Dems’ Abortion Strategy May Backfire in 2024

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I have been petrified that abortion would indeed prove to be the hill we conservatives die on. I’ve spent my entire life steeped in “abortion is just common sense” culture, and I confess that heartbeat laws triggered by the Dobbs decision seem to me to be too absolutist, too fast; they are too much to ask our current libertine society to spin on a dime and accept, let alone approve of.

Last August, I wrote: “The 800-pound elephant in the room is that abortion is still unresolved at the national level and this is costing us the election.” “Abortion aborted the long-promised Red Wave in 2022.” It crushed conservative Ohioans’ attempts to defend the state constitution from a new abortion right — which is now likely to be voted in existence in November.” On November 7, it was. On Election Day 2023, the Democrats also won control of Virginia’s House of Delegates, while maintaining their Senate majority. These victories culminated in an election cycle in which Democrats had made abortion “rights’ their key issue.

In August I said, “For the near future, America is too crowded with weaponized spinsters and bitter crones along with their neutralized allies to not cause significant headaches for Right.” Ohio and Virginia only served as a catalyst for my despair.

Then, on Saturday, something amazing happened in Louisiana: Republicans won all three runoff elections statewide, winning the offices of Attorney General, Secretary of State, and Treasurer (Liz Murrill and Nancy Landry respectively). They also won two-thirds of each of the votes, a resounding win.

This sweep by the Republicans follows last month’s surprise Republican victory of Louisiana Governor’s Office. I wrote at the time that “Democrats were blindsided by an astonishing Republican victory in a contest for chief executive.” The ‘jungle primaries’ in Louisiana for the governor’s office ended on Saturday. Jeff Landry, the state’s Attorney General, won with a majority of 52%, eliminating the need for an election run-off. His victory restores the leadership of the Bayou State back to the Republicans.”

The Louisiana constitution and state law both prohibit abortion. The Shreveport Times complains. The Shreveport Times whines.

Bayou Staters were not done: “And by 2022, Louisiana made all abortions illegal without exception for rape and incest.” Only a fetus which is not viable or the mother’s life can be saved are exceptions. However, critics and doctors say that these exceptions are far too vague to have any effect.

It’s true: the state that includes the Big Easy chose to protect unborn children through legislation. The state then confirmed this stance by giving control of the state to a strong Republican team.

Louisiana isn’t alone in showing signs of hope. Other signs have shown that the abortion dragon may not be as powerful as it seems. Remember that all pro-life governors who signed anti-abortion legislation in their state were re-elected by larger margins last year. The Washington Times did a summary in January of last year (sorry for the long quote, but its length is impressive):

All pro-life governors who ran for reelection this November won with large margins. They did not run from the issue; they took a leadership role on the issue and won.

In Ohio, Gov. Mike DeWine has signed into law a bill that will take effect at the end of 2021. It will impose criminal penalties on doctors for failing to provide medical care when an infant is born after an abortion attempt. In November, DeWine was reelected with 62.8% — more than 2.5 million votes. […]

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem has signed into law a number of pro-life laws during her first term. In November, Kristi Noem received 62% of the votes.

Gov. Ron DeSantis won 59.4% in Florida in November of last year in his bid to be reelected. He signed a law in April that banned abortions after 15 weeks. […]

The Iowa Legislature passed and the Gov. Kim Reynolds, a year after she took office, signed a bill that banned abortions six weeks after conception – when medical professionals can detect the heartbeat of a baby. A judge suspended the law. Ms. Reynolds asked the district court in August to lift the injunction on Iowa’s fetal heartbeat law.

Ms. Reynolds won 58.1% in the November election, with 709 160 votes cast for her. […]

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt, the governor of Oklahoma, signed into law in May the nation’s most strict abortion ban. The law is a total ban on abortions, with very few exceptions. […] He received 55.5% in November compared to 41.8% from his opponent.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott will sign a bill in May 2021. Greg Abbott stated that “the life of every unborn infant with a beating heart will be saved” from abortion.

Mr. Abbott won a third term in November with 54.8%. Beto O’Rourke, a former congressman, raised record amounts of money in his campaign but received only 43.8%.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed legislation that prohibits abortions after a heartbeat has been detected in the womb. This usually occurs at around six weeks. […] Kemp was re-elected with 53.4% or 2,110328 votes.

People with knowledge of such matters tell me that the pro-abortion Ohio initiative was successful largely because the referendum took place in an off-year and the majority of the voters were active supporters. This will not be the case for the 2024 general election in the United States when the turnout is expected to be unprecedented and the issues diverse.

My colleague explained to me the Ohio situation previously:

First, the message about Ohio’s radical abortion amendment was confusing, even from “Catholics” who are pro-abortion. Further, the voter turnout in 2023 was lower than in either 2022 or 2021 (3.86m in 2023 versus 4.2m in 2022 and 597m in 2020).

Many strategists in the back of their minds believe that Republicans must simply get their message right about abortion. I respectfully disagree.

How could Americans not know what abortion is by now? While polls show that the majority of Americans are in favor of a compromise abortion policy, which allows for limited, early abortion, the polarized political situation only offers them a choice between all or nothing. It turns out that in this binary environment, many Americans are comfortable with voting for nothing.