Political Bullsh!t

This Week in Statehouse Action: Remember the Capitol edition

Voting Stuff: As we observe the dark anniversary of one of the darkest days in American democracy, it’s worth our time to consider what kind of actual anti-democratic laws we can expect to see in the many GOP-controlled legislatures across the country.

Campaign Action

Fresh off of the 2020 cycle, many Republican-run states (Georgia and Texas, most notoriously) passed new laws aimed at making voting more difficult for certain demographic groups that tend to not vote for Republicans.

We can actually expect things to be a little quieter on that front this year.


States that could do it already did.

GOP trifectas + election trends that worry Republicans (e.g. Georgia electing two Democratic U.S. senators and going for the Democratic presidential candidate and increasingly blue cities and suburbs in Texas) led to some diabolical new voting restrictions last year.

But Republican-controlled legislatures in several key battleground states that wanted to implement similar measures were hamstrung by Democratic governors: Pennsylvania, Michigan, North Carolina, and Wisconsin, most notably.

This is not to say that Republicans in Texas, Georgia, Arizona, Florida, Ohio, and beyond won’t get creative this year and concoct fun new ways to curb ballot box access for certain voters.

But a lot of damage has already been done in these places, and Republicans in those states with Democratic governors are just as constrained this year as last.

Instead, Republicans hope that elections this year will produce GOP governors in Pennsylvania, Michigan, North Carolina, and Wisconsin.

Less-gerrymandered maps in Pennsylvania and Michigan create an additional hurdle for Rs in those states, but absent any 2022 chamber flips in Pennsylvania, Michigan, North Carolina, or Wisconsin, capturing any of those governorships gives the GOP plenty of time to change election rules in their favor ahead of 2024.

Reproductive Rights: This is another area where no one should underestimate Republicans’ creativity.

Every GOP-controlled state already has draconian abortion restrictions enshrined in state law but with the U.S. Supreme Court considering a case that could well spell the end of Roe v. Wade and access to safe, legal abortion across large swaths of the country, they might just go HAM on us.

  • This case (Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization) concerns a 2018 Mississippi law that bans abortion at 15 weeks “except in a medical emergency or in the case of a severe fetal abnormality.”
    • … which has reproductive freedom advocates are extremely worried.
      • That “15 weeks” metric means that the Mississippi law applies even before the fetus is “viable” (capable of surviving outside the uterus), which makes this case an appealing vehicle to the 6-3 conservative SCOTUS majority to overturn existing precedent that an abortion patient gets to make the final decision whether to “terminate her pregnancy before viability.”
  • This case potentially provides SCOTUS with a vehicle to overrule Roe v. Wade in its entirety and permit outright bans on abortion.
  • And yes, as an erudite consumer of this missive, you probably already know that, if bans on abortion were to become constitutional, they’d go into effect immediately in the eight states that retain enforceable pre-Roe abortion bans in their code:
    • Alabama
    • Arizona
    • Arkansas
    • Michigan
    • Mississippi
    • Oklahoma
    • West Virginia
    • Wisconsin.
  • Also, 12 states have laws on their books that would trigger automatic bans on abortion if Roe were overturned:
    • Arkansas
    • Idaho
    • Kentucky
    • Louisiana
    • Mississippi
    • Missouri
    • North Dakota
    • Oklahoma
    • South Dakota
    • Tennessee
    • Texas
    • Utah.

And as an erudite consumer of this missive, you also probably don’t need me to point out that the thing that all of these states have in common is a GOP-controlled legislature.

That doesn’t leave a ton of space for GOP-trifecta states to get up to no good with reproductive rights, but definitely keep an eye on spots like Ohio, Wyoming, Kansas, Indiana, New Hampshire, Iowa, Florida, and Georgia to get up to some abortion-banning shit this year.

Because we’re absolutely living in a world where Democratic-majority state legislatures might soon be our last and only hope for protecting reproductive freedom and women’s right to exercise autonomy over our own bodies.

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