At a time when President Joe Biden’s approval rating has been underwater for months, the leaked opinion and possible overturning of Roe v. Wade by the Supreme Court could energize Democratic voters in a way the president has so far been unable to do and give Democrats a better shot at maintaining control of Congress, some experts say.
But interviews with anti-abortion advocates indicate their supporters would be energized, too.
“I think the wholesale reversal of Roe is a wild card,” said David Axelrod, a top Democratic consultant and former senior adviser and chief strategist for President Barack Obama. “Democrats are facing ferocious headwinds this fall. But if the court follows through on this, the backlash could provide some counterweight – particularly if it brings more pro-choice women and younger voters to the polls.”
Republicans are eager to win control of both chambers of Congress, which would stifle Biden’s legislative agenda and open the door to a litany of congressional investigations of his administration.
Enthusiasm among younger voters has been lagging, he said, but a CNN poll in January found 58% of Democrats under 45 years old would be “angry” if the court overturns Roe v. Wade, compared with 35% overall. “If that anger results in higher turnout, it could make a difference in some closely contested elections,” said Axelrod.
Anti-abortion groups aren’t slowing down: National anti-abortion advocacy groups, local organizations and independent activists say the bombshell leak may reinvigorate ongoing state-level legislation campaigns and allow activists to pivot the abortion battle to several new fronts.
“Our focus remains the same, but our strategy must somewhat shift,” said anti-abortion activist Abby Johnson. “We will continue to fight to make abortion illegal in every state across this country.”
May the Fourth be with you! Here are six ways to celebrate Star Wars day. — Amy and Chelsey