Repub­li­cans nav­i­gate cul­ture war set­back on abor­tion

The cul­ture wars have long been a use­ful tool in elec­toral pol­i­tics.
They can help turn out a party’s base, and the right issue mes­saged prop­er­ly can even attract crossover vot­ers.
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For decades, abor­tion did the for­mer for Repub­li­cans, who court­ed evan­gel­i­cals with their push to build a Supreme Court that would over­turn Roe v. Wade.
Yet, in a post-Roe land­scape, abor­tion has become the elec­toral anvil of the cul­ture wars, weigh­ing down a par­ty that would like to lit­i­gate just about any­thing else.
Con­ser­v­a­tives became vic­tims of their own suc­cess last year when the high court inval­i­dat­ed the nation­al right to an abor­tion. Even as activists pre­vailed in impos­ing new restric­tions, par­tic­u­lar­ly across the South, a back­lash to the rul­ing all but wiped out an expect­ed red wave in the midterm elec­tions.
Tuesday’s off-year elec­tions pro­vid­ed yet anoth­er test case, as Democ­rats reclaimed the Vir­ginia House on the strength of abor­tion access, while vot­ers in red Ohio enshrined it as a right in their state Con­sti­tu­tion.
It’s rare for a social issue to become such a lia­bil­i­ty for Repub­li­cans. Pres­i­dent George W. Bush …