Democrats: Transform Anger Over Abortion Rights Into Votes
The party has a golden opportunity to turn this despicable assault on a woman's right to choose into something positive.
by Ben Cohen
The news that the Supreme Court is set to scupper abortion rights in America has shocked the nation. For those who have been paying attention however, the news is far less surprising.
The Right has been planning this for decades, carefully and relentlessly chipping away at American democracy so they can have minority rule with impunity. The Guardian’s Rebecca Solnit correctly describes it as a “death of a thousand cuts” and “the cumulative impact of voter ID laws, the shuttering of polling places,” and “restrictions on voting by mail”.
We have been covering this for years at The Banter, urging Americans to pay attention to what was happening to their democracy and highlighting right wing extremism as best we could.
It was not enough.
Time to fight
Winston Churchill was famously quoted as saying “that Americans will always do the right thing, only after they have tried everything else”.
History appears to corroborate this observation. Americans were late to ending slavery, late to joining World War II, late to enforcing Civil Rights for African Americans, and late to joining crucial global environmental agreements, and even late to booting out wannabe dictators. America was also relatively late to enacting abortion rights, but true to form, it got there in the end (but only after Mexico, the Soviet Union, Poland, Iceland, Sweden, Norway, the UK, Canada, Singapore, and India).
Americans can prevent the Supreme Court overturning decades of progress on women’s reproductive rights, but only if they get out and vote in the midterm elections to ensure Democrats remain firmly in control of all branches of government. If and when that happens, there must be a huge campaign to make abortion a right by law.
Congress can solve this
Congress is perfectly entitled to do what the Supreme Court has up until now mandated, although the path to getting there would be extremely difficult. Sen. Chuck Schumer has already stated he will be bringing legislation to a vote that would codify a woman’s right to an abortion, but he does not have the 60 votes needed to bring up the House bill for consideration. This could be bypassed if he could change the filibuster rules, but Sen. Joe Manchin has been clear he will not budge on his opposition to changing the filibuster.
As it stands, the Democrats have few tools left to fight this stunning assault on a woman’s right to choose.
The answer then is clear: get a bigger majority in the Senate, repeal the filibuster, then have Democratic controlled Congress pass a law. President Biden has confirmed the White House believes this is the only viable strategy too, releasing a statement yesterday saying that: “We will need more pro-choice Senators and a pro-choice majority in the House to adopt legislation that codifies Roe, which I will work to pass and sign into law.”
Don’t blame Democrats
The Left in America specializes in circular firing squads and has become so embroiled in internecine warfare that it often fails to act in a unified way to defeat the growing fascist threat in America.
Predictably, the hard Left is now expending extraordinary amounts of energy blaming Democrats for the Supreme Court’s decision to end women’s reproductive rights, even taking President Obama to task for not signing a bill that had zero chance of passing when he came to office in 2008:
It is worth noting that even abortion rights group NARAL Pro-Choice America stated that: "With respect to the Freedom of Choice Act, President Obama can't move this bill on his own and, despite our prochoice gains in the last two elections, we don't have the votes in Congress necessary to pass the legislation at this point”.
Rather than fight pointless battles with people already committed to expanding women’s reproductive rights, the Left needs to get its act together and get voters to the polls in November of this year.
Damn the polls
Polls show Republicans having an edge when it comes to taking back the House and the Senate this year. Polls also show that abortion rights aren’t a big priority for voters either.
But that is because Americans haven’t lived in a country without abortion rights for the past 50 years.
If Democrats can unify on this issue and effectively communicate to the public what this means, then all bets are off. Americans believe Roe vs Wade should be upheld by a 2:1 margin, and if it suddenly disappears, that majority could get even bigger. People generally don’t like having rights taken away from them, and that could help combat voter apathy heading into November.
Without massive voter turnout, there is no way Democrats can stop the Supreme Court overturning Roe vs Wade. No amount of protesting, shouting on Twitter, or funding of pro-choice groups will make any difference whatsoever.
Just as Americans stopped a madman overthrowing 244 years of democracy in 2020, they can stop a cabal of radical right wing extremists making abortion illegal in 2022. They just have to vote for it.
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Letters To The Editor: Toxic Twitter, Falling Out With MAGA Family And Making Friends With Neocons
Welcome to the latest installment of our Letters To The Editor feature for Banter Members!
A reader responds to Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter:
I can see this coming from a 100 miles away. If Musk does end up buying Twitter the right, who are already praising him despite the purchase not even close to being finalized, will flip on him the nanosecond he puts the kibosh on some horrible thing a person from the right tweets out. That WILL happen. Then he'll be called a liberal shill and part of the child abusing cabal who's really a lizard man from beneath the Denver airport wearing an itchy skin suit. I have a question for The Banter team. In the podcast it was mentioned that at some rally it was stated that people were expressing their desire to kill off liberals that enjoyed baby milkshakes and so on. Given the trajectory of politics and ultra right wing groups and their cultish adherence to shockingly awful disinformation, do you think it's fait accompli that there will be an incidence of severe violence across the U.S. or an incident that is so undeniably egregious (assassination, bombing, gassing, etc)- as if the terrorist attack on the Capitol wasn't enough- it really does snap people back to the reality of facts...that even the likes of Fox "News" is shamed into sobriety?
Great question. Sadly, I don’t think any act of violence, no matter how egregious it is, will bring the far right back from the brink. This is a country where elementary school children can be blown to pieces with high powered military weapons, and the Right refuses to even entertain changing gun laws….
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Bob, there comes a point when we must assess what reality is, and what our wishs are. The Ds have had two or the three branches under their control. They have accomplished little in terms of anything that they can hang their hat on.
The problem we face is that their behavior or.lack thereof suggests to your averags voter that they wont do anything even if they have 60 votes. Look at what Obama got done last time they did: ACA. That was a Republican plan. And while it definitely helpa some, it isn't something akin to Medicare, which helps everyone. People believe, rightly, that something so important to our society most likely could never happen because the Ds wont do it because they have proven they have little interest in it. And they never will primarily I believe because they are unafraid, believing, rightly to this point, that they are opposition to R fascism, so they dont have to do much in our system but be that.
And when they lose, which is fine for some of the permanent fixtures of blueland, they csn fundraise as a resistence that has and will refrain from actually doing anything once in power. Beyond tax cuts, thats Rs game too. And we are trapped by a duoply. So people, seeing nothing happening, give up and don't vote, which benefits the party of destruction, the Rs. They problem I always have with the "Vote Blue No Matter What" rara is that it lacks any demand that anything be done. And so, not demanded or fearful of the consequences of inaction, the Ds feel insultated in their limpness, protected by demands like yours.
I want a healthier politic. I want a party that fights and goes all out in support of the people. Climate change will end us all. It should be the top priority, pass no matter if you have to shake filibuster reform out of everyone so it can, but has that happened? No. Always an excuse. So, again I state that you need to demand more of Ds. Fear tactics to.get people to vote for nothing just don't work.
"If Democrats can unify on this issue and effectively communicate to the public.."
Alas, both are very big ifs.
As often noted, Democrats and the Left excel at failing to use the advantages they have. Whether due to the incredibly naïve notion that Republicans and the Right can be reasoned with, or an infantile petulance that they get everything they want, Dems and the Left have largely continued to just stand by and not fight back.