Role reversal on use of 'wedge' issues: Democrats in Tight Races Put Focus on Abortion Rights
Republicans have won points with many voters by promising a conservative overhaul of taxes and spending, but Democrats are working hard in the closing weeks of the campaign to convince voters that a conservative social agenda is waiting in the wings, too, should Republicans be elected in large numbers.
Abortion rights is the flash point, being wielded by the left in hard-fought races from New York’s contest for governor, to Senate races in Florida and California, as Democratic candidates or groups try to rally their base and attract moderate Republican or independent women — a slice of the electorate that is even more coveted than in years past.
It used to be Democrats who feared “wedge” issues; they allowed Republicans to cleave off conservative Democratic voters. But this time around, Republicans want to talk about economic anxiety — widely shared by voters, polls say — rather than narrow social issues that might frighten off moderates.