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Tuesday elections a shot in the arm for Biden and Democrats (News Analysis)

Washington, Nov 8 (IANS) US Democrats won decisive victories in elections across the country Tuesday by aligning closely with abortion rights to overcome the unpopularity of their President Joe Biden and lingering inflation.

Andy Beshear, the Democratic Governor in a deeply Republican state of Kentucky, was reelected by a convincing margin in a contest in which he had portrayed his Republican rival as someone who had supported the abortion ban.

Democrats swept both chambers of the Virginia legislature focusing also on the issue of abortion rights.

And voters in Ohio, a Republican state, vote overwhelmingly to include abortion rights in the state Constitution.

President Biden, who has been buffeted by bad poll numbers, found some reason for cheer as results streamed in.

“Ohioans and voters across the country rejected attempts by MAGA Republican elected officials to impose extreme abortion bans that put the health and lives of women in jeopardy, force women to travel hundreds of miles for care, and threaten to criminalise doctors and nurses for providing the health care that their patients need and that they are trained to provide,” he said in a statement seeking to blame the unpopular abortion ban on his predecessor and his supporters by branding them MAGA — Trump’s campaign slogan Make America Great Again — Republicans.

Abortion rights have become a powerful election issue for Democrats after the conservative-led Supreme Court, bolstered with the addition of three more conservative justices by Trump, struck down in June 2022 a constitutional right to abortion guaranteed in a 1974 ruling, sending the issue to the states to decide.

Democrats tapped into the widespread anger to overcome incumbency to perform far better than expected midterm elections later in the year.

Many Republican-ruled states have voted since to guarantee abortion, which ought to have warned the party that their continued opposition to abortion is not serving them well. But they are strapped with it now and chances are Democrats are going to deploy abortion rights to neutralize Biden’s unpopularity, inflation headwinds and the global crises such as the Ukraine and Israel-Hamas wars that the United States is engaged in.

Biden and his team were hit Tuesday morning by a The New York Times-Siena poll that showed that Biden was trailing Trump in five of the six critical states that he had won in 2020 to win the White House — Michigan, Arizona, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Georgia; Biden was ahead in the sixth, Wisconsin.

The poll came as a shock to the Democrats and some of them responded by calling for Biden to make way for someone younger.

David Axelrod, a political strategist who worked on President Barack Obama’s campaigns and in the White House, suggested in a string of posts on X that the President might consider getting out of the race.

“Only @JoeBiden can make this decision,” he wrote in one of them. “If he continues to run, he will be the nominee of the Democratic Party. What he needs to decide is whether that is wise; whether it’s in HIS best interest or the country’s?”

The post created a storm, as some other Democratic party strategists jumped in with similar suggestions.

Biden’s age — he is 80 now and will be 82 when he starts his second term if elected — has been one of top issues for the Democrats going into 2024 and his sagging poll number mostly in the 30s or early 40s at best and inflation haven’t helped his case.

But Democrats are now contending that polls and real elections are different and between now and the 2024 election day, things could change drastically.

Riding the momentum of the Tuesday night results, Biden and his team are likely to go aggressively into election mode, highlighting the President’s achievements and setting up the contests as a fight between him and Donald Trump, who appears to be the likely Republican nominee as he is way ahead of the rest his his primary challengers, his legal troubles notwithstanding.



Indian Abroad News Desk
Indian Abroad News Desk
Indian Abroad is a news channel and fortnightly newspaper meant for Australia’s Indian community and, besides news, focuses on lifestyle subjects like health, travel, culture, arts, beauty, fashion, entertainment, Bollywood, etc. Our YouTube channel here features daily news bulletins besides infotainment videos on lifestyle subjects.

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