Five states held primaries this week in a big test for Trump’s political power. In Kansas, the abortion rights victory is cementing Democrats abortion focus ahead of the midterms.
Guests: Axios’ Margaret Talev and Josh Kraushaar.
Credits: Axios Today is produced by Niala Boodhoo, Sara Kehaulani Goo, Alexandra Botti, Nuria Marquez Martinez, Lydia McMullen-Laird, Alex Sugiura, and Ben O’Brien. Music is composed by Evan Viola. You can reach us at [email protected]. You can text questions, comments and story ideas to Niala as a text or voice memo to 202-918-4893.
NIALA: Good morning! Welcome to Axios Today!
It’s Friday, August 5th.
I’m Niala Boodhoo.
Today: an abortion rights victory is changing the game for Democrats.
The new Senate landscape for November, that’s today’s One Big Thing.
NIALA: Five states held primaries this week in a big test for former President Trump’s political power. In Kansas, the abortion rights victory is cementing Democrats focus on abortion ahead of the midterms. Here’s president Biden
PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: The voters of Kansas sent a powerful signal that this fall, the American people will vote to preserve and protect the right and refuse to let them be ripped away by politicians. And my administration has their back.
NIALA: Axios’ managing editor for politics, Margaret Talev and Axios senior political correspondent Josh Kraushaar are here to talk about this week in politics. Margaret, let’s start with the aftermath of that Kansas vote. How much does this victory for abortion rights give Democrats new confidence for November?
MARGARET TALEV: Niala, it gives them huge new confidence and I’ll tell you why. This was an 18 point loss for the other side. This turned out long lines of suburban women voters, crucial in swing races. And what these voters were saying was that when it comes to an absolute, like a ban on abortion, which is what this would’ve paved the way for, that they were willing to turn out for a primary in a midterm year, when turnout is normally very low, near historic turnouts. That could have implications well beyond Kansas into crucial states that will decide control of the Senate that could pave the way for the 2024 presidential contests. We’re talking about Michigan, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Georgia. And these are all places where Democrats have worried about their ability to hang on. And now this gives them clear new reason to believe that they can message around something that’s not inflation and that they can get their own party to be excited about turning out and swing voters and perhaps some Republican voters also turning out on behalf of Democrats.
NIALA: Josh let’s talk about Arizona because the other thing we saw this week was how many Trump backed candidates did go through for the primaries.
JOSH KRAUSHAAR: Right. Arizona was the apex, the epicenter of the MAGA movement in that Republicans, almost in every contested primary, that Trump endorsed a MAGA candidate prevailed. Arizona is probably home to one of the more extreme Republican electorates, but the state itself is trending more to the middle. And Democrats hold both of the state’s Senate seats and voted for Joe Biden, clearly in 2020. So it’ll be very, very interesting to watch how these MAGA candidates do in the general election. Trump may have won the battle in the Republican primaries in Arizona, but the war between these candidates and, and Democrats in November might end up being more instructive.
NIALA: Right. So Josh, what does this look like in a place like Michigan, where representative Peter Meijer lost? Was that a surprise?
JOSH: It wasn’t a huge surprise. Trump endorsed his, uh, challenger, John Gibbs who won narrowly in the primary. But again, Michigan is a state that’s lean democratic in most of the recent presidential elections. So you’re seeing a Republican party that seemingly hasn’t learned lessons from the recent general elections where, you know, mainstream, moderate…
Read More: The new Senate landscape for the midterms