NY Times: Democrats look for a way to channel the left's anger over Dobbs decision

AP Photo/Susan Walsh

As Allahpundit pointed out earlier, there’s a very real danger to having your party overwhelmed with unfocused anger. What inevitably happens is members of the Democratic party start fighting with one another as progressives demand the establishment moderates do more fix the problem. In this case, the problem is the Dobbs decision and, more broadly, the Supreme Court. What the party desperately needs right now is to focus that anger on someone else. And reading this NY Times story, that’s basically the plan even if Democrats already know it won’t accomplish anything.


Democrats in Congress, under pressure to take quick action in response to the Supreme Court’s decision striking down abortion rights, are planning to hold votes this week on legislation that seeks to preserve access to abortions in the post-Roe v. Wade era.

The bills are all but certain to fail in the evenly divided Senate, where broad Republican opposition means they cannot muster the 60 votes to move forward. But Democrats are pushing forward amid a groundswell of pressure from progressives in their ranks who were outraged by the Supreme Court ruling and irate that their leaders appeared to have no plan to respond…

The first measure, which Speaker Nancy Pelosi plans to bring to a vote this week, would protect the right to travel for abortion services. A second measure, a version of which passed the House last year, would explicitly give health care providers the right to provide abortion services and their patients the right to obtain them, invalidating a variety of restrictions that were enacted in the aftermath of Roe.

So far, no state has limited the ability to travel to get an abortion in another state. And even is a state were to try it there’s good reason to think it would be overturned. Justice Kavanaugh said in his concurrence that, in his opinion, states would not be able to pass such laws.

…as I see it, some of the other abortion-related legal questions raised by today’s decision are not especially difficult as a constitutional matter. For example, may a State bar a resident of that State from traveling to another State to obtain an abortion? In my view, the answer is no based on the constitutional right to interstate travel.


Again, there’s no chance any of these bills will pass the Senate so what is the actual goal here? I think it’s two-fold. First, it allows Democrats to say they are doing something even though we all know it won’t accomplish anything. Second, I think the plan is to lean in to the fear-mongering which Democrats believe could save them at the polls this fall. Last week, the NY Times published an opinion piece by Ana Marie Cox which made this argument for fear-mongering explicit:

When it comes to abortion rights, the Democrats need to lean into the politics of fear.

They face a base that feels betrayed and a set of wealthy, moderate voters in purple states who may not realize that their own rights are also on the line. Democrats need both of these groups to stave off defeat in the fall, and fear can drive them to the polls. What should the Democrats tell them to be afraid of? A national abortion ban…

Fear often divides, but it can also unite. When you have a common threat, there is an opportunity for a common mission. This threat is no longer beyond the horizon — it’s at the door. Now, Democrats, decide on a mission.

Cox was recommending that Democrats fan the fear of a national abortion ban. We may yet see Democrats embrace that but for now the fear of travel restrictions is a starting point. If they can manage to both look busy and use the unifying power of fear, maybe they can avoid looming disaster. That’s the plan and they’ll be trying to stir up more fear with congressional hearings in the coming weeks. But some progressives say that’s too little, too late.


“It’s inexcusable for Democratic leadership to have known for months that this was coming and muster such an anemic, milquetoast response,” said Stephanie Taylor, a founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee. “It’s one thing to not show up with the necessary outrage for this kind of news; it’s another not to show up with a battle plan.”

The problem isn’t that the left lacks battle plans. In fact, they’ve been discussing battle plans for months, everything from packing the court to term limits for Justices. The problem isn’t that they have no plans, the problem is that they don’t have the votes to make anything actually happen.

Meanwhile, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rep. Ted Lieu are pushing their own plan which involves accusing Justices Kavanaugh and Gorsuch of having lied under oath during their confirmation hearings. Their goal is to impeach them:

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is calling for a House investigation into whether two Supreme Court justices who voted to overturn Roe v. Wade should be impeached for lying at their confirmation hearings about their views of the landmark abortion-rights case.

In a Sunday interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, a New York Democrat and progressive firebrand, said that she thinks the justices, Neil Gorsuch and Brett M. Kavanaugh, were dishonest when discussing Roe at the hearings.

“They lied,” Ms. Ocasio-Cortez said during the interview, adding at another point that “there must be consequences for such a deeply destabilizing action and hostile takeover of our democratic institutions.”


This is exactly the kind of anger that creates divides within the Democratic party and ultimately accomplishes nothing. But then, that’s what AOC lives for so it’s not surprise she’s pushing this dumb idea.

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