Now the GOP doesn’t want to talk about abortion

From the NYT: “Even as some of their counterparts at the state level race forward with far-reaching abortion bans that could even affect some methods of contraception, Republicans appear determined to recast their position on the issue as one of moderation and avert the gaze of voters away from their anti-abortion-rights agenda. …

“The Republicans’ caution reflects the potential for the eventual ruling to change the midterm political landscape. Their leaders and candidates have built a campaign to reclaim control of the House and Senate around inflation, economic uncertainty, crime, border control and American doubts that President Biden, who is deeply unpopular, can right the ship.

“Now the prospect of eliminating abortion rights has added a tectonic change to American life into the mix, threatening to upend that focus.

“Democrats have signaled that they plan to use the coming decision as a rallying cry for voters to reject Republicans, portraying its implications as vast and unacceptable.”

Vaccine and votes by county in Georgia

I managed to get into a debate on Facebook with a bunch of right-wingers on vaccination. I accidentally let it get dragged into the rabbit hole of whether red states have lower vaccination rates than blue states. One of the posters claimed that he “just did a quick check here in Ga and the counties Biden won by the most are pretty much identical to the ones he lost by the most.” I could not let this pass so I laboriously entered the vaccination rate by county and the percentage that voted for Trump in 2020 into a spread sheet and produced a scatter graph. As you can see, it has a definite downward slope, showing that the lower the percentage of vaccinated persons in a country, the higher the percentage of people who voted for Trump.

The Onion’s customary accuracy

WASHINGTON?Unsettled by the party?s dismal performance in the Virginia governor?s race, Democratic leadership vowed Wednesday to work twice as hard in the coming months to muddle their agenda. ?Last night was a wake-up call that we need to refocus our efforts on alienating the American voter with vague goals and?

The mess that is the Republican party

Jonathan Bernstein in Bloomberg: “Republicans have lost a made-to-order opportunity supplied by the Jan. 6 attack. Mainstream Republicans could have looked good by consistently condemning the attack, thereby distancing themselves from organized hate groups involved in the event. Instead, they’re stuck defending the indefensible and making it a major part of Republican messaging, while allowing their leading voices to be … well, let’s call them the high-profile Republicans least likely to appeal to swing voters. …

“The Republican agenda right now is a combination of three things: Opposition to whatever President Joe Biden and the Democrats propose; support for whatever Fox News Channel’s product of the month happens to be; support for whatever incoherent and self-serving whims come out of Trump’s mouth.

“This is barely a formula for making the strongest supporters happy. It’s certainly no way to build a policy agenda. What has been a problem for the party for several years, especially at the national level, is only getting worse. …

“If I had to guess, I’d stick with my first instinct — that Republican Party dysfunction matters a lot to its future ability to govern competently, but won’t have any serious effect on the 2022 elections. But I can’t say I’m as confident about that as I was six months ago.”

Republicans taking over state elections

NYT: “Republicans have introduced at least 216 bills in 41 states to give legislatures more power over elections officials, according to the States United Democracy Center, a new bipartisan organization that aims to protect democratic norms. Of those, 24 have been enacted into law across 14 states. …

“The maneuvers risk eroding some of the core checks that stood as a bulwark against former President Donald J. Trump as he sought to subvert the 2020 election results. Had these bills been in place during the aftermath of the election, Democrats say, they would have significantly added to the turmoil Mr. Trump and his allies wrought by trying to overturn the outcome. They worry that proponents of Mr. Trump’s conspiracy theories will soon have much greater control over the levers of the American elections system.”