Op-Ed: Abortion Shaped Local Elections, But Will it Matter in the 2024 Presidential Election? 

JuliaDorian / shutterstock.com
JuliaDorian / shutterstock.com

Excited Democrats think that their slate of wins earlier this month means that the abortion issue is the way they will sail to victory in 2024. 

But they are seriously misinterpreting the importance of abortion as a national concern. 

A president alone cannot outlaw abortion in the United States. While a president can influence abortion policy indirectly by appointing Supreme Court justices who align with their views and by supporting or vetoing legislation related to abortion, the president does not have the unilateral authority to outlaw abortion. Any meaningful change to abortion laws outside of SCOTUS would involve the cooperation of multiple branches of government.  

It’s only natural that pro-choice supporters in states with abortion bans would vote for liberal representatives. After all, Dobbs v. Jackson removed the procedure from the blanket immunity of the federal government and returned abortion decisions to the states. Despite the fearmongering on the left, women aren’t dying in back-alley abortion centers, and women find other solutions in states that ban abortions. Frequently, it’s as simple as driving across state lines.  

This ruling opened the door for states across the country to impose severe restrictions or outright bans on abortion. According to the Center for Reproductive Rights, approximately half of the U.S. states (26 out of 50) have already taken measures to restrict or prohibit abortion. Some states already have “trigger bans” designed to automatically ban abortion if Roe is overturned, while others have pre-Roe laws that were previously unenforceable but may be revived. Additionally, some state legislatures are actively considering and implementing new bans and restrictions on abortion. 

Many states have enacted abortion reform in some fashion or another, from outright bans to term limits and other common-sense considerations. This is something voters can change at the state level by voting for pro-abortion representatives and voting for pro-choice legislation. It’s what drove some Democrat candidates across the finish line in states like Ohio. 

But abortion rights pale in comparison to the real plight of Americans under President Joe Biden. A president running on a campaign of abortion is using a flawed strategy that cheapens the real-life experience of voters in Biden’s America. 

A vote for Biden may be a back-door way to more progressive judges in SCOTUS, but Americans fought the abortion battle in the voting booths of their local elections. Roe v Wade was a flawed piece of legislation that was questioned when it was passed fifty years ago, even by Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). By turning abortion legislation back to the states, Dobbs v. Jackson removed it from the national stage and placed it firmly in reach of voters in affected states. In a world where Americans have ransacked their retirement funds to buy groceries and a tone-deaf administration urges them to purchase $60 electric cars to make up for failed energy policies facing them at the gas pumps, abortion quickly fades in importance. 

While candidates with a moderate to favorable view on abortion may establish relatability between themselves and the voters, it’s not the driving factor in a presidential election. Presidential candidates must prove their worth on a national stage through strong economic ideas, establishing trustworthiness, and showing their ability to defend America at home and in the international landscape. 

Biden has proven that he cannot be trusted with the economy, that America’s enemies lack respect for him, that he is deeply enveloped in scandal and corruption, and that he cannot defend the nation at its borders. And this message is the one that voters will take with them in 2024. 

In September 2023, Statista published a poll revealing the top concerns of voters heading into the 2024 election. Abortion ranked as number seven, with only 5% citing it as a consideration. Abortion was surpassed by inflation and current consumer prices (24%), healthcare (11%), climate considerations (11%), jobs and the economy (10%), illegal immigration (9%), and taxes and government spending (6%). 

When a recent Gallup combined all economic factors (inflation, escalating cost of living, and other financial considerations) under one topic, 38% of voters cited the economy as their number one concern. In contrast, according to the October Gallup poll, only 2% of voters are concerned about abortion as a national issue.  

More alarm bells should be sounding in the liberal camp following the poll’s revelation that 44% of Americans think the Republican party can manage their concerns. In contrast, only 36% think the Democrats can address their primary concerns. 

Democrats frequently inflate their own importance, and any win is a “decisive victory” for liberalism. But voters already weighed in on abortion during the 2023 state and local elections and are ready to focus on something more meaningful in the 2024 presidential election.