Maybe The Dog DID Catch The Car…

A guest essay in last Sunday’s New York Times echoed that Facebook meme going around–the one that shows women glaring and promising a “Roevember election.”  The essay was written by someone named Tom Bonier, who was identified as a a Democratic political strategist and the C.E.O. of TargetSmart, a data and polling firm.

Bonier began by acknowledging that, over the last few years, Americans have–as he put it– “acclimated to some very grim realities.” He listed school massacres, dehumanization of immigrants and autocratic regimes treated as allies, and noted that no matter how grim those and other realities have gotten, Americans have seemed unwilling to exact political consequences.

When the Dobbs decision leaked, and the reaction was relatively muted, he assumed that pattern would hold.

But once the actual Dobbs decision came down, everything changed. For many Americans, confronting the loss of abortion rights was different from anticipating it. In my 28 years analyzing elections, I’ve never seen anything like what’s happened in the past two months in American politics: Women are registering to vote in numbers I’ve never witnessed. I’ve run out of superlatives to describe how different this moment is, especially in light of the cycles of tragedy and eventual resignation of recent years. This is a moment to throw old political assumptions out the window and to consider that Democrats could buck historic trends this cycle.

Bonier is a numbers guy, so he’s been looking at the numbers. In the wake of the enormous victory for reproductive rights in Kansas, he looked at new voter registrants in the state since the Dobbs decision came down in late June.

As shocking as the election result was to me, what I found was more striking than any single election statistic I can recall discovering throughout my career. Sixty-nine percent of those new registrants were women. In the six months before Dobbs, women outnumbered men by a three-point margin among new voter registrations. After Dobbs, that gender gap skyrocketed to 40 points. Women were engaged politically in a way that lacked any known precedent.

Repeating the Kansas analysis across several other states, a clear pattern emerged. Nowhere were the results as stark as they were there, but no other state was facing the issue with the immediacy of an August vote on a constitutional amendment. What my team and I did find was large surges in women registering to vote relative to men, when comparing the period before June 24 and after.

Bonier concedes that, with over two months until Election Day, nothing is certain. As he notes, all election predictions rely heavily on past experience, and there really is “no precedent for an election centered around the removal of a constitutional right affirmed a half-century before.”

In other words, every poll that will be taken between now and Election Day will rely on a likely voter model for which there exists no benchmark.

Already, several Republicans seem to be sensing that they’re in trouble. In Arizona, the Republican Senate candidate Blake Masters, an ardent abortion opponent, recently wiped language advocating extreme abortion restrictions from his website.

Whether the coming elections will be viewed as a red wave, a Roe wave or something in between will be decided by the actions of millions of Americans — especially, it seems, American women. As Justice Samuel Alito wrote in the majority decision in Dobbs: “Women are not without electoral or political power.” He was right about that. Republicans might soon find out just how much political power they have.

When the Supreme Court accepted Dobbs, a Mississippi case, I posted “Be Careful What You Wish For,” and quoted longtime Court watcher Linda Greenhouse. Greenhouse recalled a 2011 Mississippi referendum that would have granted personhood status to a fertilized egg. Mississippi is arguably Redder than Kansas, but it was  handily defeated, 58% to 41%.

That’s when the anti-abortion forces decided that friendly legislatures were a better bet than the will of the people.

Greenhouse noted that four nationwide polls had found more than 60 percent of registered or likely voters opposed to overturning Roe v. Wade.  And she shared a statistic we’ve seen more frequently since Dobbs was issued:

Nearly one American woman in four will have an abortion. (Catholic women get about one-quarter of all abortions, roughly in proportion to the Catholic share of the American population.) Decades of effort to drive abortion to the margins of medical practice have failed to dislodge it from the mainstream of women’s lives.

As I wrote then, for a long time, the GOP has depended upon the relative lack of political activism by pro-choice voters who assumed that the courts would protect them. If Bonier’s numbers mean anything, they mean that dynamic has changed. Dramatically.

Karma’s a bitch. And bitches are female.


  1. “Kansas and several other states…”

    I am not sure that is substantial evidence for a November blue victory since they still have to overcome all the anti-democratic obstacles put in place by the GOP, like gerrymandering.

    I would like to see what amount of women voters would need to surge in Indy propers to turn their voting districts blue.

    The PACs are ready with ads to blast those markets and the rural communities. The main problem is the lack of competitive districts in the USA.

