Republicans must confront abortion issue head-on to win over voters in 2024: RNC chair


April 30, 2023 | 4:12 p.m

Republican candidates must confront the abortion issue to win over swing voters in 2024 after the GOP was hit in 2022 for avoiding the debate, party chairwoman Rona McDaniel said Sunday.

In June, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned 50 years of case law legalizing federal abortion rights, leaving the decision up to the states — the ruling GOP candidates have failed to prioritize while Democrats have turned it into a rallying cry.

That can’t happen next year, she said.

“What I will say is that the biggest takeaway is that the independents didn’t break our way, which is what needs to happen if we’re going to win in 2024, which is what usually causes this red wave.” And abortion was a big issue in key states like Michigan and Pennsylvania,” McDaniel said on Fox News Sunday while discussing last year’s midterms.

“So the guidance that we’re going to give our candidates is that you have to tackle it head on. Democrats spent $360 million on this, and many of our candidates everywhere refused to talk about it, thinking, “oh, we can just talk about the economy and ignore this big problem,” and they can’t.

Abortion was seen as one of the issues that prevented Republicans from taking back the Senate — and taking back the House by only the narrowest of margins, McDaniel acknowledged.

She said Republicans can put Democrats on the defensive by painting them as fringe — and asking them if they support late-term abortions, which some abortion opponents see as infanticide.

RNC Chair Rona McDaniel joined “Fox News Sunday” to discuss key issues ahead of the 2024 election.
FOX News

“What abortion is a bad idea for Democrats? Ninth month, eighth month, seventh month? They can’t even formulate abortion, which is a bad idea,” she said.

“Gender selection, if it’s a girl, can you cancel it?” Tax-funded abortions for people when it goes against their religious conscience. That’s where Joe Biden was years ago. So I think put them on the defensive and articulate where you stand and that will be the critical message we need to get out .. .before 2024.”

In a sign that the Supreme Court ruling has galvanized pro-choice supporters, voters in conservative Kansas last August overwhelmingly rejected a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would have banned abortion.

McDaniel also said it’s important for presumptive GOP front-runner and former President Donald Trump and other candidates to participate in the primary debates, and that all candidates should pledge to support the GOP nominee for the White House after a tough primary.

The US Supreme Court has overturned 50 years of case law legalizing the federal right to abortion.
Getty Images/Brandon Bell
Abortion rights protester Elizabeth White leads a chant in response to the Women’s Health Dobbs v. Jackson decision before the US Supreme Court.
Getty Images/Brandon Bell

She said unity is important for Republicans to win back the White House, noting that President Biden and Democrats are trying to paint them as divided.

Trump has threatened to avoid the debates.

“I think one of the other takeaways we took from the 2022 midterms is that we just don’t just need independents, we need every Republican,” McDaniel said. “And we need to bring all Republicans together. We have states where Republicans wouldn’t vote for Republican candidates, and that was a big factor in why we lost some key Senate races.

She added that Biden “was right” that “we cannot win if we are not united. If Republicans don’t vote for other Republicans, we won’t win. And we don’t just need all Republicans, we need independents as well.”

According to McDaniel, abortion was seen as one of the issues that prevented Republicans from winning back the Senate.
FOX News

Biden sought to paint the Republican Party as dominated by Trump’s base, the so-called “MAGA [Make America Great Again) Republicans.”

McDaniel seemed less concerned about Democrats accusing Republicans like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, another White House aspirant, of banning books, praising him and other Republicans for “protecting our children” from sexually explicit and inappropriate material.

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