Unintended Consequences of Overturning Roe v. Wade
The Republican Party should not be celebrating the reversal of Roe v. Wade. Instead, they should be planning ways to prevent a potential Democratic resurgence, which could employ a playbook that Republicans themselves crafted. In 1973, Roe afforded the Republican Party an issue in which the GOP could encourage social conservatives to start voting Republican. The GOP strategically used the issue of abortion to form the modern New Right and to win elections for the next 50 years. This can be explained through the framework of issue evolution, which allows political parties to capitalize on a salient issue with a cross-partisan majority. In 2022, the Supreme Court overturned Roe in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health. Does that ruling create a similar issue evolution possibility for the contemporary Democratic Party? Will the Democratic Party let the abortion issue fester in the states, promoting a crisis at the voting booth that may bring about historic voter shifts? If so, then Dobbs’ long-term effect, ironically, might be to expand the ability to obtain an abortion.