Roe and Reform Matters Even More for the House Than the Senate

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 10: Abortion-rights demonstrators gather in front of the U.S. Supreme Court building on May 10, 2022 in Washington, DC. Senate Democrats plan take up a bill May 11 that would codify abortion rig... WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 10: Abortion-rights demonstrators gather in front of the U.S. Supreme Court building on May 10, 2022 in Washington, DC. Senate Democrats plan take up a bill May 11 that would codify abortion rights in federal law, but it is all but certain to come up short of the 60 votes needed to overcome a Republican fillibuster. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images) MORE LESS

Since we started talking about Roe and Reform, the Democrat’s prospects in the Senate have improved significantly. Dems holding the Senate now seems a more likely outcome than not and a two-seat pick-up seems increasingly plausible. (The 538 polls-only forecast now lists a two-seat pick-up as the most likely outcome of the midterm.) But what about the House? I’ve had a number of people tell me about Roe and Reform, “well, that was a great idea for the Senate but what about the House?” … No, no, no. And no. While holding the Senate has always been within closer reach for Democrats, Roe and Reform has always been a more powerful tool for the House. The senators who are avoiding questions or holding back on Roe and Reform to avoid awkward moments with more hesitant colleagues are greatly reducing the odds of Democrats holding the House. This is especially so now that a two-seat Senate pick-up looks like an increasingly plausible election outcome.

With 48 Roe and Reform pledges in place, every marginal Democratic House candidate in the country can pitch themselves as the vote that makes the Roe law possible in January 2023. And they’ll be right. If Democrats manage to hold the House it will be by a thin margin. Senate races are curious things because the candidates themselves are such a big factor. House races are very different. Elections turn less on the identity of the candidate than the general political atmospherics of the moment. Roe and Reform puts a huge cudgel in the hands of dozens of Democratic candidates. And that’s especially so since many of the most critical races are in suburban districts where Roe and Reform is likely to cut most deeply.

But for this to work all those House candidates need the Senate Democrats to have done their part — every one of them explicitly and clearly pledged. The House candidates need that signed check — really that cashiers check — in hand. That’s how it becomes tangible like it was in Kansas. Not sending a message, not backing candidates who believe X or Y like I do. But if my candidate wins, Roe will be the law of the land again in six months.

Those senators who won’t get off their backsides to do the right thing here are letting their House compatriots hang out to dry.

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