Even staunch right-wingers are admitting that the results in Wisconsin’s Supreme Court election are a bad omen for Republicans’ electoral chances going forward.
Janet Protasiewicz shellacked conservative Dan Kelly by 10 percentage points Tuesday, claiming victory and a seat that swings Wisconsin’s high court from a conservative majority to a liberal one.
Kelly was a deeply flawed candidate, both because of his connections to former President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election and his opposition to abortion rights.
The latter was a particularly salient issue in the Wisconsin race, with the state’s Supreme Court likely to rule on a host of abortion-related matters, including on the legality of a 19th-century abortion ban reauthorized last year by the state’s GOP-controlled Legislature.
After the drubbing Republicans took in the 2022 midterms, amid a backlash over the U.S. Supreme Court’s rescission of federal abortion rights, one might think there’d be more widespread recognition on the right that anti-abortion crusades are unpopular. Even the chair of the Republican National Committee, Ronna McDaniel, seemed to essentially admit this in a Fox News interview on Tuesday.
Setting aside McDaniel’s gross lies about Democrats’ true policy goals with abortion, her comments about the GOP’s “messaging issue” showed pretty remarkable self-awareness. Which is evidently a sin in most conservative circles.
As the quote tweets and Twitter replies responding to the above clip indicate, many conservatives reacted angrily to McDaniel’s remarks. (Note: McDaniel has faced plenty of backlash from ultra-conservative Republicans who claim she and the RNC haven’t been rabid enough in advocating their far-right talking points.)
One such response came from conservative conspiracy theorist Kyle Becker, who had some mansplaining to do.
To hear him tell it, the real issue in Wisconsin was that McDaniel and the RNC didn’t use scare tactics well enough to persuade people to vote for Kelly.
Even conservative commentator Ann Coulter sees the writing on the wall for Republicans’ electoral chances if the party keeps pursuing anti-abortion legislation.
“The demand for anti-abortion legislation just cost Republicans another crucial race,” she tweeted Tuesday. “Pro-lifers: WE WON. Abortion is not a ‘constitutional right’ anymore! Please stop pushing strict limits on abortion, or there will be no Republicans left.”
This tweet, like McDaniel’s, was met with scorn from many conservatives.
When Ann Coulter is advising you on how not to be completely detestable, you’ve probably gone too far.
Nonetheless, don’t expect Republicans to reverse course on this culture war.