Science? We don’t need stinkin’ science!

He was for the COVID-19 vaccines before he was against them, but now Florida’s governor is all-in on vaccine skepticism—and hoping to use the issue to outflank Trump on the right. With the presidential primaries looming, and MAGA activists angling to turn Trump against the vaccines he helped fast-track, experts fear anti-vaxxism could soon become an official plank of the Republican Party.

Stay proud, Texas

Texas Republican chairman Matt Rinaldi urged them to “go on offense.” Apparently, you do that by being offensive. Their stance on gay rights is so 2004 but may be the most progressive thing in their platform (they want to repeal the Voting Rights Act).

The convention offers a window into how the faithful are shifting the GOP to the right and how the rejection of Biden?s 2020 election victory has become a key principle.

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.”

Democracy or autocracy, take your pick

There is no natural liberal world order, and there are no rules without someone to enforce them. Unless democracies defend themselves together, the forces of autocracy will destroy them. I am using the word forces, in the plural, deliberately. Many American politicians would understandably prefer to focus on the long-term competition with China. But as long as Russia is ruled by Putin, then Russia is at war with us too. So are Belarus, North Korea, Venezuela, Iran, Nicaragua, Hungary, and potentially many others. We might not want to compete with them, or even care very much about them. But they care about us. They understand that the language of democracy, anti-corruption, and justice is dangerous to their form of autocratic power—and they know that that language originates in the democratic world, our world. …

“Precisely because there is no liberal world order, no norms and no rules, we must fight ferociously for the values and the hopes of liberalism if we want our open societies to continue to exist.”

Unless democracies defend themselves, the forces of autocracy will destroy them.

The next big fight after Roe falls?

According to Bloomberg, the “abortion pill,” i.e., mifepristone (RU-486), is safe and effective but its use is hampered by all sorts of restrictions imposed by the FDA. As a result, it is rarely used in the United States. If Roe v. Wade were to be overturned (which is higly possible, if not probable), the Biden administration and the Democrats could react by removing these restrictions. That would defang a lot of red states’ attempts to ban abortion since women would be able to obtain the pill by mail from providers in blue states. The red states would of course outlaw this but the Constitution gives Congress the power to regulate interstate commerce so they should fail in the courts (not a given with today’s Supreme Court). In any case, it should be a winning political strategy for Democrats since polls show a majority favoring abortion rights. They would gain votes among moderates without losing any (the anti-abortionists aren’t going to vote for Democrats anyway).