Abortion 2.0

The Biden re-election campaign should be dead in the water. Inflation is surging again, wokeness is deeply unpopular with most Americans, bills are beginning to come due for the Left’s “green” initiatives, and, most of all, Biden himself is so far gone in dementia as to be dysfunctional. How can he possibly win in November?

By running on abortion. We saw it in many areas of the country in 2022. What should have been a red wave petered out, as the Democrats grabbed the lifeline that Dobbs gave them and often rode it to victory. Can it happen again in 2024? Why not?

In many areas of the country, including Minnesota, where I live, the most popular thing a politician can stand for is unrestricted (and preferably government-funded) abortion, up to and including the moment of birth. The Democrats have successfully sold the idea that they aren’t necessarily in favor of abortions, but the right to get abortions is the civil rights issue of our era. Just because it’s dumb doesn’t mean it can’t work.

The Democrats know they have an electoral gold mine in abortion. This is what the New York Times had to say in this morning’s email:

No American president has done as much to restrict abortion as Donald Trump. When he was running in 2016, he promised to appoint Supreme Court justices who would overturn Roe v. Wade, and his three nominees helped do precisely that in the 2022 Dobbs decision.

That is the Democrats’ line. Trump himself is a moderate on the issue, and Dobbs didn’t restrict abortion, it merely returned the issue to the states, where it belongs and where it always was until the bizarre Roe decision. But there is no room for nuance on this topic. Pro-abortion voters are fanatical and single-issue.

Twenty-one states have since enacted tight restrictions. Yesterday, Arizona’s highest court reinstated an 1864 law that bans nearly all abortions.

These laws have proven to be unpopular. When abortion access has appeared on the ballot since 2022, it has consistently won, even in red states like Kansas, Kentucky and Montana. A Wall Street Journal poll last month found that abortion stood out from immigration, inflation and foreign wars as the only major issue on which most voters trusted President Biden more than Trump.

The Times is right. Abortion has become electoral poison for Republicans. It is the only winning issue for Democrats, and they have no choice but to play it to the hilt.

All of this helps explains why Trump has tried to reduce his vulnerability on the issue — and why the Biden campaign is already running advertisements about abortion. “Donald Trump did this,” reads the onscreen text at the end of an ad released this week. It focuses on a Texas woman who nearly died during a miscarriage after a hospital refused to treat her.

This is the ad:

I don’t understand the alleged medical history. Obviously this woman could and would be treated if she suffered a miscarriage. But if you don’t think this ad, and many more like it to come, are devastating to Republicans, you are delusional.

The Times goes on to point out that Gallup has found a ten-point swing in favor of abortion since Dobbs. The irony is that a large majority of voters don’t support the Democrats’ position of unrestricted abortion up to the moment of birth (and in some cases, as in Minnesota, beyond). But they don’t hate Democrats for being extreme, they hate Republicans for restricting “choice.”

If you are looking for optimism, the Times offers this:

In the 2022 midterms, several high-profile Democratic candidates highlighted their Republican opponents’ role in restricting abortion access. Stacey Abrams in Georgia and Beto O’Rourke in Texas were among them. So was Nan Whaley, the Democratic candidate for governor in Ohio. “We think it is the issue,” Whaley said.

It wasn’t. These candidates all lost by substantial margins. Nationwide, not a single Republican governor or senator has lost a re-election bid since the Dobbs decision. In House elections, the decision may have played a decisive role in a small number of races.

So abortion wasn’t enough to elect lousy candidates in red states. But in 2022, we saw what it could do in a purplish (not deep blue as some mistakenly think) state like Minnesota: it completely changed the election dynamic.

Arizona is another purple state. The most recent development on the abortion front is that Arizona’s Supreme Court issued a decision that resurrected a 160-year-old law, dating to when Arizona was a territory, that banned nearly all abortions. The Court somehow found that the old law takes precedence over the moderate statute that Arizona enacted in 2022.

I haven’t read that decision, but offhand I have no idea how a 160-year-old territorial law could possibly override an inconsistent law passed two years ago. That would seem to violate basic legal principles. In any event, if its Supreme Court somehow makes Arizona a no-abortion state, there is zero chance that Trump will carry Arizona in November. None.

Brace yourselves: the Democrats have an enormous amount of money to spend, and it is going to be all abortion, all the time, from now until November.

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