If any Democrats were considering upping the party's focus on the so-called “War on Women” they're likely re-thinking that tactic after Tuesday night's elections, after several prominent Democratic Party candidates who focused their campaigns on “women's issues” saw defeat.
In Texas, gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis lost to state Attorney General Greg Abbott, 59 percent to 39 percent. Davis, who shot to national fame after filibustering a pro-life bill that eventually became law, ran her campaign largely based around her support for abortion.
Davis' loss has had repercussions elsewhere. Democrats lost her seat in the state's Senate, and Politico reports that a newly-established Democratic campaign operation, Battleground Texas, is on life support after her defeat.
In a bizarre Twitter rant following Davis’ loss, one of Battleground Texas' campaign operatives targeted women, Hispanics, and other demographics. Chelsea Natividad told women who “voted Republican” to “fall off the face of the earth,” and said students that supported the GOP should “slap yourself eight times.”
In another gubernatorial race, Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley saw her second major loss in a row to a Republican. In 2010, Coakley lost to former Senator Scott Brown in a special election for the U.S. Senate, and on Tuesday she lost to pro-abortion Republican Charlie Baker 48.4 percent to 46.8 percent.
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Coakley, who is a prominent supporter of abortion, was a key backer of the abortion clinic “buffer zone” law that the Supreme Court overturned earlier this year.
In Colorado, Rep. Cory Gardner, a Republican, beat incumbent Democratic Senator Mark Udall 49 percent to 45 percent. Udall, who was nicknamed “Uterus” Udall because of his campaign's focus on birth control and abortion, saw his tactics fall flat, even as Gardner himself abandoned prior support for personhood legislation and came out in favor of over-the-counter access to birth control.
California-based Democratic Party activist Sandra Fluke, who came to national fame in 2012 for her support for requiring employers to provide abortion and birth control insurance for employees, lost her state Senate race by 21 points. Fluke had considered a run for the U.S. House earlier this year.
As Tuesday's results came in, Fox News contributor Charles Krauthammer said, “I think this is the end of the ‘War on Women,’ and the Democrats have lost it. They tried it, as we saw, famously, in Colorado. It probably helped to defeat Senator Udall because it became an object of ridicule. And once you get to that stage, it’s over.”
“I think the Democrats are going to learn a lesson from this,” Krauthammer said. “There is, of course, an issue on which they can prevail. But if you push it to an extreme where it comes back against you, you’ve got to drop it.”
Krauthammer said that Davis' loss “probably ended her career as a major national figure.”