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The prospects for restoring Roe

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If the leaked draft Supreme Court opinion overturning Roe v. Wade becomes finalized, the prospects for restoring national abortion rights protections in the near term are grim.

The medium- and longer-term prospects, though, are … still grim, but slightly less so.

Justice Samuel Alito’s draft opinion would lift the Court’s prohibition of state laws banning abortion, ending a status quo that has held for nearly 50 years. The Court’s conservative majority looks entrenched, for now. But the political situation can change over time, and in unexpected ways, though it could take years or even decades for the right circumstances to arise.

There are three basic scenarios by which Roe’s protections could be restored — none of which are particularly likely, but none of which are outright impossible either.

One goes through the Supreme Court: Future liberal appointees could just, well, put Roe back. A second goes through Congress: A bigger Democratic majority could either overcome the filibuster (if they have 60 votes) or vote to eliminate it with a majority, opening the way to codify Roe in law or even pack the courts.

Both paths require Democrats to win more elections. Appointing any justice will likely require the presidency and Senate control. Passing new laws would require a bigger Senate majority and holding the House as well.

It may sound banal to say, as President Joe Biden has, that the best hope abortion rights supporters have for restoring Roe’s protections is keeping Democrats in control of the presidency and Congress, with as big majorities as possible. But it’s pretty clearly true.

It’s also easier said than done. Democrats’ current voter coalition is disadvantaged in the Electoral College and the Senate map. And if new Court appointments or new laws restore Roe, the next time Republicans regain power, they’d have the same tools — they could appoint new justices or even ban abortion nationally if the filibuster is gone.

A third scenario, though, would involve a change in the Republican Party. The GOP could calculate, due to a public opinion backlash or electoral defeats, that they need to moderate on abortion.

That’s certainly not going to happen in the foreseeable future; it would have to be a long-term transformation. But it’s really the only chance for national abortion protections to be durably reestablished, because their seeming safety over the past 50 years was always illusory so long as the GOP was gunning for them.

Scenario 1: Fill naturally occurring Court vacancies

Roe is set to be overturned by a majority of five Supreme Court justices, and it could be put back by another majority. To get there, Democrats would have to replace at least one, and probably two, conservative justices with liberal ones.

The problem is that conservative justices will try not to retire while Democrats are in power. So this path would rely partly on chance (when justices happen to die or become otherwise unable to serve). Yes, these are the grim calculations that the Supreme Court’s lifetime appointments incentivize.

But it’s not entirely chance. It’s also about electoral performance — who holds the presidency and the Senate when justices die or step down. For instance, Thurgood Marshall, a liberal justice appointed in 1967, had hoped to be replaced by a Democratic president. But Republicans won the 1980, 1984, and 1988 elections, he decided his health couldn’t hold out any longer, and in 1991 he was replaced by Justice Clarence Thomas.

The more a party wins, the better the odds an unexpected Supreme Court vacancy will arise while they’re in power. This means holding the presidency, and likely nowadays it means holding the Senate too — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s Republican majority blocked President Barack Obama from replacing the late Justice Antonin Scalia.

Republicans assembled their anti-Roe majority by waiting for these vacancies to arise and acting aggressively when they did. They got Neil Gorsuch confirmed instead of Merrick Garland, made sure Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed before the 2018 midterms could have lost them the Senate, and voted up Amy Coney Barrett just over a month after Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died.

But this is hardly a quick fix — it took nearly 50 years for Republicans to get this five-vote anti-Roe bloc. So Democrats could be waiting a while, too. After Justice Stephen Breyer steps down this summer, there will be no more octogenarians on the Court, and its oldest justices will be Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, who are 73 and 72, respectively.

Democrats can maximize their chances of having power at the right time by holding the presidency and Senate as long as possible, but there’s no guarantee the opportunities will arise any time soon. And the more elections Republicans win — allowing them to replenish their aging conservative justices with younger ones — the further these prospects will recede.

Still, things can change quickly. As late as early November 2016, it seemed plausible, and perhaps even likely, that Roe was safe and liberals were on the cusp of their first outright Supreme Court majority in decades. But Trump won, Republicans held the Senate, and Ginsburg died, so here we are.

