The Republican Party has serious life and death issues

RASHMEE ROSHAN LALL September 5, 2021

The United States Supreme Court. Just days ago, the Supreme Court declined to block a Texas law that bans abortion after the sixth week of pregnancy and empowers private citizens to sue anyone who helps a woman get an abortion after that time. The move is seen as the first salvo in what is likely to be a series of pitched battles on the issue between now and the 2022 midterm elections.

At last, some reporting on how the Texas law, which effectively bans most abortions, will affect the Republican Party’s electoral prospects.

Bloomberg says (paywall) that it could be bad news for the Republicans in terms of their standing with college-educated suburban voters.

The story adds that the Texas “law, and a possible reactive wave of abortion bans in other conservative states, risks driving away Americans who have stuck with Republicans because of economic issues just as the GOP begins its campaign to retake control of the House and Senate in the 2022 midterms”.

Well, exactly.

I have long wondered what effect the Republican Party’s anti-liberal legislative attempts across the country will have on its prospects. When it continues to win elections (really win, I mean, not just gerrymander seats or claim the election was stolen) you have to conclude that there must be broad support for its policy positions.

Often, there is.

But the Texas law seems to the thin end of the wedge for many voters.

Bloomberg quotes Sarah Longwell, publisher of the Bulwark, an anti-Donald Trump conservative news and opinion site to say that “Republicans are already hemorrhaging college-educated suburban voters” and the abortion issue further alienates them.

We could see some of this dynamic play out in states across the country with the president of the Florida Senate hailing Texas’s “new approach” and recommending a look-see to do something similar in Florida.

For those not entirely au fait with the Texas law, it contains a judicial innovation that has allowed it to stand despite it being a direct challenge to the 1973 Roe v. Wade, which held that women have a constitutional right to abortion.

The judicial innovation is as follows: it does not set any Texas government official as the enforcer of the ban on abortions past six weeks. Instead, the whole world – anyone within or without the state of Texas – can be an enforcer. Anyone can sue anyone who they think is aiding and abetting the provision of an abortion. And there are rich pickings to be had. The bounty-hunter gets $10,000.

A quite dreadful law, with implications that go much beyond Texas as well as abortion rights for women in America’s second most populous state.