During the same week, the pro-abortion group NARAL was even blunter: “We’ll be DAMNED if we’re going to let five MEN—including some frat boy named Brett—strip us of our hard-won bodily autonomy and reproductive rights.”
By mid-September, staffers for Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., had posted some 3,600 ads on Facebook urging voters to sign a petition against Kavanaugh and citing what Harris called his opposition to Roe v. Wade. (Harris serves on the Senate Judiciary Committee that oversaw the confirmation hearing.)
Beyond the tumultuous ordeal of the Kavanaugh-Ford hearing—and the questions it raised in many voters’ minds—the nomination process still made clear from the beginning that abortion loomed large in Supreme Court matters, no matter the judicial nominee.
What does all this mean for November’s elections?
Predictions aren’t prophetic, but heading into October, many pollsters thought Republicans still were likely to hold on to a narrow majority in the Senate and Democrats were likely to gain control of the House—though it wasn’t clear by how little or how much. That question could likely hinge on turnout and which party motivates more voters to the polls.
Kyle Kondik of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics says historically when it comes to turnout, “If you’re the party that’s angry, that’s a good thing.” After a brutal September, it was hard to gauge which party was angrier heading into the midterm elections.
Abortion likely won’t be a top concern for most voters in the fall campaigns, but even as the Supreme Court process underscored Democratic senators’ commitment to a pro-abortion agenda, it also revealed a tricky dynamic for some Democratic House candidates in races where Republican incumbents are vulnerable: How could they project a moderate image—and talk less about abortion—even while holding pro-abortion views that could affect future legislation?
The weeks ahead will tell if that’s possible, even as the weeks past told how divided the political and cultural landscape in America remained—no matter who gets more votes in November.