And exposes Republicans' own 'coalition brain' problem
I wasn't surprised by the Kansas result, but I am a bit shocked by how in denial some anti-abortion types seem today. It's hard to work out how much of it is performative versus how much of it is real. There have already been some vivid examples of how draconian and cruel these near-total bans are in the past several weeks. Did conservatives really believe those weren't going to resonate? Had they actually truly convinced themselves that the general public was going to be like, "Yup, totally fine with forcing a ten-year-old rape victim to give birth?"
If so, this is definitely one of the more dramatic examples of getting high on your own supply that I've seen.
I'm not sure it will work at all, but Yang's Forward Party merger with two small center-right third parties is also a symptom of people's reluctance to work with a Trumpified GOP — lots of politically-minded people want to work with a sane and competitive center-right GOP in the future, but that means working with an insane ideologically-incoherent GOP today. Faced with that choice, it's not weird that some will just defect and take their chances, slim as they might be, on a new party without the branding issues.
70+% of Americans share the same general attitudes towards abortion rights/regulation. The Kansas result is an appropriate reflection of such a stance.
But yet again, news coverage seems dominated by pro-choice advocates clamoring that "this result proves Americans want unfettered access to abortion!" and refusing to consider further nuance. Not constructive whatsoever.
Pro-life advocates subsequently pouting and refusing to recognize the mass of (potential) allies who simply refuse to die on the "Life begins at conception. Hard Stop. No exceptions." hill. All in on the All-Or-Nothing approach. Not constructive whatsoever.
In the end - as we see with so many advocacy efforts - they'll ensure their own long-term viability by ignoring realistic solutions and forever engaging the "struggle!" for the absolutes of their perfected outcomes. The exhausted middle majorities deserve a break.
As to the DCCC meddling...
Not a fan. The Democrats are placing a huge bet on the fact that a vast number of independents will suddenly invert their "A lesser of two evils/South Park-esque Douche-vs-Turd Sandwich" approach to voting. What got Donald Trump elected. A lot of people who essentially just wanted to push their vote away from what they perceive as a far left, drifting farther by the minute, Democratic Party. Do they make life harder for such voters by putting their candidate up against a Trumpy loon? Sure.
Are we yet in a world where those folks are bankable D votes? Not so sure.
In such case where the Trumpy loons best chance to lose is in their own primary (Same bodes for D Trump??), the potential outcomes are unsettling. Moreso because the DCCC bankrolled it all.
I find your commentary on the upsides for DCCC meddling depressing...but it sounds right. Ugh. So does this also mean that D’s can allow the party to continue to drift into the gravitational field of the very progressive caucus, no longer worried about losing elections to moderate, electable republicans?
Re: The DCCC's strategy on Meijer / Gibbs / et al.. I'll preface this by saying that I think this is a risky strategy and one that I probably wouldn't have made. However, there's been a lot of talk about how this is proof that Dem's don't actually view Gibbs and his ilk as serious threats, and thus Dem's don't *really* care about democracy, and it's all politics, etc. etc.. I don't think this is the case. While I don't know what goes on inside the DCCC headquarters, I suspect the people there ARE disturbed by Gibbs et al., but have come to the following conclusion:
There really aren't very many Peter Meijer's in the GOP. There ARE a lot of Gibbs. Thus, risking adding one more Gibbs to an already Gibbs-heavy pool doesn't meaningfully change the GOPs ability to do the terrible things that faction of the party are intent on doing anyway. And, of course, the upsides to removing Meijer's is that increases the chances that you'll have one more D seat. In an election year that will either be a blow out or incredibly close, this means that every seat count. All of which is to say that this strategy - while risky and ethically complicated - feels like a rational cost / benefit analysis for the DCCC to make.
Happy to hear opposing views though.
Extremely disappointed in Kansas. The wording on the ballot was confusing and actually had a type-o. Josh, you're completely right; the Democratic messaging and ads were indeed smart, even if they were fear-mongering. Scare tactics work, and they did here. Republicans should learn some difficult lessons from this. I'm interested to see how each side responds moving forward.
I think one strategy for Republicans is to do what you've called Democrats to do. Get them to vote on popular restrictions. For many, including myself, the desire is for much greater restrictions than in Europe, but force Democrats to either agree with restrictions or take a more politically unpopular stance.
Good article. One reason for people who care about Democratic political party health not to engage in this strategy is that it makes it harder for them to cure the sickness in your own party. The thrust of the Democratic Party response to Republican-crazy town antics is to see it as an opportunity to move farther from popularism and moderation on the idea that Republicans are too bleeping crazy to vote for so conflicted voters will have to vote for us. And that strategy has not been an unmitigated success.
Granted, I’ve never voted for a major party candidate. So my advice may not be worth much.
As a reader in Missouri I can confirm, Eric won.
How sad it is that we can't have a 3rd option that recognizes the value of both lives at stake here.
The abortionists can't admit the baby is a human because their argument completely collapses.
If the militant lifers admit the mother's life is of equal importance to the baby's their argument collapses.
We would be interesting to see an exit poll about how those who voted against in Kansas actually see themselves.
I suspect it is more subtle than just pro-abortion or pro-life.
My greatest fear about trump is the single-party government he is creating for the democrats.
A dominant single-party, either republican or democrat, will be a disaster given the polarized political world we are in today.
We will swirl into a world of autocracy .... by another name maybe.
Yes, will be the next generation or the generation after .... but it's a scary proposition for someone who has enjoyed the benefits of this already great country.
If you are a party member (isn't that a term used elsewhere in the world?) you are looking forward to a country dominated by your political persuasion.
I am not.
On a side note .... a Thought Exercise.
I would suggest that most folks that opposed Bernie's democratic socialist ideas were not against socialism as much as they are opposed to autocratic rule. After all, that is what we most often "see" when the examples of socialist countries are presented.
Give it some thought.
Bernie's message was OK (after all, we already have many of his notions in place) it is the messaging that misses the mark.
FYI .... I'm no Bern Fan .... but the ideas are not too far off.