Scenario 2: Act through Congress by abolishing the filibuster

So rather than simply waiting, perhaps forever, the other path is for Democrats to act through Congress by passing new laws. This could be an abortion-specific law codifying Roe’s protections (though that would have to survive this Supreme Court). Or, congressional Democrats could pack the Supreme Court, as some progressives want — expanding its size and filling new slots with liberals.

Democrats won’t be able to do either of these right away, though, for the same reason: the Senate’s filibuster rule, and moderate Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema’s insistence on keeping that rule.

It takes 60 votes to advance legislation through the Senate unless it’s a budgetary bill, which neither of these proposals would be. If Democrats managed to regain a 60-vote Senate majority, as they briefly had in 2009 and early 2010, they could overcome the filibuster and pass new laws. (Probably 61 would be needed if Manchin, who is likely not a reliable vote on measures protecting abortion rights, is still around.) But it would be tremendously difficult to win so many seats, especially since the party faces a structural disadvantage in the Senate map.

Alternatively, a smaller Democratic majority could deploy what’s known as the “nuclear option” to change Senate rules and get rid of the filibuster with just their majority (50 votes plus the vice president). But this current Congress has failed to get that done — Manchin and Sinema have refused pressures to do this since their party took power.

Theoretically, if Democrats managed to expand their majority by two more Senate seats, they could move forward with a rules change — unless another moderate suddenly comes down with a case of cold feet. Alternatively, if a future Republican Senate abolishes the filibuster, Democrats would be able to pass abortion protections next time they’re in power.

Yet if the filibuster is abolished by either party, Republicans would be able to pass laws with a simple majority when they’re in power, too. They could at the very least reverse any Democratic law establishing abortion protections, and at most try to ban abortion nationwide. If Democrats expand the court, the GOP could expand it further.

So congressional action wouldn’t result in a durable restoration of Roe unless Democrats can manage to keep holding onto Congress. That will prove quite difficult, particularly in the Senate. Democrats have the narrowest possible Senate majority right now, but their voter coalition is not well distributed for the Senate map, where they could well fall into a deep disadvantage in the coming years. Again, their way to maximize their chances of success is by winning more of these elections, but that’s quite difficult.

Scenario 3: Shift the GOP’s position by winning the war of public opinion

Though abortion rights activists were well aware for years of the danger Roe was in, less-engaged American liberals may have simply taken it for granted, assuming it would be around forever. It had survived for so long, after all, so it would probably keep surviving, right?

But this safety was an illusion because abortion rights had never won the truly widespread public support it would take to entrench them nationally. Many conservatives continued to argue that abortion was deeply wrong and Roe should be overturned, and one of the country’s two major political parties has been committed to that viewpoint for decades.

Indeed, Roe was very nearly overturned three decades ago, in 1992, but conservatives on the Court fell one vote short of a majority to do so because moderate Republican-appointed justices voted with their more liberal colleagues. Anti-abortion activists then spent the next three decades trying to make sure that would never happen again. Their success in creating an anti-Roe Court majority certainly wasn’t inevitable — it took a very long time and required a good deal of good luck — but they do now seem to have achieved it.

The reality, then, is that even if Democrats do somehow manage to restore Roe’s protections nationally, all that would be subject to reversal the next time Republicans hold power. The Court could swing back and forth based on new appointments. Or, if Democrats eliminate the filibuster and codify Roe or pack the Court, Republicans could reverse those measures or enact further-right measures (say, with a national abortion ban) next time they’re in charge.

The only way to pull out of this spiral would be if anti-abortion activists lose their hold on the Republican Party, and probably on the Republican electorate too. Perhaps a national backlash against the GOP for overreaching on abortion will materialize, and they’ll feel compelled to moderate their position or lose power. Or perhaps even the red-state public, once abortion restrictions are implemented and their effects become clear, will grow convinced they actually aren’t desirable.

At the moment, such a scenario seems far-fetched, bordering on impossible. And maybe it is. But in the long term, that’s what would be needed to entrench abortion protections nationally. If a public opinion shift doesn’t happen, Roe protections, even if they are restored, would never truly be safe.

