Aftermath of a political earthquake

Aftermath of a political earthquake

August 5, 2022 0 By Ellen Novack


Abigail Tracy/Vanity Fair:


A ballot measure that would have stripped abortion protections from the state’s constitution resoundingly failed in Kansas Tuesday night in a major victory for reproductive rights. It was “a sign of just how unpopular overturning Roe v. Wade is nationally,” one election watcher said.

“I think in this post-Dobbs moment, we are all coming to grips with just how wide the gulf is between what popular opinion is on where and how and when abortion should be legal, and the actions that we are seeing proliferate in any given state, and whether that’s because deeply antiquated laws are coming back into effect or because of recently passed trigger laws or new legislative action—it has been swift, it has been galling. It has been shocking to many people,” Kelly Hall, the executive director of the Fairness Project, a group that campaigns for progressive ballot initiatives, said in an interview.

That the measure was on the primary ballot, as opposed to the general election ballot, was unusual. “[The conservative legislature] wanted this to be among a small group of voters who generally lean conservative and have more competitive primaries in Kansas. But here we are, and people know what’s on the ballot and I think they know what’s at stake,” Emily Wales, the president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Great Plains, said in an interview. “I think the plan backfired and they ended up with a vote on abortion only weeks after the fall of Roe. And people understand that this issue is really unique in this moment.”

Not so much a dunk as an observation that the world has changed.

Paul Waldman and Greg Sargent/WaPo:

The Kansas bombshell shows how Democrats might fix a big 2022 problem

By now, the problem Democrats have with young people is familiar: Not only are they less likely to vote than older people; they haven’t exactly been excited with Joe Biden’s presidency and what Democrats have been able to deliver in Congress.

But might all that change — say, before the November midterms?

If there is any reason to think it will, it’s this: Two issues that happen to be of disproportionate importance to young voters have suddenly been elevated in our politics in a big way. We’re talking about abortion and climate change.

This is driven home by two developments. First, and most important, Tuesday’s remarkable referendum in Kansas delivered a decisive victory to the pro-choice side in a deep-red state. Second, Congress is on the verge of passing perhaps the most significant climate bill in U.S. history.

Take those together, and it’s at least possible that young people will provide Democrats with the lift they need to stave off a midterm defeat, or at least to avert a catastrophe in which youth turnout falls off a cliff.


John F Harris/Politico Magazine:

How Ruth Bader Ginsburg Will Have The Last Laugh on Samuel Alito

The Dobbs decision is clearing the political ground for a resolution in favor of abortion rights.

Yet the Kansas result raises an arresting possibility: Alito’s long-term legacy may well be as the justice who facilitated a national consensus on behalf of abortion rights. Quite unintentionally, today’s hero of the “pro-life” movement could end up being a giant of the “pro-choice” movement.

Alito’s achievement was to take abortion out of the arena where it has been for a half-century — a place in which aggrieved advocates on both sides invoked a hypothetical world in which abortion is no longer legal — and move it to an emphatically real-world arena. In this new environment, all kinds of people who under ordinary circumstances would prefer not to have to think and argue about abortion must decide which side they are on.

Jonathan V Last/Bulwark:

What Are YOU Doing To Protect “Good Republicans” From Their Voters?

Whose fault is it that Republican voters keep choosing illiberal conspiracy theorists?

But at the end of the day, the problem isn’t that Democrats tricked Republican voters into choosing John Gibbs.

The problem is that Republican voters want John Gibbs.

And Peter Meijer can’t bring himself to say that.

Here are the three takeaways from Peter Meijer and the Good Republicans now mourning his loss:

(1) Republican voters are who they are. There’s no helping it. You can’t expect them to choose wisely if they have full knowledge of the candidates.

(2) Republican elites can’t get their hands dirty defending Good Republicans like Meijer, because it might make them toxic. And you can’t expect them to risk their own necks just to save a guy like Meijer.

(3) Instead, it is the job of Democrats to protect Good Republicans from Republican voters.2

Now maybe all of this is correct. I’m open to that possibility. But if so, then at least we should admit that this is an enormous ask of Democrats.


Ben Collins/MSNBC:

After Alex Jones’ lawyers accidentally leak years of emails, Infowars financial documents are revealed in court

A lawyer for two parents suing Jones said the emails showed that Infowars at one point in 2018 was making over $800,000 per day.

Mark Bankston, a lawyer for the parents of one of the children killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre and who are now suing Jones, said during the proceedings that “12 days ago, his [Jones’] attorneys messed up and sent me a digital copy of every text” and email from Jones’ phone.

After Bankston told Jones that the Sandy Hook parents’ legal team had access to years of his texts and emails, he asked Jones, “Do you know what perjury is?”

Bankston did not respond to a request for comment. An inquiry to Infowars was not immediately returned. NBC News has not independently acquired or verified the authenticity of the messages discussed by Bankston during Wednesday’s proceedings.

David Byler/WaPo:

Trump is losing ground in the 2024 primary. Here’s why.

Why has Trump’s position deteriorated?

One reason: Trump used to take positions that helped him stand out from other leading Republicans. But he hasn’t done that in 2024. He is focused on the “big lie” — an issue that’s less potent than it appears — and allowed Trumpian alternatives such as DeSantis to gain ground.