Democrats are rushing to put abortion measures on the ballot in Arizona, Nevada, and Florida in a strategy dubbed by Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff “Dobbs and Democracy.”
“In private and with a group of abortion-rights organizers in Miami last month, Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff has described Democrats’ path to victory in 2024 as “Dobbs and Democracy,” according to two people familiar with his comments,” Axios reported.
While this is being reported as a response to Tuesday’s success, obviously Emhoff’s comments were a month old, but no doubt Democratic operatives are seeing an opportunity here that they might not have grasped previously.
Advocates tell Axios they are also eying up Nebraska and South Dakota and “groups also are working to enshrine abortion access in Colorado’s state constitution, while ending restrictions on the use of public funds to pay for abortions.”
There are issues with this strategy, mostly because Republican dominated states can make it difficult to impossible to get a measure on the ballot. But the piece also describes activists in Florida trying to get national Democrats more involved.
As I said in our podcast, I attribute so much of the success of the Ohio One measure to activists, and more broadly, to the steadfast model laid out by Black women across the country. The Democratic Party hasn’t been as engaged in ballot measures. But they have been working harder to get out the vote, and have relentless state party machines in some states.
Axios underscored the backlash Republicans haven’t managed well yet, “(T)he anti-abortion movement is struggling to deal with the backlash — and Republicans don’t seem close to finding a winning message on the issue.”
Yesterday, NBC reported a memo circulating among Republicans suggesting they simply need to explain their position more, by lying about the Democratic position and current laws and smearing women as gallivanting off to get an abortion right before they’re due to give birth, which is a thing that no woman is doing willingly and is a disgusting attack on women as a whole.
Chris Christie tried those “new” talking points out and it didn’t go well. Partly it didn’t go well because these talking points are not actually new. Christie just brought an extra dose of entitlement and outrage to them, which only served to highlight that while he was outraged that Mika questioned his lies about women, he feels completely entitled to lie about women and question their medical autonomy.
Axios presented abortion measures as a saving grace for a president and party struggling with “bleak polling” and “uninspired voters.” Certainly, abortion on the ballot is a get out the vote tool like none other.
The only surprise here would be if the Democratic Party were smart enough to use abortion as a get out the vote tool, as they consistently overestimate voters’ understanding of the positive policies they’ve implemented and get lost in the weeds, buried under thousands of pages of legislation they’re trying to tell people about. The sad truth is, most voters don’t know and don’t care. And that’s why people will vote against their own interests regularly.
As we discussed after Ohio passed the abortion amendment, the Democratic Party has been given the gift of President Biden’s policies under which to run. It’s also fair to say that not everyone responds to the abortion issue.
But across party lines, protecting abortion access is a proven winner. A reliable majority have so far shown up to protect abortion.
This was not only predictable but now that Roe has been overturned, the problem for Republicans on abortion is the nation is watching the gruesome results of their policy and suddenly understand the entire reason abortion was made legal in the first place.
While there isn’t any good news about the overturning of Roe, one thing it inadvertently did was wake up the electorate to the loss of freedom posed by an increasingly authoritarian Republican Party. And that’s not just on abortion, but they are trying to control what people read, what words they can use — it’s become dystopian.
The overturning of Roe might actually turn out to save democracy. It’s very difficult to awaken a complacent citizenry, but once you do, they will fight for their freedom.
Listen to Sarah on the PoliticusUSA Pod on The Daily newsletter podcast here.
Sarah has been credentialed to cover President Barack Obama, then VP Joe Biden, 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, and exclusively interviewed Speaker Nancy Pelosi multiple times and exclusively covered her first home appearance after the first impeachment of then President Donald Trump.
Sarah is two-time Telly award winning video producer and a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.