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Kellyanne Conway Takes Aim at Everyone But Trump

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Washington Post: “Part personal chronicle and part political journey, Conway’s book is filled with the sorts of barbed one-liners and bon mots that she dispensed on cable news on Trump’s behalf, becoming — depending on one’s perspective — increasingly famous or infamous.”

“Unlike many other Trump-focused tomes in the post-presidency era, Conway has not set out to pen a scathing tell-all, in which she distances herself from the president or administration she once served.”


Here’s the Deal: A Memoir

  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Conway, Kellyanne (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 512 Pages – 05/24/2022 (Publication Date) – Threshold Editions (Publisher)

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Nuts & Bolts—Inside a Democratic campaign: Don’t let others redefine you

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Redemption and Love stories define our culture

I want you to sit back and think about all the great movies and films you’ve seen over your lifetime. Think about the driving forces within those stories. The majority were built around either the concept of redemption of a character or love for another character. These two forces are so profoundly built into the human experience that we seeing them, even fictionalized, motivates us. 

When we see them in a way we think is not fictionalized, like reality television, we can feel sucked in or emotionally involved with people we barely know. It isn’t that we have any great connection with them on real interpersonal grounds, it is our own understanding of a redemption story or a love story.

I’m now going to present an example in a fictional campaign. Sarah Flowers is running for a city council position in her mid-sized city. Let’s say 100k voters. At a certain point in the story, it becomes known that in the mid-1990s, while in high school, a nude photo of her circulated and is now in the hands of someone else. There will be people around who will tell her how terrible this is, how damaging it is to her campaign and some will ring their hands and say “it’s over”. I want to point out: I have seen exactly this situation happen with almost exactly this type of events, and Democratic support system come up with exactly this conclusion.

What should Sarah do? She has her own story, and her story is the truth. She was young, in love, and unfortunately, that was taken advantage of; she has never regretted falling in love, she learned a lot from her youth, and she feels sorry for those who want to traffick in kiddie pornography photos of her in order to harm her. This is enabling the vengeance of someone else, but she’s just sad that they are doing it. 

She can look at that photo now and say: yes, that’s me. It’s who I was then, and I don’t regret the love I had. I can’t regret the terrible actions taken by someone else, that is on them. We have all done things in our youth we wish we hadn’t done. 

You can own something, ask for redemption and point out that the redemption your asking for has limits. You aren’t asking to be redeemed for something that isn’t your fault. You can tell a love story where one side is broken-hearted. 

In other words: it is perfectly okay to have regrets. Everyone does. Share them with others and people will relate to you. Offer flat affect responses and people will wonder why you aren’t more emotionally in touch with who you were and who you are now.

When others define you, you lose.

One of the greatest failures of a campaign is to just assume that a story will “go away”. It is a Friday story and no one will care is something that was true in the pre-internet era and it is no longer true. Once a story is available, people will speculate, find interest, recirculate and continue to discuss it. They want to choose a side. They want to understand what is going on. People who were committed to vote against you have made up their mind before they read the first sentence. 

For everyone else, though, they are looking for a common ground that defines you. Let’s take another candidate. Billy is running for the state legislature. Billy is pressed by the fact that a few years ago he was divorced from his wife of 8 years and has since moved on. The advice given to Billy is “say as little as possible”. There is some value in that. Saying: “I think it is best to protect my children and my former spouse that I don’t want to speak to harm them, and I’d encourage people to keep them off limits, because I still love and care for what happens next.” Or any similar response. Billy might also respond by saying that he once loved his partner, things changed and they grew apart or whatever reasoning. 

People are OK with simple understandings. What Billy can’t do is get angry about the question, change the narrative to a challenge of his opponent or make demands of someone else as a response. The moment you try to go on the attack when you can shut something down through an answer, people will continue to ask the question. The press is not your enemy. They have inches to fill and columns to write, and if you give them content they will generally run it. If you stonewall instead, or if you let your own anger and dismissiveness take over, you are going to be in trouble. If anyone on your campaign advises you to stonewall the press, unless that press source is one you know specifically is already in the tank against you than that advice is generally bad advice, in my opinion and the opinion of the vast majority of campaign workers who have helped build this series.

