GOP 'FOFAs' on Reproductive Rights. Again.

Wednesday, November 08, 2023

When the populists who infest the GOP (and enable the theocrats) are feeling cocky, they are fond of using the abbreviation FOFA, meaning f--- around and find out.

It is too bad that neither a sense of irony, nor introspection, nor a willingness to learn from reality are parts of their tool chest, because the GOP could use all three: There was a clear lesson from yesterday's election for the Republican Party, which has once again failed to thrive under the orange thumb of Donald Trump.

That lesson is When abortion becomes the major issue on the ballot, and there is a clear choice, being anti-abortion will lose any election not dominated by religious voters.

The connection is so obvious, even today's news media noticed:

Abortion rights advocates won major victories Tuesday as voters in conservative-leaning Ohio decisively passed a constitutional amendment guaranteeing access to abortion, while those in ruby-red Kentucky reelected a Democratic governor who aggressively attacked his opponent for supporting the state's near-total ban on the procedure.

In Virginia, a battleground state where Republicans pushed a proposal to outlaw most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, Democrats were projected to take control of the state legislature after campaigning heavily on preserving access.
(Good: The Virginia result should keep stealth holy roller Glenn Youngkin out of the GOP presidential race, which is already too crowded.)

Two governor's races were instructive here. In Kentucky, polls had tightened between the Democrat incumbent and his Trump-endorsed rival ahead of the election. The not-exactly popular governor aired a pro-choice commercial (embedded here) that went viral and was able to beat back his anti-abortionist challenger.

Meanwhile, in Mississippi, incumbent Republican Tate Reeves eked out a victory against his Democrat opponent, who had received lots of out-of-state funding. I see him as the (illusory) exception that proves the rule.

Although roughly 40% of that state's voters are black and bloc-vote for Democrats, that constituency is not quite as on board with abortion as I think the Democrats hoped.

Mississippians, black Democrats included, are generally more religious than voters in other parts of the country. Black turnout is often low, too. Brandon Presley's focus on Reeve's corruption and on the issue of whether the state should collect information about residents getting abortions elsewhere simply wasn't motivating enough to drive black Democrat turnout. (And the heavy out-of-state funding Presley received probably drove turnout for Reeves.)

Mississippi, by the way, is a lesson for Democrats, too: Long experience tells me that, had Presley won, we'd never hear the end of crowing about Mississippi "turning blue," along the way to the "progressive" element of that party overplaying its hand and giving pause to voters who might otherwise support a sane Democrat because of abortion.

Sane Democrats and other proponents of reproductive freedom can breathe a sigh of relief after yesterday.

-- CAV


John Shepard said...

"Sane Democrats and other proponents of reproductive freedom can breathe a sigh of relief after yesterday."

But for how long? The anti-life "pro-life" movement is on a moral crusade first, then a political crusade, and it should be obvious to all that intend to get a national ban on abortions. That would make moot any of the state victories.

Overturning Roe was step 1, as Onkar Ghate explained in 2022. Step 2, as he also explained, a step telegraphed by the Dobbs decision itself, will come when a case is brought before the Court and it rules that the fetus is a person with rights. The states will then have to protect the "rights" of the "unborn" and that will be the end of the farcical claim that abortion policy should be set by the states. The anti-life side never truly held that view, because, again, they are on a moral crusade and they hold that the "unborn" is a human being with rights and that abortion is murder.

"Dismantling Roe" (2022); Talk: ~ 45 min; Q&A: ~ 38 min

Gus Van Horn said...


I could have elaborated more on the nature of any relief: Most Americans are closer to (or receptive to) the correct position on abortion than not, if we take the overall election results at face value.

The battle for reproductive freedom is only beginning, but at least the issue seems to be one on which people would be happy to hear solid moral arguments in support of what they might intuit or incompletely understand is the correct (and truly life-affirming) position.