Abortion and the Presidential election

It looks increasingly likely that abortion will be one of the defining issues of the 2024 US Presidential election – and probably the Congressional ones as well.

Donald Trump seems to have realised that and is oscillating between claiming credit for Roe v Wade while frantically trying to pretend that states like Alabama have gone too far.

It seems no one in the media has asked Trump if any of his many girlfriends, porn stars and others have had to have abortions following their relationships with him.

Although perhaps the question directed to him should be whether he had ever paid for their abortions. After all, given his notorious meanness we can assume he would try to wriggle out of paying if he could. Given his financial record the follow up questions are probably whether he had refused to pay or claimed he was not responsible.

A recent Axios/Ipsos poll (29/3) found that 81% of Americans agree that “abortion issues should be managed between a woman and her doctor, not the government.” That number includes 65% of Republicans, as well as 82% of Independents and 97% of Democrats

Axios also found that one in eight voters say abortion is a top factor in influencing how they will vote in the 2024 election. 48% of those who say it’s the top issue for them will vote for Biden while 26% would vote for Trump.

Two thirds of the public would also back a law guaranteeing a Federal right to abortion.

The Guardian (13/4) published a piece by Lloyd Green, an attorney in New York who served in the US Department of Justice from 1990 to 1992, saying “abortion has re-emerged as a campaign issue, to the horror of the presumptive Republican nominee and his minions. The death of Roe v Wade cost the Republican party its ‘red wave’ in the 2022 midterms.”

“This time, it may lead to another Trump loss and Hakeem Jeffries of Queens wielding the speaker’s gavel in the US House of Representatives. Hell hath no fury like suburban moms and their daughters. The last thing they need is a thrice-married libertine seventy something with a penchant for adult film stars and Playboy models telling them how to raise their kids or meddling in their personal lives,” Green said

Meanwhile, the much-derided Kamala Harris has made a very effective speech in Arizona. It has more than a touch of the evangelical call and response speaking characteristic of some US religious services – particular African-American churches – and it is very effective.

You can see her speech at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7WLptCnRE_o

It follows on from Biden’s State of the Union Address which received surprising approval with some commentators describing it as a revelation – indicating that you can never get far from religion in the good old US of A.

It shouldn’t be a surprise that the President and Vice President can make a good speech, but the media (aided by the Republicans) have lowered our expectations significantly. In terms of Trump speeches there has also been some comment about how the media – as is normal practice with reporting of speeches – reports snippets from his speeches while the real news is the rambling incoherent nature of the rest.

Given the US obsession with religion it is also interesting that Apple TV is currently screening a biopic about Benjamin Franklin. It’s a reminder that many of the much-vaunted Founders were Deists and/or very committed Enlightenment rationalists. Sadly, it would be very hard for them to get on a Presidential ticket or even be elected a dog catcher in today’s America.

And given all his other problems Trump’s Truth Social shares are now lower than they were at the time of the listing of his media company.  And his recent tweet, where he urged people to invest, is probably a breach of stock market rules. Sadly, a lot of his loyal cult followers will be burned while Trump will just move on as he has done after his various bankruptcies.