Something up his sleeve
Graham's abortion play is a bid for the future
© 2015 Gage Skidmore used under a Creative Commons license
Lindsey Graham’s anti-abortion legislation once unified the Republican Party. The 15-week abortion ban he pitched Tuesday had the exact opposite effect.
The South Carolina senator chose a uniquely tense moment to unveil his party’s first bill limiting abortion access since this summer’s watershed reversal of Roe v. Wade. It was designed as a nod to anti-abortion activists who have never felt more emboldened. Yet Graham’s bill also attempted to skate past a Republican Party that’s divided over whether Congress should even be legislating on abortion after the Supreme Court struck down a nationwide right to terminate pregnancies.
You might be asking: Why would Lindsay Graham call for a national abortion ban now? It seems… counterproductive.
Since the Dobbs leak that foretold the end of Roe protections for abortion, allowing states to outlaw it entirely, the approval rating for the Supreme Court (the ultra-rightwing’s death-grip on which that decision laid bare) has plummeted so decisively that the Chief Justice recently felt obliged to go out in public and bitch about it.
When Kansas, a very Republican state, held a post-Dobbs referendum on whether to allow a blanket abortion ban in the state, it was blown out by 18 points. Taking the hint, Michigan’s Republican-infested board of state canvassers used a bogus word-spacing issue to block a petition for a similar referendum in November until the state Supreme Court made them accept it.
Blowback from the decision is thought to be behind the recent polling swing toward Democrats in the midterms, which are traditionally difficult for the party in power. As an obvious result even some berserker rightwing candidates like Blake Masters in Arizona are trying to pretend they’re open to compromise on the subject.
So why is Graham fucking this up? There are a few possibilities.
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial
Subscribe to Roy Edroso Breaks It Down to keep reading this post and get 7 days of free access to the full post archives.