When the history of the 2022 election is finally written, the greatest miscalculation the Republican Party may have ever made could well be encapsulated in the SCOTUS decision on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. In the interval between the Wall Street Journal’s March 2022 poll and its most recent poll, women registered as independents have shifted in the direction of the Democrats by a whopping 20 points.
Before you discount that little statistic as merely one demographic shift in one poll, consider this: the first glimpse of post-Dobbs politics was the wave of voters in the heavily Republican state of Kansans who turned out in August. An unprecedented number of Kansans voted against a constitutional amendment that would have allowed lawmakers to end abortion protections. The Republican war against women — exemplified by their zeal to repeal Roe v. Wade — has finally come back to firmly bite them on the ass.
Historically, Republican virtue signalling about abortion has always been controversial. On paper, “protecting babies” looked reasonably good. But the sinister and true intent behind the claim — control of women and women’s bodies — coupled with Republican indifference to the welfare of the post-born has not served the Republican agenda well. The fundamentalist ban on abortion as co-opted by the Republican Party always included the Trojan Horse in the anti-abortion movement. The cause has always carried with it the seeds of its own destruction.
The consequence could be devastating for the Republican Party — and they know it. References to their SCOTUS “triumph” have been quietly removed from Republican websites across the country. Republicans have stopped openly crowing about their “victory over Roe.”
Today Republicans are pivoting to their old tried and true policy of scare-mongering about brown people crossing the border. Their chants of “let’s go Brandon” have little effect. Meanwhile, “Brandon” is celebrating an enormous slate of legislative triumphs while overseeing an economy that’s booming again, with unprecedented jobs being added and gas prices falling daily.
But let’s not be complacent. Principles of war often apply in politics, and a retreating enemy must be chased down and finished off. We must seize this moment to make certain that Republicans remain defeated. We must increase our own efforts to bring as many people to the polls as possible in November.
I’ll be voting from England in my last state of residence, the critical battleground state of Pennsylvania, and I’ll be encouraging all expats to vote as well. Every vote counts. Make sure that you vote, bring people with you to the polls, contribute financially to critical campaigns and add your voice to the growing number of voices who are outraged by Republican fascism. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.