Republicans Super Sad Kansans Voted Down Abortion Ban, Boo Hoo

On Tuesday, voters in Kansas told rightwing forced birthers to go suck fertilized eggs, overwhelmingly rejecting an amendment to the state constitution that would have allowed the Republican-controlled state Legislature to outlaw abortion in the state. Kansas remains a very solidly red state overall, but Tuesday’s 59 percent to 41 percent vote, in a primary election that would normally have very low turnout, has a lot or Republicans coming up with excuses, or suggesting that maybe the party should reconsider its stance on abortion — not so much by moderating the party’s absolutist opposition to abortion, but by talking about something else as loudly as possible.

WOULD YOU LIKE TO KNOW MORE? Kansas Voters Just Told Anti-Abortion Republicans To Eat Bag Of Dicks, AND HOW!

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) said Wednesday the vote was “definitely a wake-up call for us,” although HuffPost doesn’t report what he thought Republicans ought to do once they stumble out of bed and step in the pile of cat vomit their anti-abortion position is. Thom Tillis (R-North Carolina) was also pretty surprised, albeit just as unable to articulate what the rejection of the GOP anti-abortion agenda might mean for Republicans: “Kansas, which is a pretty red state ― it’s hard to find the words. I think people should look at it.”

How true this is!

Sen. James Lankford (R-Oklahoma) took the time-honored position that this means absolutely nothing for Republican prospects in the midterms, because Kansas is just so completely different from the American mainstream, yeah, that’s the ticket:

I would caution trying to be able to evaluate this is where the nation is, based on that particular state and based on how it was raised […] This actually was going onto the ballot before the Dobbs decision even came out … so this is a very early indicator.

He does have sort of a point: Kansas Republicans put the issue on the ballot in an August primary election when they figured most voters wouldn’t notice, and when the turnout would normally be mostly Republican activists who were already more conservative than the state as a whole.

The measure was titled “Value Them Both,” as in both ladies and zygotes are both equally human, so gosh, shouldn’t we value all life, that’s nice! To add to the confusion, the language of on the ballot was deliberately confusing, making it sound like a “yes” vote might protect abortion rights somehow.

To the extent permitted by the constitution of the United States, the people, through their elected state representatives and state senators, may pass laws regarding abortion, including, but not limited to, laws that account for circumstances of pregnancy resulting from rape or incest, or circumstances of necessity to save the life of the mother.

You had to read the brief explanation of the measure somewhat carefully to realize that “yes” would open the door to banning abortion, while “no” means that the right to abortion would stay protected.

Of course, once the Supreme Court ruled in the Dobbs case, that bit of artifice was blown away, and voters knew damn well what the referendum meant, even though a GOP-aligned PAC flat-out lied in text messages aimed at confusing voters by claiming, “Voting YES on the Amendment will give women a choice. Vote YES to protect women’s health.”

Hilariously, serial idiot Erick Erickson tried to claim on Twitter yesterday that the strategic obfuscation in the ballot’s language had confused good decent God-fearing abortion foes astray, because maybe a whole lot of his fellow rightwingers showed up at the polls without knowing what the referendum was about:

How many Kansans who are generally pro-life but not plugged in went to the polls, read the ballot language, and thought, “Shit, I don’t want to let the legislature pass abortion laws. I’m pro-life.”

Mmm-hmm, very plausible.

Christian nationalist Matt Schlapp had an even more far-fetched explanation for the vote: True Christians rejected the referendum because it included the exceptions for rape or incest, and obviously the amendment would have passed if only it contained no exceptions at all. In reply to a tweet saying that the vote posed a “massive new problem” for the GOP, Shlapp explained,

This is a false analysis. Kansas is a strongly pro life state that does not want to take timid steps as VTB was. Ironically the pro choice crowd in Kansas should have embraced VTB as it is the best case scenario for them.

But sure, if Schlapp wants Kansas to try again with another ballot measure that’s even worse for women, we suppose they’re welcome to try. Maybe they could state plainly what what the results would be (“A yes vote will ban all abortions with no exceptions”) and put it on the ballot during the general election while they’re at it.

Over at the National Review, an editorial insisted that the “lesson of Kansas”isn’t that voters want abortion to remain legal. Heck no! It’s just that the referendum should have clearly stated there would be exceptions for rape or incest (it kind of did), and that “if pro-lifers don’t define their position, their opponents and the media will define it for them.”

Mind you, such exemptions, no matter how limited they may be, are simply unacceptable to most anti-abortion activists, who know that if you allow any exceptions at all, evil women and doctors will sneak some abortions through, probably while cackling at how they got away with it.

For many Republicans, the real lesson of the Kansas vote is that they should probably just not mention what their actual anti-abortion agenda is at all. Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Missouri) explained yesterday that the way to win on the issue of abortion is to hammer Joe Biden on the economy, which will be “the biggest motivator” for midterm voters. Similarly, goofball rightwing columnist Henry Olsen lamented in the Washington Post yesterday that Republicans are blowing the chance to make 2022 a referendum on Joe Biden because they keep admitting what they actually think. The GOP, he said, should

Defer important questions about what the GOP intends to do with its power until after the election and simply reap the rewards that accrue from running against an historically unpopular president.

After all, why would Republicans want to risk losing by being open about what they want to do?

[HuffPo / Kansas City Star / WaPo / National Review / Photo: Hillel Steinberg, Creative Commons License 2.0]

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