D.C. Insiders Grapple with the Politics of Roe

Susan Collins
Sen. Susan Collins of Maine. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Tara Palmeri
June 27, 2022

For more than a month, ever since news of the Supreme Court’s draft ruling overturning Roe v. Wade was broken by Politico, Democrats and Republicans have had the chance to contemplate strategies about how to respond to the news, its historic consequences, and the second-order effects. Indeed, during the past 72 hours, voters from both parties have been galvanized by the ruling, as one might expect, and cable news and social media have been filled with reactions, outrage, and commentary. The left has been electrically horrified by the reversal while many on the right either want to view it as an incremental step toward more significant changes to our cultural fabric, or at least consider this issue settled and move on to other topics, such as oil prices.

The professional political class, however, is still not quite sure what to make of the issue, or how to use it to their political advantage ahead of the midterm elections. The reversal itself has energized the voting base for both parties, but lawmakers, congressional aides and operatives are privately terrified that the extremes of their parties could hijack the conversation and turn off the low-propensity voters that they need to engage this November.