It is astonishing to see how quickly the Supreme Court’s decision to end a woman’s constitutional right to abortion has reshaped the national political landscape.
The change affects expectations for the November midterm elections and the 2024 presidential race. This shift affects Southland and other suburban areas across the country.
Abortion was on the ballot Tuesday in Kansas, as a referendum sought to change the state constitution and give the legislature the power to restrict or ban the procedure.
Democrats showed a new sense of optimism about the political climate for an election year Wednesday after voters in traditionally conservative Kansas overwhelmingly supported a measure that protects abortion rights, the Associated Press reported.
After working for decades to impose its minority view on the majority of Americans, is the right-wing Christian movement finally discovering the limits of its reach?
Anti-abortion activists rejoiced on June 24 when the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. Activists have worked tirelessly to criminalize the measure, even though polls have consistently shown that most Americans believe access should really be.
The anti-abortion movement developed gradually, as most Americans failed to understand the issue’s role in the right’s rise to power. One way to better understand the association is to consider the idea of compromise.
Until relatively recently, American politicians generally found ways to compromise and get most of what each side wanted even when they disagreed. With regard to abortion, opponents have generally acknowledged that there are exceptions in cases of rape, incest and saving women’s lives.
Somewhere along the line, the Right developed an uncompromising stance. A noble crusade has replaced subtle controversy. Both parties used electoral manipulation to capitalize on electoral victories in the legislative majority. Many Republican politicians mistakenly believed that extremist views in favor of a complete ban on abortion represented the will of the majority.
By politicizing the judiciary, Republicans have used abortion to mobilize supporters to participate in elections. Nowhere has this been truer than in 2016, when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell declined to consider President Barack Obama’s nomination to fill a vacant position on the Supreme Court.
This tactic played a large role in Donald Trump’s victory in the presidential election and the appointment of three conservative justices to the court. The decision to drop Rowe should not surprise anyone.
Now comes the backlash. The Supreme Court’s decision suddenly changed the discussion from the hypothetical and the abstract to the concrete here and now. Several recent cases revealed dire consequences of the court’s decision.
There was a Texas woman who had a miscarriage and was forced to carry a stillbirth for two weeks because the doctors didn’t want to risk violating state law. A 10-year-old rape victim in Ohio had to travel to Indiana to have an abortion, which is banned in her state.
Republican politicians initially responded by questioning whether the rape story was true. The Indiana attorney general has pledged to investigate the doctor who performed the operation.
In Florida, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on Thursday suspended the attorney general-elect who had said publicly he would not prosecute abortions banned under the state’s new 15-week ban. Republican supporters cheered. Critics have warned of authoritarian rule.
DeSantis calculated that it is politically beneficial to impeach an elected official because of something the official said, not because he committed an illegal act or violated any law.
Tuesday’s Kansas vote results suggest that such political calculus may soon change. Critics expected a vote soon because Kansas is a red state. Lawmakers put the measure on primary ballots in contrast to the November general election because they believed most people voting on Tuesday would be Republicans and would prefer a ban on abortions.
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Voters said otherwise by a margin of about 59-41. This issue either drove large numbers of Democrats to the polls or large numbers of Republican voters defied their party’s expectations. Either way, that does not bode well for the Republican Party.
Anti-abortion activists suggest that their response to Illinois and other states promoting access will be to push for a nationwide ban. They would need a legislative majority in both houses and the presidency to do so.
Conventional wisdom holds that the president’s party loses seats in the out-of-year midterm elections. Before June 24, Republicans expected to win a majority in the House of Representatives in November and possibly control the Senate. Recent opinion polls indicate that Democrats are making gains in the universal suffrage.
In politics, one learns not to count chickens before they hatch. Few predicted a Trump victory in 2016. The nation remains sharply divided on political and cultural issues. Now more than ever, every vote counts.
As long as we maintain our belief in the integrity of external voting systems, election results are the only metric that matters, not opinion polls.
Ted Sloek is a columnist for the Daily Southtown.
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