Voters have delivered yet another resounding blow to the Republican myth that Americans want less bodily autonomy and individual freedom is what the people actually want. Tuesday’s elections saw the passage of a pro-choice ballot measure in Ohio, the failure of GOP efforts to oust Kentucky’s Democratic Governor Andy Beshear, and an overall lackluster performance by Republicans that shows the party has some work to do before 2024.
As race results poured in, it became abundantly clear that the destruction of abortion rights continues to be a key driver of electoral backlash against the GOP, and the dedicated spin artists across right-wing media found themselves stumbling over how to explain how little progress the party had made since 2022’s disastrous midterm blunders.
“We continue the losing streak in the pro-life movement,” former Trump press secretary told viewers on Fox News. “Every ballot initiative has been lost, post-Dobbs, for the pro-life movement. As a party … we must not just be a pro-baby party — that’s a great thing — we must be a pro-mother party … because the results of next year’s election could be determined by that. ”
Mark Levin, host of Fox’s Life, Liberty & Levin, wrote that Democrats taking control of the Virginia Senate should be blamed on “immigrants and federal bureaucrats [that] have flooded into Northern Virginia.”
Levin then argued that in Kentucky, Republican Daniel Cameron failed to oust incumbent Governor Andy Beshear not because he had been endorsed by former President Trump, but because he was “a Mitch McConnell protege … who was not a forceful advocate of conservative principles and Biden’s failures.”
“This should be a lesson for Republicans, i.e., RINOs have no winnable message,” Levin added.
On Newsmax, former Republican Senator Rick Santorum blamed his party’s poor showing on the fact that “sexy” issues “like abortion and marijuana” were on the ballot. Santorum then said the quiet part of the GOP’s electoral worldview out loud. “I thank goodness that most of the states in this country don’t allow you to put everything on the ballot because pure democracies are not the way to run a country,” he told his fellow panelists.
Newsmax host Rob Schmitt stated that “it does seem like the Republican party generally has a real problem with winning.” Schmitt pointed to the failures of the 2022 midterms and wondered if the party has “the right people in place” managing the party’s messaging and running the Republican National Committee.
GOP lawmakers attempted to downplay their losses while blaming each other for their losing streak.
Jim Jordan told CNN that he was not concerned about the impact abortion rights would have in 2024, and instead felt that things like crime and immigration would be the defining issues of next year’s election. Several other Republicans echoed this sentiment to CNN.
South Carolina Congresswoman Nancy Mace had a different read on the situation, writing on X that Republicans “can’t save lives, if we can’t win elections.” Mace encouraged the pro-life movement to expand its messaging on “promoting expanded access to contraception including over the counter.”
On the other hand, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) felt that the GOP’s failures on abortion policy were the result of soft rhetoric and policies that skirted graphic scare tactics to motivate voters. “Republicans refuse to fight hard against the evil lies of the democrats who claim ‘abortion is women’s healthcare and a right,’” she wrote on X, adding that “producing ads that graphically show the truth of an abortion as a baby is being ripped apart or dies lying on a cold metal trey gasping for air after being ripped out of its mother’s womb is the truth America needs to see.”
Yet Trump himself has waffled on whether or not to continue leaning into his record as the president who overturned Roe v. Wade. While his narcissistic impulses push him to take credit for the end of reproductive freedom in the United States, Rolling Stone has reported that he has privately fretted that the GOP’s “extremist” views on abortion have resulted in the party “getting killed” at the ballot box.