Thursday, August 4, 2022

Beyond Kansas

Some thoughts from Josh Marshall on the resounding vote in Kansas in support of reproductive rights.

The Kansas vote shows us how unpopular Dobbs is. But that’s not all it showed. Kansans didn’t turn out to send a message about Dobbs or Roe. They turned out because with a single vote they could ensure that abortion rights remained protected in their state for the foreseeable future. The closest Democrats can get to duplicating that dynamic at the federal level is with a Roe and Reform pledge. You give us this and we will give you that. But there can’t be any ambiguity, no vagueness about the filibuster or hemming and hawing. Right now 31 of the 48 senators have committed. 15 are sort of, kind of there but haven’t been willing to make a clear commitment — thus short-circuiting the whole effort. There are two possible hold outs — King of Maine and Warner of Virginia. But they will get on board if their constituents apply pressure. Here’s the list of where everyone stands.

If they’re basically on board why won’t they just say it? Well, some of it is just SenateWorld, that instinctive resistance to making firm commitments, the myopia of thinking that what matters is the internal politicking of the Senate as opposed to the actual political world outside the body. I know specifically some of the senators and their staffs say privately, ‘Of course we’ll be there if it comes to a vote. But I don’t want to make it uncomfortable for colleagues who are more hesitant.’ In other words, everyone is basically on board but waiting for everyone else to take the plunge and thus in their collective dillydallying ruining the chances of a clear election message. Voters — you and your phone — can change this right now.

After all, we are supposed to be a representative democracy.  So let us show our representatives that we mean it when we support reproductive rights.


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