The impact of Kavanaugh's confirmation on the 2018 elections may reveal how the reversal of Roe v. Wade could impact this year's midterms




Brett Kavanaugh
Brett Kavanaugh  
  • 40 Republican House seats flipped to Democratic candidates following Kavanaugh's 2018 confirmation.

  • In 27 of those races, GOP candidates led in polls taken prior to Kavanaugh's contentious hearings.

  • The reaction to his confirmation may show how the repeal of Roe v. Wade could impact this year's midterms.

As political analysts seek to understand the possible impact of Roe v. Wade being overturned on this year's midterm elections, some suggest that data from 2018 may reveal possible trends.

In 2018, following the contentious confirmation hearings of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh - who was accused of sexual assault by Christine Ford - 40 Republican US House seats flipped to Democratic candidates. GOP candidates led in polls taken prior to the hearings and went on to lose in November in 27 of those races, indicating increased mobilization among partisan voters following the hearings.

"This is when the midterms were decided. Everything leading up to it was, for many Americans, a gradual erosion of political and societal norms. But nonetheless, it was gradual. Often politically imperceptible. A general state of unease favoring the status quo over an electoral revolution," B.J. Rudell, a political strategist, wrote in an opinion article for The Hill.

He continued: "But Republicans giving an accused sexual predator a lifetime appointment on the nation's highest court was the lightning rod that struck the political life out of 27 House Republicans who, up to that point, had had a good shot at winning in November and keeping the chamber in GOP hands."

The Supreme Court's decision on Friday to repeal federal abortion protections established by Roe v. Wade may cause a similar increase in voter activity in this year's midterms. Historically, first-term presidents often lose Congressional seats in the first midterms, but recent polls indicate a closing gap when it comes to whether voters want Republican or Democratic candidates in Congress.

As Democratic candidates have launched massive mobilization and fundraising efforts in the days since the ruling, it is unclear if Democratic leaders' plans for a voting turnout blitz will lead to election results.

"For Democrats to win - and perhaps win big - in November, they already have everything they need: They simply need to make the 2022 midterms a referendum for the majority of citizens who recognize 19th-century immoral norms don't belong in 21st-century America," Rudell wrote for The Hill.

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