With the midterm elections still 126 days away, it’s a little early to speculate about what might happen in the event of a Republican-led Senate. The GOP minority will need a net gain of six seats this fall, and we don’t yet know with confidence whether that’s going to happen.
But the Senate Republicans’ leader is already making plans.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) promised Saturday to focus more attention on limiting abortions if Republicans take control of the Senate in November.Speaking to the National Right to Life Convention in his home state of Kentucky, the Senate’s top Republican suggested Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has blocked the upper-chamber from voting on bills that would limit women’s rights to abortion, according to conservative website Townhall.com.
McConnell intends to change all of that if/when he’s the Senate Majority Leader, vowing publicly that President Obama “will be forced to listen to the cause” of anti-abortion activists.
Referencing a Senate GOP bill to ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, McConnell added, “If I was majority leader, we’d already have had a vote on it in the Senate.”
Earlier this year, Politico said social issues have “been largely relegated to the sidelines” in Republican politics, and the GOP’s competing wings have both “steered away from social issues they deem too divisive.”
How’s that working out?
Indeed, it’s not just McConnell. While the Senate Minority Leader vows action on anti-abortion legislation, Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) is comparing homosexuality to alcoholism. At the same time, as we discussed a few weeks ago, GOP leaders, including alleged “moderates” like Chris Christie, are tripping over each other to pander to the religious right movement.
And perhaps most strikingly, conservative opposition to contraception access may be poised to become a major electoral issue, too. More on that in about an hour.
After Republicans’ 2012 losses, many party officials agreed that the GOP was too closely associated with far-right culture warriors, out of step with the more modern and more tolerant American mainstream. But nearly two years later, the party just can’t seem to help itself.