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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

One of the top progressive organizers, Heather Booth, rallies activists in the wake of the SCOTUS decision in her article, “Fighting for Abortion Rights All Over Again: This Supreme Court decision is a call to action. And the key message is—ALWAYS—if we organize, we can change this world, and we need to” at The American Prospect: “The Supreme Court decision is outrageous, but not surprising. The Court has taken away the ability of people to control their own bodies and lives and turned that power over to politicians. It is outrageous because it is against the popular will, against morality, against precedent, against the expansion of freedom….This is an undermining of the most basic freedom and most intimate decision of a person’s life: when or whether or with whom to have a child. It is against the popular will. Eighty percent of people in this country believe that no politician should come between a woman and her doctor in this most intimate decision. Seventy-five percent of people do not think Roe should be overturned….One in five people who can have a child will have an abortion in their lifetime. One in five. This means it could be your friend, your sister, your mother (and the majority of people who have abortions already have one child—and so know what it means to bring a child into this world). It could be you.” Booth shares some moving personal memories of her involvement in the movement for reproductive rights, and adds “Now we are on a knife’s edge in this country—not only about reproductive freedom, but about freedom to vote, freedom to marry who we love, freedom itself. But we do have the majority of the country on our side. We do have morality on our side. And now we need to organize to have the power to make these decisions to reflect the popular will….But just imagine what two more senators and holding the House could do. We could overturn the filibuster and codify Roe—and have sensible gun laws, and expand voting access, and address climate, and more. And the same is true at every level—including in the states and local areas….We need to use every tool at our disposal….We need to tell our stories, educate, activate, agitate, elect, and organize….We need the 4 M’s: Members, Message, Money, Movement.” Booth goes into more detail about the 4Ms and “When we organize, we have changed this world—won voting rights, expanded participation in the society, and elected a Senate and president who made Roe the law of the land. And we can do that again … but for that we need to organize. And if we organize, we can change the world.”

In “Dems hope to harness outrage, sadness after abortion ruling,” AP’s Steve Peoples and Mike Catalini report on the immediate political fallout of the Supreme Court decision and note, “Pregnant women considering abortions already had been dealing with a near-complete ban in Oklahoma and a prohibition after roughly six weeks in Texas. Clinics in at least eight other states — Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Kentucky, Missouri, South Dakota, Wisconsin and West Virginia — stopped performing abortions after Friday’s decision….In Pennsylvania, the future of the procedure could hinge on November’s elections. For now, women here will continue to have access to abortion up to 24 weeks. Republicans are poised to change state law, however, should they maintain control of the legislature and seize the governorship in November. Doug Mastriano, the GOP nominee for governor, opposes abortion with no exceptions for rape, incest or the life of the mother. Democrats in Pennsylvania and beyond initially appeared to unite behind their collective outrage, fear and sadness. They planned widespread protests. From the White House on Friday, President Joe Biden urged protesters to keep the peace, even as he described the court ruling as “wrong, extreme and out of touch.”….The Democratic president also called on voters to make their voices heard this fall: “Roe is on the ballot.”…At the same time, members of the Democratic National Committee raised the prospect of a silver lining within the high court’s historic gut punch….“Democrats have a real opportunity right now to harness this anger, to harness the sadness,” Democratic strategist Mo Elleithee said during a meeting of a DNC subcommittee. “We are setting the foundation to ensure that Democrats stay in the White House, so that the next time, there’s an opening on the bench, on the federal bench anywhere, that we’ve got a Democratic president making that appointment.”

It’s a non-starter until Democrats win an actual, not just a nominal, working majority of the U.S. Senate. But on ABC News ‘This Week,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren made a case for increasing the size of the Supreme Court, as reported by Julia Cheney at abcnews.com: “In a Friday decision, the high court overturned the landmark holding in Roe, instead ruling that there was no constitutional guarantee to abortion access. Justices voted five to four to reject Roe and six to three in favor of Mississippi’s ban on abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, in the underlying case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization…The Supreme Court has “burned whatever legitimacy they may still have had” with their ruling last week overturning Roe v. Wade, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren said on Sunday….”They just took the last of it and set a torch to it,” Warren, a Democrat, told ABC “This Week” co-anchor Martha Raddatz in an exclusive interview. “I believe we need to get some confidence back in our court and that means we need more justices on the United States Supreme Court. We’ve done it before, we need to do it again.” (Warren has previously called for expanding the number of justices, including in an op-ed in The Boston Globe in December.)….[ABC’s Martha] Raddatz asked Warren on “This Week” why abortion should not just be decided by individual states and their elected officials, rather than ensured as a constitutional right….”‘Go to the polls,’ you say. President [Joe] Biden says, ‘Go to the polls.’ But look at the states outlawing abortion,” Raddatz pressed. “Those are largely conservative states, Gov. [Kristi] Noem had a point there — people go to the polls. They went to the polls just like your constituents in Massachusetts where abortion is legal, so why not leave it to the states?”….”We have never left individual rights to the states. The whole idea is that women are not second-class citizens and the government is not the one that will decide about the continuation of a pregnancy,” Warren responded. “Access to abortion, like other medical procedures, should be available across the board to all people in this country….”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. “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….the Republicans have been very overt about trying to get people through the court who didn’t have a published record on Roe but who they knew, wink, wink, nod, nod, were going to be extremist on the issue of Roe v. Wade and that is exactly what we have ended up with.”

Washington Post columnist E. J. Dionne, Jr. comments on the irony of the Supreme Court decisions on abortion rights and New York’s “open carry” law just as congress, led by Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) passed the most significant gun safety reform in decades, signed in to law by President Biden on Saturday:  “The Supreme Court’s right-wing majority is so pro-life that it is willing to risk more killing by making it easier for people to carry concealed firearms. It extolled states’ rights in overturning Roe v. Wade but showed no such solicitude a day earlier for state gun regulations….The court’s precedent-shattering decision on Roe will dominate our public debate, but its irresponsibility on guns cannot be forgotten. Supporters of smarter, tougher weapons statutes should be very afraid that the Supreme Court’s radical conservatives will abuse their power to impose the gun lobby’s jurisprudence. But they should also take heart that a decade of organizing and public pressure has culminated in congressional passage of the first meaningful gun reform in 26 years….The upshot: Proponents of stronger gun control need to keep pushing — to restore the ban on assault weapons, to enact universal background checks, to raise the age for gun purchases, to establish gun buyback programs and much more. And friends of democracy need to challenge the justices’ arrogant overreach by strengthening support for enlarging the court and, where possible, containing its jurisdiction….Which brings us to the irony of the court issuing its gun ruling on the same day the Senate passed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act. House passage followed on Friday, and President Biden signed it into law on Saturday, declaring that “lives will be saved.” Do not underestimate the significance of this victory. The bill is certainly not all we need, but it takes major steps in the right direction….It strengthens background checks, imposes tougher regulations against illegal “straw” purchases of guns, tightens rules on access to guns by those accused of domestic abuse and promotes state red-flag laws that allow authorities to confiscate guns temporarily from people deemed dangerous. It also provides for reviews of juvenile and mental health records of gun purchasers younger than 21….In a democracy, public opinion matters. Organizing matters. Persistence matters. They finally paid off this week in modest but landmark gun reform. All three must be brought to bear in battling a partisan Supreme Court majority unwilling to acknowledge any limits to its power.”

One comment on “Political Strategy Notes

  1. Victor on

    The Supreme Court already decided Bush vs Gore issue with much more moderate justices. The problem with the Court is that if it continues undermining democracy then it becomes a self perpetuating institution even more immune to democracy than the Senate, Electoral College and House.


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