Post written by Infidel753 as copied from his blog of the same name. The topic? Munchkin blue Kansas.
Ding, dong….. Infidel753
Traditionally, Kansas has been as ruby-red as the slippers sported by its most iconic fictional inhabitant — but the state is looking a little more Munchkin-blue right now, with its voters dropping a house on an effort to facilitate banning abortion.
At issue, ultimately, was a 2019 ruling by the state supreme court that the state constitution protected abortion rights. This year, forced-birthers placed an initiative on the ballot which would have amended the state constitution to allow the Republican-dominated legislature to ban abortion. Yesterday, voters massively rejected the amendment — votes are still being counted, but it looks like the margin will be about 60% to 40%. This in a state that went for Trump by 56% to 42% in 2020. Turnout was high for a non-presidential primary election day, at least 830,000, compared to 470,000 for primary election day in 2018.
This is the first time since the fall of Roe that abortion rights have been put to a vote in a popular referendum as opposed to a legislature. The results, especially in such a conservative state, can’t be encouraging for the party which has been falling all over itself to pass more and more draconian abortion restrictions.
Republicans may be in the process of achieving the most stupendous feat of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory in living memory. A few months ago, everything looked in place for a major “red wave” in this year’s election and probably several elections to come. Voters were alarmed about inflation and gas prices, while the Democrats (thanks mainly to Manchin and Sinema) appeared dithering and ineffectual. As if that weren’t bad enough, the Democrats had managed to position themselves as the party of identity politics, defunding the police, gun-grabbing, men using the girls’ bathroom and muscling in on women’s sports teams, and negativity about “whiteness” in the schools. If a more comprehensive program for political suicide is possible, I can hardly imagine what it might look like.
And then, suddenly, the Republican dog caught the car it had been chasing for 49 years. The federal Supreme Court, thanks to judges chosen by a president installed via vote suppression and Russian meddling, finally delivered the prize the party’s Christianist* base had single-mindedly sought for decades — the overturn of Roe v Wade. Red-state legislatures vied with each other to pass the most extreme bans and restrictions, and there has even been talk about limiting interstate commerce in abortion pills, as well as interstate travel, to prevent women in red states from accessing abortion services based elsewhere.
Almost overnight the Republicans have re-branded themselves from a bulwark against urban anarchy, gender lunacy, and anti-white racism, to the party of forcing ten-year-old girls to serve as breeding stock for rapists.
Now, they can change course when they realize they’re about to march over a cliff. Just yesterday, having shrewdly figured out that blocking a veterans’ health-care bill they themselves had approved mere weeks before, out of pique about the Schumer-Manchin tax-and-climate deal, (and fist-bumping with glee about it) wasn’t a good look, they reversed themselves and let it pass.
But abortion isn’t like that. There’s no serious constituency for shitting on veterans, but to the Christianist voting base that now dominates the party from below, banning abortion is the lodestar, the holy grail, the one ring to rule them all. It’s what has kept them voting, year after year, for Republican candidates they would otherwise have found dubious, up to and including Trump — the hope that, at long last, Roe would be swept away and state power would act to enforce their most fanatically-held taboo. They won’t tolerate any reversal by politicians.
And so now the mainstream American mass public mind has suddenly awakened to the fact that, no, all this religion and anti-abortion and anti-gay stuff isn’t just a smoke-screen for the old agenda of tax cuts and racism — it is the actual agenda now. This is no longer the party of Goldwater and Reagan and the Bushes. The Christianists now hold the whip, and they’re deadly serious about forcing women and even young girls to carry unwanted pregnancies to term.
This is not at all grounds for Democrats to get complacent about this November, much less 2024. Their leaders and activists could still blow it by doubling down on all the nonsense that was driving voters away before. But after yesterday’s referendum, no one can deny that the fall of Roe and its aftermath are a game-changer. Even in Kansas, it feels like we’re not in Kansas any more.
[*A term analogous to “Islamist”, referring to fundamentalists and hard-line traditionalist Catholics, not all Christians.]