Abbreviated Pundit Roundup: Republicans can’t run fast enough from the abortion issue.

The Hill:

GOP struggles to outrun Texas, Supreme Court abortion cases

Across-the-aisle tensions on abortion have been on full display over the last week after the Texas Supreme Court blocked Kate Cox, a pregnant woman whose fetus was diagnosed with a fatal condition, from having an abortion. Cox left the state to obtain an abortion just hours before the Texas court rejected her challenge.

Biden has already sought to wield the case as a cautionary tale against Republicans in power and against the GOP presidential front-runner, former President Trump.

“I don’t think they can escape it,” Republican strategist Liz Mair said of next year’s White House candidates, adding that the recent Texas case underscores the salience of the issue.

Alabamain Sean Lulofs and Iowan Steve Deace have a convo, which Nicholas Grossman frames beautifully:


Let it sink in everywhere.

Greer Donley/New York Times:

What Happened to Kate Cox Is Tragic, and Completely Expected

As someone who has been studying state abortion definitions and exceptions in the wake of Roe v. Wade’s demise, I was not shocked.

The Texas anti-abortion law that went into effect shortly after Roe was overturned was drafted to ban the care needed by Ms. Cox and other women with similar cases: It does not include an exception for fetal anomalies, unlike laws in a handful of other states. The law does have a narrow exception allowing abortions in some medical emergencies, but it is written in such a vague and confusing way that it is difficult for even experts on this topic, like myself, to parse.

What is clear to me is that the Texas Supreme Court would have needed to make a broad and compassionate interpretation of the law for Ms. Cox to meet the high bar of that exception. Instead, the court interpreted the law narrowly — which is exactly what the state lawmakers who passed the legislation were hoping for. And the results have been tragic.

Jonathan V Last/The Bulwark:

The Case for Why Biden Will Win

We’re all gonna make it.

I’ve been feeling more pessimistic than usual, because let’s be honest: Things are not great.

  • There’s a yawning disconnect between voter sentiment and economic reality.

  • The most successful first-term president since either Clinton or H.W. Bush has an impeachment proceeding against him for [reasons] and voters don’t seem to care.

  • Republicans are going to nominate a guy who attempted a coup and now expressly says he’d like to be a dictator.

  • This aspiring dictator is leading the incumbent president in most polls.

  • Ukraine has bogged down, Russia is making small gains, and America is wavering in its support for the most consequential European war since WWII.

But last night on TNB our economist friend Noah Smith made a pretty radical argument:

Even though it feels like we’re in a moment that is outside of historical norms, the long-running dynamics of economics and politics are still at work. And these dynamics suggest that Joe Biden is likely to win reelection.

So let’s unpack Noah’s thesis.


Ronald Brownstein/The Atlantic:

Biden’s Economic Formula to Win in 2024

Could this be the president’s new strategy?

President Joe Biden and Democrats cannot win the debate over the economy without fundamentally reframing the terms of the choice they are offering voters, an extensive new research study by one of the party’s prominent electoral-strategy groups has concluded.

The study, scheduled to be released today, seeks to mitigate one of the party’s most glaring vulnerabilities heading into the 2024 election: the consistent finding in surveys that when it comes to managing the national economy or addressing inflation, significantly more voters express confidence in Republicans than in Democrats.

To close that gap, the study argues, Biden and Democrats must shift the debate from which party is best equipped to grow the overall economy to which side can help families achieve what the report calls a “better life.” The study argues that Democrats can win that argument with a three-pronged message centered on: delivering tangible kitchen-table economic benefits (such as increased federal subsidies for buying health insurance), confronting powerful special interests (such as major corporations), and pledging to protect key personal liberties and freedoms, led by the right to legal abortion.


Republican strategist Jeff Roe quits pro-DeSantis super PAC amid turmoil

Roe announced his resignation late Saturday.

[Ron] DeSantis has been heavily leaning on Never Back Down to oversee his campaign’s functions, including its field deployment.

Why it matters: DeSantis was trying something new—using an outside group and not the campaign for basic campaign blocking and tackling. To abuse a football analogy even further, outsourcing your offensive and defensive lines means there’s no team coordination whatsoever (pretend it’d be illegal to coordinate), and you can imagine how that plays out on the field.

Well, it didn’t work. And DeSantis is is big trouble without a game plan just as Nikki Haley threatens to eclipse him altogether.

See also from Politico: DeSantis on the ropes

David French/New York Times:

To Support Ukraine, Persuade the Elephant

One of the most interesting explorations of the art of persuasion comes from New York University’s Jonathan Haidt, who several years ago described the process of persuasion as well as anyone I know. In his book “The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom,” he compares people’s relation to their emotions to a “rider on the back of an elephant.”

The rider is our rational mind. It’s the part of our brain that deals with facts and reason. It acknowledges, for example, that two plus two equals four, the sky is blue and the Southeastern Conference is the greatest college football conference in the history of the universe.

The elephant is basically everything else about us. As Haidt later explained in an excellent podcast discussion, the elephant represents “99 percent of what’s going on in your mind that you’re not aware of.” By controlling our emotional and social aspects, the elephant controls us far more than we might like; we are, after all, only riders. If the elephant doesn’t want to move, it won’t move. But if the elephant wants to move, as Haidt said on the podcast, “then it is effortless to persuade the rider to go along.” Thus the best way to persuade the elephant and rider to change course is to “reach the elephant first.”

Tom Sullivan/Hullabaloo:

Those Left-To-Right Sliders

What spurs some to lurch right is rejection by the left. Trust me, I’ve heard that one. Some new volunteers are quickly discouraged at not being elevated to positions of prominence and authority in political campaigns that are mostly grunt work directed by the more experienced. Grunt work is beneath their dignity. They are “big ideas” people.

We see something similar among better-knowns of the post-left. 

Cliff Schecter & Stephanie Miller:


Leave a Comment