Anti-abortion Republicans, having discovered by getting their asses handed to them in multiple referenda, that the majority of Americans don't want to ban the medical procedure, tried a new tactic in Ohio yesterday: make referenda impossible. They failed by a large margin:
Ohio voters rejected a bid on Tuesday to make it harder to amend the State Constitution, according to The Associated Press, a significant victory for abortion-rights supporters trying to stop the Republican-controlled State Legislature from severely restricting the procedure.
Late results showed the measure losing by 13 percentage points, 56.5 percent to 43.5 percent. The roughly 2.8 million votes cast dwarfed the 1.66 million ballots counted in the state’s 2022 primary elections, in which races for governor, the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House were up for grabs.
The ballot measure would have required that amendments to the State Constitution gain approval by 60 percent of voters, up substantially from the current requirement of a simple majority. Republicans initially pitched that as an attempt to keep wealthy special interests from hijacking the amendment process for their own gain. The lawmakers voted largely along party lines in May to put the proposal on the ballot.
Ohio resident and author John Scalzi buries Amendment 1 deep:
That Issue 1 is mostly about abortion rights isn’t just speculation; Frank LaRose, Ohio’s current Secretary of State, said the quiet part out loud, saying it’s “100%” about that, because the GOP these days can’t actually stop monologuing about their evil plans. That it would also toss out the possible marijuana legalization initiative for November, and possible future initiatives on things like raising the minimum wage or redoing the frankly ridiculous gerrymandering in the state, or anything else, was just the cherry on top. At the end of the day, the Ohio GOP wanted to make sure their broadly unpopular laws telling people with uteruses they had no control over their own bodies were never challenged.
And it might have worked, too, if the Ohio GOP hadn’t done what shitty people who want to take away rights always do, which was to almost comically overreach.
Basically, the Ohio GOP had to go out of their way to lose some traditionally GOP voters, and managed to do just that.
The blatant dishonesty of the GOP and conservative messaging on Issue 1 is par for the course with their political messaging elsewhere, and it reminds me of two things: The absolute contempt the GOP has for their voters, in that they don’t feel like their voters need or deserve anything close to the truth; and how extremely well-trained GOP voters have become to reject the truth when it is inconvenient for their personal political preferences. As noted before, this particular time, the GOP disinformation regime didn’t work as well as it usually does, and some portion of the usual GOP voters didn’t swallow the bullshit. This will not teach the GOP to back off on the bullshit. It will teach them to shove the bullshit even harder the next time.
Josh Marshall fills in the larger pattern:
The broader electoral question is whether the overwhelming backlash against Dobbs will extend to elections beyond ballot initiatives where abortion is literally on the ballot. There is lots of evidence that abortion rights were a key driver of Democrats’ unexpectedly strong showing in the 2022 midterm, though in the nature of things it’s hard to isolate just what role it played in any particular race.
The challenge for Democrats is simply to align as many elections as possible with the abortion issue and the backlash against Dobbs, especially in governorships and election to Congress. There’s little sign the full electoral potential of the issue has even come close to having been harnessed.
I can't remember who said, "your religion doesn't prohibit me from doing anything; it only prohibits you." It seems like an increasingly pissed-off majority of Americans are gearing up to remind the religious right of this simple truth in the next election.