    Your comment about “being careful what you wish for” is more prevalent in global matters as the US sanctions against Russia are backfiring and causing major social unrest in Europe. China no longer recognizes the petrodollar, so expect more countries to align with Russia/China and run from the dollar. The media wants to avoid economic issues because the working class is getting pummeled by inflation and blaming Russia doesn’t work any longer.

  2. Then the next question is will the power of women’s votes be enough to overcome the extreme gerrymandering in so many legislative districts.

  3. “But once the actual Dobbs decision came down, everything changed. For many Americans, confronting the loss of abortion rights was different from anticipating it.”

    “The best way out is always through.” Robert Frost

    Fighting the battle always takes more action than training for battle. Those who were watching the possibility of the loss of Roe were on the front lines of the action. It was the women and girls of America who showed up in Washington, D.C. by the many thousands on January 21, 2017 to rally against the fact that Trump was given the presidency by those we were better trained for battle. It was primarily the women who rallied in cities across this country to protest his “deconstruction” of American democracy, We have to do it again. And I am again reminded of the words of the Scottish writer Dilys Lainge: “Women receive the insults of men with tolerance, having been bitten in the nipple by their toothless gums.”


  4. The ultimate poll will happen in November. I recall the great Greek tragedy/comedy, Lysestrata (sic). During the Pelopynesian (sic) wars, the women got tired of watching their men go off to war every year, and decided to cross their legs until the war stopped. The war stopped. THAT is the power that women can and should exert when men go off the rails with testosterone poisoning.

    And, we don’t have as much influence on foreign governments as we once did…by a long shot. Europe’s upheavals are due to their readjustment to different fuels. The sanctions against Russia are WORKING. Naysayers just try to sell air time and newspapers. What should be applauded is the grit and determination of the Ukrainian people. It’s something WE THE PEOPLE should emulate while defeating the 25% of the right-wing lunatics at every level of government. The WOMEN are leading that fight.

  5. I am glad that Americans are waking up to the threat to our freedom that the GOP represents. It s frustrating to think about why it took so long, and so much damage has been done unnecessarily, before people realize what we are about to lose.

  6. Unfortunately, codifying Roe won’t be enough. We also need to address the SCOTUS and possibly the Federal Court system as a whole. I was very happy to hear the DOJ will appeal Judge Cannon’s ruling in favor of a special master. Bad rulings left to stand make for terrible precedent in the future. Unfortunately, incompetence is not a reason to impeach a sitting judge. Every other worker in America faces some sort of evaluation at least annually. Judicial competence should matter. It might be time to streamline impeachment.

  7. Peggy; as Robert Frost said, “The best way out is always through.” We must work THROUGH this Trump/MAGA deconstruction if we are ever to get out of it. His UNhandiwork is found in all issues we are dealing with today; we cannot ignore any of them at any level.

  8. Now the troglodytes can no longer hide behind the robes of the Supreme Court. Now…they have to state thie positions, run on them and face the consequences. Maybe, just maybe all this will lead to a positive outcome.

  9. Janet – you are so correct – only Senate and Governor races are statewide; the rest are in gerrymandered districts. What you wind up with is what we have here in NC – fighting to keep the GOP from having super majorities in our state house/senate to override our fighting DEM governor’s vetoes. This despite more total DEM votes. Gerry is the “killer app”.

  10. My foreign female friends are stunned that America has basically outlawed abortions. They can’t even imagine For Profit Healthcare so, this really tips the scale. Republicans are about to find out what they have done and I hope every member of Congress that is an insurrectionist gets removed immediately. Just like that guy that co-founded “Cowboys for Trump.”

    Careful what you wish for, indeed. You can’t make women’s lives have less rights than a corpse and get away with it. Ha ha.

  11. Peggy Hannon, I, too, am happy that the DOJ is appealing Cannon’s ludicrous ruling. What frightens me is that 6 of the 11 judges on the 11th circuit are Trump appointees.

  12. Can the “Kansas effect” be duplicated in the other 49 states? We will soon see. I am encouraged to hear that 70% of new registrations are those of women and I hope that such a statistic plus a good turnout of angry Republican and Democratic women plus a good turnout of Democrats generally will strike down the traditional loss of seats history by the party in power during midterm elections. This election, like all others, depends upon arithmetic, i. e., turnout. Perhaps with the Dobbs removal of a constitutional right there will be sufficient motivation for the polity to assert itself in the destruction of such a tradition.