In the end, when it comes down to conveying who you are to a voter the reality is simple: be yourself and don’t let others define who you are because you refuse to do so. If you can hold strong to that piece of advice you will already be ahead of a great number of candidates — ask soon to be ex-representative Cawthorn.

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ROGER STONE EXCLUSIVE: Guilt by Association Smears Just Won’t Stop

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Guest post by Roger Stone

Guilt by association smears just won’t stop. 

Webster’s dictionary defines “guilt by association” as moral guilt or unfitness presumed to exist on the basis of one’s known associations. It is the favored tool of the fake news media and it grows tedious.

In an all too familiar pattern of smear, conjecture, supposition and good old fashion “guilt by association” the New York Times last week attempted yet again to imply that simply because I know President Donald Trump and I know or came into contact with members of the Proud Boys or the Oath Keepers that I must surely have been involved in some way with the illegal acts went down at the Capitol on January 6th. Wrong !

TRENDING: Name Them and Shame Them: Glenn Greenwald Releases Video on ‘Typhoid Mary of Disinformation’ Nicolle Wallace

Neither of CNN’s previous claims that they were in possession of “secret encrypted ” text messages regarding arrangements for a perfectly legal speech that I gave at a legally permitted rally on January 5 nor the new New York Times claims that my inclusion in a chat room that was neither initiated nor administered by me prove in any way that I was involved in the politically counterproductive and illegal activities at the Capitol on January 6th. That Reuters reported months ago that the FBI had concluded that neither Alex Jones nor I were involved in any illegal conspiracy is just ignored in the rush to slander me.

In a repeat of the same slander, I experienced in the two-year ordeal in which I was the target of a politically motivated witch hunt designed to pressure me into testifying falsely against President Trump in which I was wrongly charged with “lying to Congress” about Russian collusion that we now know definitively was an entirely false narrative propagated by the Clinton campaign and accelerated by their many handmaidens in the fake news media.

Incredibly some former prosecutor named Glenn Kirschner who previously accused me of being a Russian spy now insists that I will go to prison in a January 6th matter or that I will flip and somehow testify against President Trump. Ridiculous. Kirshner has no evidence of wrongdoing on my part and his comments come excruciatingly close to defamation. There is nothing to ‘flip” about.

The continued attacks on me are motivated largely by bloodlust and the fact that the hysterical left cannot get over the fact that I avoided the deadly snare so cleverly set for me by corrupt and politically motivated prosecutor Robert Mueller and his cohort Congressman Adam Schiff.

Let me say it again. Any claim assertion or implication that I knew about, was involved in or condoned any illegal activity on January 6th at the Capitol or any place else at any other time is categorically false. If Kirschner or any of his ilk have any evidence to the contrary they should produce it. There is no document, communication or witness who can claim otherwise.

Perhaps this new round of baseless attacks on me is based partially on the fact that the gross criminality and total fabrication of the entire Russian collusion hoax by Hillary Clinton and her lawyers and top Aides is collapsing around their ankles in the DC courtroom where Special Counsel John Durham is prosecuting Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussman.

In fact, former Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook admitted that Hillary herself signed off on a statement by her national security advisor accusing Donald Trump falsely of having some involvement with a Russian bank. The Clinton campaign’s funding of the entirely bogus Steele dossier, compiled with the assistance of Russian intelligence assets, has already been firmly established. How ironic that this is the same Robby Mook who attacked me relentlessly as a”Russian collaborator” during the Soviet-style show trial I was subjected to in Washington DC in early 2020. Mook was lying then and he actually knew it.

These recycled personal attacks grow increasingly tedious and expensive. My wife and I are already burdened with unpaid medical bills from her recent cancer treatments as well as massive legal bills for defending myself before the January 6th committee as well as in six baseless civil lawsuits against us including a Biden Department of Justice civil suit which implies but does not claim that we somehow cheated on our 2006 income taxes. This is called lawfare which is the filing of false but sensationalized civil claims against an individual to generate negative media coverage and run up huge legal bills for the target.

People who want to help us in our never-endings struggle with the Deep State Democrat/Media cabal can go to StoneDefenseFund.com

(Please help Roger Stone if you can.  Thank you.)

 

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