Dems' new strategy for making abortion legal: Just two more senators, baby

AP Photo/Matt Rourke

Man, what a cynical lie this is.

Can you imagine the demoralization among casual voters on the left if they turned out en masse this fall and successfully delivered those two senators — only to find that they’re even further from making abortion a federal right than they were before?

This goes to show just how dire the party’s dire straits are. Figures like Elizabeth Warren are willing to deceive Democratic voters in their desperation to give them a reason to show up and vote in November.

“Give us two more Senate seats and we will make abortion legal nationwide as a matter of federal statutory law,” Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz tweeted on Monday.

“What we must do is elect two more Democratic pro-choice senators who are willing to overturn the filibuster or at a minimum carve out important exceptions to protect our rights,” Washington Rep. Pramila Jayapal, chairwoman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said this week…

“We [need to] get two more senators on the Democratic side, two senators who are willing to protect access to abortion and get rid of the filibuster so that we can pass it,” Warren said on ABC this Sunday. “John Fetterman, I’m looking at you in Pennsylvania. Mandela Barnes, I’m looking at you in Wisconsin. We bring them in, then we’ve got the votes, and we can protect every woman no matter where she lives.” (Fetterman has already won his Senate primary. Democrats in Wisconsin won’t select a nominee until later this summer.)

It *may* be the case that 52 Democratic Senate seats would give Schumer the votes he needs to end the filibuster. Manchin and Sinema would vote no, of course, and many other Democrats would want to vote no — but may lack the stones do so, fearing that they’ll be primaried ruthlessly if they stand in the way of abortion rights. Manchin and especially Sinema are rare birds in their willingness to confound their own party. Their Senate colleagues would likely cave and go along with the crowd, especially with powerful progressives chirping at them to pull the trigger:

I texted Ed excitedly when I saw that first tweet. “Is she saying we should get rid of the Supreme Court?” To which he calmly replied, “Uh, I think she means get rid of the filibuster instead of just carving out an exception for abortion.”

Which I’m sure is correct. The fact that lefties are in a “burn it all down” phase this week made me think momentarily that AOC was calling for burning it *all* down.

Anyway, enacting a federal statutory right to abortion is an easy peasy three-step process for Dems.

Step one: Not only do they need to win the Pennsylvania and Wisconsin Senate races and flip those seats, they need to hold their seat in Nevada. And New Hampshire. And, uh, Georgia. And don’t forget Arizona. And they need to do all that in a national environment in which the president is flirting with a 37 percent job approval rating and inflation is the highest it’s been in 40 years.

Show of hands. Who thinks they’re going six for six?

Step two: Assuming a miracle happens and they do go six for six, they also need to … hold the House majority. That’s the cynical lie in the “just two more senators” pitch from Warren and the rest. No one but no one thinks Pelosi will still be in charge of the House next year, which means even a 52-seat Democratic Senate will end up hitting a Republican brick wall in the House if it tries to enact abortion legislation. Democrats are counting on their lower-information voters to either be ignorant of that fact as a civic matter or to buy into hopeful nonsense about how there’s still a chance they’ll have total control of government next year.

Technically speaking, there is a chance. Barely a chance, per FiveThirtyEight. And even that chance has more to do with black-swan events, I suspect, than anything related to political reality.

It’s a testament to how bad Republican Senate candidates like Herschel Walker and Mehmet Oz are that the GOP has only a slight advantage in the upper chamber. But in the lower one? FiveThirtyEight sums it up this way: “Our forecast currently designates 13 races as toss-ups, but even if Democrats were to win all 13, plus hold on to all the seats they’re favored to win, they would still wind up with only 208 seats — 10 short of the number they need for a majority.”

In other words, even a surprisingly “good” night for Dems in November would end with Republicans in the majority. The suspense has much less to do with who’ll be in control than how big the GOP majority will be. Which is why I say Dems will be further away from enacting an abortion law next year than they are now even if they give Biden the two extra senators he needs.

And given the likely size of the GOP’s House advantage plus the fact that the 2024 Senate cycle is shaping up to be gory for Dems, it may be a decade or more before the left has total control of government again. All they’re accomplishing at the moment by calling for federal abortion legislation is mainstreaming the idea that Republicans will be able to lawfully ban abortion at the federal level if they end up with total control of government in 2025.

Finally, step three: Having held the House and gained two seats in the Senate, Democrats could then enact a federal law protecting abortion. Assuming none of the 50 anti-filibuster senators get cold feet at the last second, of course.

Easy peasy, like I say.

Given the extremely dim prospect of all three steps being completed successfully, I recommend this piece as a fallback plan for men worried about their wives or girlfriends not being able to end an unplanned pregnancy. Exit quotation: “I’d say at least 60 or 70 percent are mentioning the Supreme Court decision.”