I am a suburban mom who lives in Southeast Pennsylvania. I am part of the demographic that continues to be a major influence in elections. I am pro-choice and have been pro-choice my entire adult life. Before covid, I was similar to the rest of the demographic in that I was typically a single-issue voter. Abortion access was more important to me than most other issues. Over the last three and half years, I realized the error in my thinking. I am still pro-choice, but I understand that there are other issues to take into consideration.
The hardcore progressives were successful this election cycle inciting fear and panic among the demographic of suburban women. These single issue voters ignored important issues to vote solely on the alleged fear of losing rights. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court judicial race was a red herring used by the Democrats to compel women to vote.
And vote, they did. Turnout in the collar counties was higher than the 2021 general election. Chester County voter turnout went from 38.83 percent in 2019 to 42.35 percent in 2023. Montgomery and Delaware Counties also had a higher turnout, and Bucks County had a 42.4 percent turnout this cycle.
While we don’t specifically know the breakdown of the increases, we do know that Democratic candidates swept across the region from the top of the ballot to the bottom. I believe this is attributable to the abortion issue based on the results and my anecdotal evidence from working the polls for school board candidates. There were questions from voters about the school board candidates’ views on abortion.
It is truly disconcerting how uninformed the electorate is. Apparently, voters in one of the most educated counties in the state do not understand that school board candidates have absolutely no authority over state abortion laws. Even more concerning, most voters in suburban Philadelphia do not understand that the Supreme Court judicial race had practically no bearing on abortion laws.
I believe that most voters have never read the Pennsylvania abortion law. A summary of the laws on the Department of Health’s website explains that abortions are legal in the state up to 23 weeks and there are allowable exceptions past that point. Nothing has changed since the Dobbs ruling in Pennsylvania, and the reality is that nothing is going to change.
Prior to Tuesday’s election, the State Supreme Court makeup was four Democrats and two Republicans. With the Democratic win, the court will remain a Democrat majority 5-2. However, even if the Republicans picked up the seat, the Democrats would have maintained the majority. Furthermore, the likelihood of the Supreme Court striking down the 1982 state law is unbelievably low.
Therefore, all this rhetoric and fear inducing messaging was nothing more than a bait and switch tactic. And the highly educated suburban women fell for it hook, line, and sinker.
So the Democrats got the vote out on this issue, and the school board races were dramatically impacted across the region. Based on the results, voters were more concerned about the right to terminate a hypothetical fetus than they were about the academic achievement of actual children right now. And that right was never in question in the first place. Voters chose to vote for an issue that wasn’t really at stake at the expense of voting to ensure our students’ rights to a quality education.
I am not naive enough to think that abortion was the only issue impacting school board elections, but it was a big part of the outcome. Similar to the debacle we witnessed last year in the gubernatorial race, abortion is a big deal not just for Democrats, but also independents and moderate Republicans.
Most school board races in the region handed landslide victories to Democratic candidates, flipping many boards to their majority. Gains made two years ago were lost. The Democratic candidates, by and large, are more concerned with focusing on “soft skills” in school than improving academic achievement. They like to talk about equity and inclusion, but rather than leveling the playing field with ensuring every child can read, they focus on issues unrelated to academic achievement.
The results from this election continue to demonstrate that the GOP is in the midst of a full blown crisis. How many more elections do they need to lose before they get the message? Abortion is a decision between a woman and her doctor. Personally, I do not think the government should be involved at all, and that includes paying for it.
There are so many problems facing our communities that desperately need to be addressed, but Republicans will never get the chance to address those issues if they continue down the same losing path. Unless the GOP wakes up, there will be no need to hold a presidential election in Pennsylvania. We will simply hand Biden the nineteen electoral votes on a silver platter.
Beth Ann Rosica resides in West Chester, has a Ph.D. in Education, and has dedicated her career to advocating on behalf of at-risk children and families. She covers education issues for Broad + Liberty. Contact her at email@example.com.