Abortion ruling upends midterm season with unequal anger: The Note

Leading Democrats have already broadened the stakes beyond abortion.

May 04, 2022, 6:00 AM

The TAKE with Rick Klein

Everybody, it seems, is newly angry. But where the anger is directed at this moment is telling -- and highlights how differently and delicately the issue is being handled.

The Supreme Court leak that rocked the political landscape has Republicans mostly angry at the leak itself. Conservatives and former President Donald Trump are within reach of a goal sought for decades -- but there's little celebration at the moment.

For Democrats, losing Roe v. Wade is cause for anger about losing a constitutional right to abortion and potentially much more. Leading Democrats have already broadened the stakes beyond abortion to an argument about "freedom."

PHOTO: Activists demonstrate in front of the U.S. Supreme Court Building in response to the leaked Supreme Court draft decision to overturn Roe v. Wade in Washington,  May 03, 2022.
Activists demonstrate in front of the U.S. Supreme Court Building in response to the leaked Supreme Court draft decision to overturn Roe v. Wade in Washington, May 03, 2022.
Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

"It has never been more clear which party wants to expand our rights and which party wants to restrict them," Vice President Kamala Harris said Tuesday night in a speech at an EMILY's List event.

The news lands uneasily on top of primary season. The first major voting of the year, in Ohio and Indiana on Tuesday, delivered unmistakable evidence of Trump's influence in the GOP, and also of the limits to the appeal of Democrats' progressive wing.

That may seem like a continuation of trends that are baked into political expectations. But ending Roe in the midst of it will animate action at virtually every level of government -- inside states that will scramble to shore up or dismantle abortion rights, and at the federal level, where Democrats will pursue efforts to preserve the status quo.

Anger, as any political organizer knows, is a powerful force. But it's also a notoriously dangerous one to corral -- something party leaders are internalizing in an uncertain moment.

The RUNDOWN with Averi Harper

In Ohio, a state where progressives have struggled to gain footing, primary night offered more losses.

In Ohio's 11th Congressional District, Rep. Shontel Brown, who succeeded Housing and Human Services Secretary Marcia Fudge in a special election last year, was easily projected the winner over Nina Turner, an unapologetic progressive with ties to Sen. Bernie Sanders. Tuesday's primary marked the second time Turner has lost to Brown.

"What's my message to the progressive movement tonight? We gon' be alright," said Turner via Twitter, accompanied by a video of her singing to a crowd of supporters.

PHOTO: Nina Turner speaking with supporters near the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections before casting her vote in Cleveland, July 7, 2021.
Nina Turner speaking with supporters near the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections before casting her vote in Cleveland, July 7, 2021.
Phil Long/AP, FILE

In an unusual move, President Joe Biden weighed in, endorsing Brown's primary bid. Turner was also subjected to a slew of attack ads on Ohio airwaves.

In the Democrats' Ohio Senate primary in the Buckeye state, progressive Morgan Harper was pummeled by Rep. Tim Ryan, marking Harper's second loss in a bid for elected office. Harper lost her 2020 attempt to challenge Rep. Joyce Beatty.

"This isn't the outcome we hoped for, but I look forward to helping to flip Ohio blue this November," Harper tweeted.

Still, regardless of wins by more moderate candidates, Democrats for the most part will have an uphill battle come November, especially in statewide races.

The TIP with Alisa Wiersema

In a state that by all accounts seems to lean overwhelmingly in favor of Republicans, the primary elections that unfolded around Cleveland, Ohio, and its surrounding suburbs on Tuesday night revealed an area that is ripe for voter diversity. Despite ongoing redistricting litigation, the geographic convergence of Ohio's 7th, 11th, and 13th congressional districts created a potential microcosm of the national political landscape.

According to analysis by FiveThirtyEight, Ohio's redistricted 7th Congressional District has a +14 Republican partisan lean, which is five points lower than what it was under the previous map's configuration. Despite the new district now trending less red, former President Donald Trump's presence still looms large in the area that previously held Rep. Anthony Gonzalez's seat. Last year, Gonzalez announced he would not seek reelection after having voted in favor of Trump's impeachment. On Tuesday, Trump's former aide, Max Miller, secured a primary win armed with his former boss' backing.

PHOTO: Republican congressional candidate Max Miller speaks at a rally in Delaware, Ohio, April 23, 2022.
Republican congressional candidate Max Miller speaks at a rally in Delaware, Ohio, April 23, 2022.
Joe Maiorana/AP

Closer to Cleveland, Democrats saw a rematch between Rep. Shontel Brown and Nina Turner in Ohio's 11th deeply blue district that closely mirrors ongoing intraparty divisions between the moderate and progressive wings of the party. In parallel to this week's primary, the divisions between Democrats have been percolating for several campaign cycles. Despite Brown's win, it remains to be seen if progressives can make inroads elsewhere.

Rep. Tim Ryan's redistricted 13th Congressional District is one of Ohio's two political tossup areas. While Democrat and former Ohio House Minority Leader Emilia Sykes won an uncontested primary, across the aisle it was Trump-backed Madison Gesiotto Gilbert who won the crowded Republican primary. The pair is now set for what is likely to be a tough general election in a district that has a close +2 partisan lean in favor of Republicans.

NUMBER OF THE DAY, powered by FiveThirtyEight

536. That's the number of abortion restrictions that were introduced between Jan. 1 and April 14 this year, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a nonprofit research group that supports abortion rights. In other words, even though we now know that the Supreme Court is seriously considering overturning Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that established the constitutional right to abortion, the reality is that many state legislators haven't been waiting for the justices' final word. As FiveThirtyEight's Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux writes, for several months now, lawmakers have been acting as though the constitutional right to abortion is already gone.

THE PLAYLIST

ABC News' "Start Here" Podcast. Start Here begins Wednesday morning with Jackson Women's Health Director Shannon Brewer on the perspective of Roe v. Wade from Mississippi's only abortion clinic. Then, ABC's Terry Moran details the fallout of the leaked draft Supreme Court opinion on abortion. And, ABC's Ian Pannell reports on the conditions in Kharkiv, Ukraine's second-largest city. http://apple.co/2HPocUL

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