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The potential reverse thermostatic effects of Dobbs


This ad from the congressperson one district over just aired during the Mariners game:

WA-8 is a fairly unusual district, starting in affluent Seattle suburbs and extending well into rural central Washington. As this ad reflects, this is pretty much the paradigm of a race in which Dobbs helps a Democratic candidate in a very tough race by mobilizing turnout. And needless to say other Democratic candidates are trying to take advantage of the newly much more salient issue of abortion rights:

All across America, Democrats are using abortion as a powerful cudgel in their 2022 television campaigns, paying for an onslaught of ads in House, Senate and governor’s races that show how swiftly abortion politics have shifted since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in late June.

With national protections for abortion rights suddenly gone and bans going into effect in many states, senior White House officials and top Democratic strategists believe the issue has radically reshaped the 2022 landscape in their favor. They say it has not only reawakened the party’s progressive base, but also provided a wedge issue that could wrest away independent voters and even some Republican women who believe abortion opponents have overreached.

Websites with a focus on abortion rights are also seeing a large increase in readership.

Paul discussed yesterday the possibility that Dobbs will at least substantially mitigate the thermostatic effects that would generally strongly favor the presidential out-party. Evidently, any optimism should be very cautious — not only the fundamentals but the institutional structures of American politics will blunt the backlash to some degree. (And we must also keep in mind that any political benefits will not remotely have been worth the horrible substantive effects of overruling Roe.) But I think the possibility that Dobbs is the kind of shock that can cause exceptions to general rules should be taken very seriously, and we certainly are only beginning to understand the effects that the installation of an unpopular regime of violence and surveillance against American women will have on American politics.

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