    I will be cognizant of voting the down ticket as well what with Republican attempts to control counting of the votes. Destiny is our Indiana candidate for Secretary of State and is uniquely qualified for the job. I shook her hand recently in a Democratic meeting in French Lick in which I contributed to her campaign and told her she was a political anomaly in that she was overqualified for the office. I vote absentee in Florida and will be voting Democratic from top to bottom since I want my vote to be counted. Let’s vote, and take Aunt Mary and Uncle Bob with us to the polls.

  13. Don’t piss off women. We tolerate a lot of abuse. It takes a lot to get us riled, but when you do. We don’t talk much but you will regret it.

  14. General question – Will the anger over Dobbs translate to votes up and especially down the ballot?
    Yes, even gerrymandered districts can be lost – there are limits to how many Red districts can be created in a Purple state. As one of my favorite movie quotes has it, “Just because something’s fixed, doesn’t mean it can’t be broken.”

    Sheila – killer closing line!

  15. The Indiana anti-abortion law is immoral and unconstitutional.

    Now that SB 1 is law, Indiana women will have less body autonomy than a corpse. Indiana women will have less than full body autonomy until they are dead. This is a legalistic perversion. The law is not supposed to be this unbalanced or this distorted.
    – – – – –
    IC 14-21-1-28
    Penalty for disturbing human remains or grave markers
    Sec. 28. A person who recklessly, knowingly, or intentionally disturbs human remains or grave markers while moving, uncovering, or removing artifacts or burial objects either:
    (1) without a plan approved by the department under:
    ……(A) section 25 of this chapter; or
    ……(B) IC 14-3-3.4-14 (before its repeal); or
    (2) in violation of such a plan; commits a Level 6 felony.
    – – – – –
    By default, IC 14-21-1-28 protects the body autonomy of a corpse. To violate that body autonomy requires a judicial intervention.

    By default, SB 1 rejects the body autonomy of a pregnant woman. To protect that body autonomy requires a judicial intervention.

    Everyone has body autonomy even though it is not specifically mentioned in the Constitution. Body autonomy means that you cannot be forced to give blood or to donate a body part for transplant. Regardless of the seriousness of the medical condition of the patient; no matter the age, size, or attractiveness of the patient – no relative, doctor, hospital, police officer, district attorney, judge, or court can force you to give blood or to donate a body part. Even when you choose to participate, you always have the right to change your mind for any reason at any time prior to the procedure. Your body autonomy allows you to use any reason to choose to not participate, including mere inconvenience. The choice is strictly and only yours and neither an explanation nor a justification is required.

    Your body autonomy – which protects you from being forced to donate blood or a slice of your liver or an entire kidney – is not mentioned in the Constitution. In their haste to enact an anti-abortion law, the state legislature gave no consideration or mention of mandating a universal list of blood and body part donors. There was no movement to empower hospitals to force people to donate blood, a slice of liver, or an entire kidney. There was no concern expressed for eliminating deaths from a lack of blood, liver slices, or kidneys. With a mandatory universal list of donors, finding matches would be guaranteed and lives would be saved – of course, donors would have to be forced to participate.

    Instead of forced blood transfusions and forced body part donations, we are protected by a body autonomy concept that is not mentioned in the Constitution. Yet, if the patient suffers or if the patient dies due to a lack of blood or body parts, there are no financial or legal consequences for any person who refused to donate. Your body autonomy is that important.

    The body autonomy of a woman is that important. The body autonomy of a woman is neither diminished nor eliminated because she is pregnant. Pregnancy is neither an automatic nor an inescapable obligation – in the same way that donating blood or a body part is neither an automatic nor an inescapable obligation. A woman has the right to choose to continue the pregnancy. A woman has the right to choose to not continue the pregnancy – for any reason. A woman has the right to initially choose to continue the pregnancy and later, change her mind – for any reason. The choice is strictly and only hers and neither an explanation nor a justification is required.

    There is no balancing of situations. There is no weighing of sets of conflicting rights. There is no confusion or conflict. Regardless of how a pregnancy is classified; the life, rights, and body autonomy of a woman are more important – her pre-existing life, her pre-existing rights, and her pre-existing body autonomy must be considered superior and controlling.

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