The “chattering classes” are still churning out their reactions to the mysterious non-appearance of a Red wave in the midterms, and several of those analyses echo that of conservative-but-not-crazy Bret Stephens. In his weekly back and forth with liberal Gail Collins in the New York Times, Stephens summed up Democrats’ surprising performance by concluding that– however American voters might feel about inflation or crime or the overall direction of the country — they weren’t ready to give up reproductive rights, endorse election denialism or cast ballots for “Republican candidates who have the intelligence of turnips and the personalities of tapeworms.”
A politically-savvy friend says voters had crazy fatigue…
Whatever else was in play, the enormous importance of reproductive rights to those election results has become increasingly obvious. All five states with abortion measures on the ballot voted for women’s bodily autonomy, including deep-Red Kentucky. More importantly, in virtually every state, turnout by women–many of whom had only recently registered to vote–increased.
That increase was consistent with longer-term trends; as The Center for American Women and Politics reports
Women have registered and voted at higher rates than men in every presidential election since 1980, with the turnout gap between women and men growing slightly larger with each successive presidential election. Women, who constitute more than half the population, have cast almost 10 million more votes than men in recent elections.
Once again, more women voted, and the message they sent was unmistakable: women are not going backward, not handing their reproductive choices to state legislators.
In a VoteCast exit survey, pro-choice voters (those who said abortion should be legal in all or most cases) were far more likely than pro-life voters (those who said abortion should be illegal in all or most cases) to say that the Dobbs decision had a “major impact” on which candidates they voted for. The partisan gap was more than 30 points– 65 percent of Democrats said Dobbs was a major factor, compared to 32 percent of Republicans.
It isn’t just through voting. Women are protecting America in other forums, too. A recent column by Jennifer Rubin detailed the current status of the investigation into Trump’s efforts to steal the 2020 election being conducted by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis.
A voluminous new report from the Brookings Institution provides a legal road map for the potential prosecution of Trump. The report debunks defenses that Trump will likely deploy and underscores the real possibility that his closest associates might flip in the case, given how many might face criminal liability.
The Brookings Report to which she cites enumerates the multiple efforts made by Trump and his associates to subvert the election results in Georgia, and concludes that those efforts violated several relevant criminal statutes, including: 1) solicitation to commit election fraud, Ga. Code Ann. § 21-2-604(a); 2) intentional interference with performance of election duties, Ga. Code Ann. § 21-2-597; 3) interference with primaries and elections, Ga. Code Ann. § 21-2-566; and 4) conspiracy to commit election fraud, Ga. Code Ann. § 21-2-603.
Meanwhile, in New York, another female Attorney General, Letitia James, has sued the Trump organization for fraud.
That lawsuit is currently being tried, but James already won an important interim victory: a New York court granted James’ motion for a preliminary injunction, finding that the claims in her lawsuit are likely to succeed at trial. The Court ruled that Trump and the Trump Organization “cannot transfer any material assets to another entity without court approval, are required to include all supporting and relevant material in any new financial disclosures to banks and insurers, and ordered to appoint an independent monitor to oversee compliance with these measures.”
Going into the midterms, there was considerable debate about whether American democracy would prove robust enough to withstand the obvious and significant challenges it is facing from White Christian Nationalists and MAGA Republicans. Democratic governance requires adherence to one of the most important elements of the rule of law: the principle that no one is above the law–not rich people, not celebrities, not elected officials, and not Presidents.
That essential principle–accountability– is one of the (multiple) aspects of American governance that Donald Trump and his corrupt cohorts utterly fail to understand. If there is any one thing Donald Trump clearly believes, it is that rules are for other people–that the rules don’t apply to him.
Thus far, one of the very few Republicans who has had the cojones to tell him otherwise–forcefully and publicly– has been another female: Liz Cheney.
As Rubin noted in her column, it takes courageous women to do “what hordes of sniveling Republican politicians, donors and insiders cannot: hold Trump accountable.”
Don’t mess with us….