He’s right, of course. Overturning Roe means that blue states get to do their own thing — until 2025.
After 2025, the picture becomes … cloudier.
Still, it’s fascinating to watch Sean Hannity dismiss the prospect of a national ban on abortion as some sort of outrageous Democratic smear — the “big lie,” he calls it — rather than an outcome to which many conservatives overtly aspire. I know why he’s doing it but it’s like watching Rachel Maddow assure MSNBC’s audience not to fear, that the latest Democratic health-care reform bill certainly won’t lead to Medicare for All.
Bookmark this post, as Hannity will be singing a different tune once Republicans regain total control of the federal government.
Hannity: At the end of the day, abortion will be legal across the country… pic.twitter.com/4nRJfwu9pT
— Acyn (@Acyn) May 10, 2022
Why is he keen to assure a Fox News audience that the pro-life movement’s great watershed victory, the overturning of Roe, won’t matter as much on the ground as they think? Because he’s seen the polling. A House Republican advisor who’s also seen the polling tells Axios today that the data shows swing voters aren’t “hip to this kind of seismic change.” Hannity knows that Democrats will try to spook those voters into voting blue this fall with the specter of a national abortion ban if Republicans take over Congress. And so most Republicans in Washington will end up singing from the same hymnal to counterprogram them: There will be no nationwide ban on abortion.
And then, under their breaths, “…before 2025.”
What about after 2025, though? Reporters on the Hill have been cornering congressional Republicans this week to ask them about federal legislation on the subject if Roe goes down, springboarding off of what McConnell said this weekend about a national ban being “possible.” CNN and Politico found no one eager to advance the idea. Most Republicans interviewed told the outlets that they want to wait and see. That’s the prudent answer to give at the moment: Since nothing will happen at the federal level until 2025 anyway, the safe move now is to punt the question to the states.
There were, however, a few Republicans who sounded cool to the idea of national legislation in the abstract, whether on federalism grounds or because they believe the filibuster should remain in place in the Senate.
“I don’t think it’s really an appropriate topic for Congress to be passing a national law on,” said Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, a member of McConnell’s leadership team…
Rep. Jodey Arrington of Texas, speaking to CNN before the draft ruling was leaked, said that he supports “defining life at conception, but … I think it’s the proper constitutional view to let the states decide what their values are in the decision on abortion.” Arrington said he supports a Texas law that bans abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy and only includes exceptions for medical emergencies.
Meanwhile, when asked whether he thinks a GOP-led House would vote on a federal abortion ban, Rep. David Schweikert of Arizona told CNN: “I don’t think so, actually, because it would undermine the argument that this should be done at the state level.”
Josh Hawley, Ron Johnson, and John Kennedy each said they wouldn’t rule out federal legislation eventually but that they want to give the states an opportunity to act first and then see if a national consensus shakes out from that. That’s a fine plan. I just don’t understands how it withstands contact with reality after blue states spend three years flaunting the fact that they’re helping women in red states abort despite the best efforts of those states to prevent the practice. Conservatives didn’t spend 50 years trying to overturn Roe only to be owned by the libs in the end. They’ll demand that Hawley et al. pass federal restrictions that own the libs instead.
And Hawley will accommodate them, as will all other senators who view their job as a stepping stone to the one they really want. But he and they don’t need to worry about that until 2025.
Political junkies have spent the past week wondering how overturning Roe will affect the general election but we haven’t heard much about how it might affect party primaries. In Arizona, there’s already a split among Republican Senate candidates on whether they should try to ban abortion at the national level or not. Watch David Perdue try to capitalize on the recent SCOTUS leak by vowing that he’ll push for a total ban on abortion in Georgia unlike that lily-livered wimp, Brian Kemp:
If I were Governor and Roe v. Wade is overturned, I would immediately call a special session of the legislature to ban abortion in Georgia.
I've called on Brian Kemp to commit to doing the same.
People deserve to know where their Governor stands on this issue. pic.twitter.com/8qhMkKB6YJ
— David Perdue (@DavidPerdueGA) May 9, 2022
Hannity spent the beginning of his show assuring Democrats that abortion will remain legal in most states post-Roe yet here he was sounding warm to the idea of Perdue banning the practice in a state that was won by Joe Biden two years ago. Huh.
The Perdue clip captures the GOP’s political dilemma nicely, though: It makes sense for populists running in primaries to embrace a total ban since their no-compromise stance on everything is key to their appeal. (“They fight!”) But if Perdue beats Kemp, he’ll be stuck with that maximalist position in a tight general election in a purple state and may end up scaring off swing voters because of it. Even if Kemp prevails in the primary, the pressure Perdue is putting on him by backing a total ban may force Kemp towards a more maximalist position too, leaving him less room to maneuver. Abortion politics will be tricky for both parties in the near term.