3 August 2022


Cogito Ergo Non Serviam

Kansas Votes to Protect Abortion Access 


The people of Kansas are largely a conservative bunch. Small towns and rural environments tend to shy away from radical changes and are heavily reliant on "old-fashioned common sense." Pragmatism lies at the core of their way of life. So when the Supreme Court erred in its Dobbs decision sending abortion rights back to the states, the radicals who have hijacked the Republican Party in recent years were all ready to put abortion rights in their cross-hairs. Yesterday, the pragmatic conservatives of Kansas told the radical right to take a hike. On a vote of 59% to 41%, the people rejected an amendment to the State Constitution that would have restricted the right to control one\'s own body.

The New York Times explained, "The push for an amendment was rooted in a 2019 ruling by the Kansas Supreme Court that struck down some abortion restrictions and found that the right to an abortion was guaranteed by the State Constitution. That decision infuriated Republicans, who had spent years passing abortion restrictions and campaigning on the issue. They used their supermajorities in the Legislature last year to place the issue on the 2022 ballot."

The Republican radicals endeavored to give themselves every advantage. In addition to targetting a deeply conservative state, they opted to hold the referendum not during a general election in November but during an August primary. Their reason was simple. Democrats tend not to vote in primaries at the same rate as Republicans. That means that an August primary electorate would be more Republican than at a general election. That would mean that the result would be skewed farther to the right than a November result. They were hoping for a landslide that would vindicate their approach.

The result was, indeed, a landslide. But the Republican radicals were on the losing end of it. As it turns out, there are a great many Republican pragmatists who realized that, no matter how much one may regret abortion as an unpleasant necessity, acccess to abortion is a necessity.

The numbers back that up. Johnson County, which is largely the suburbs southwest of Kansas City, had 53% voter turn out. Almost 910,000 voters cast ballots statewide, about half the total of registered voters. Traditionally, Kansas primaries have turnout in the 30-35% range in a good year. One believes that much of the increase stems from having the abortion amendment on the ballot, drawing Democrats and Republican pragmatists out who might otherwise have stayed home as well as energizing the Republican radical voters.

This is something that the GOP hardliners have failed to understand. The issue of choice regarding pregnancy energizes the bases of both parties. In this instance, the Democrats turned up in larger numbers than usual. In addition, the pragmatists in the GOP also turned up. There is simply no realistic scenario under which the amendment would fail if the GOP vote was monolithic. Clearly, there are many in the Republican ranks who were unwilling to go as far as the radicals.

That is not to say that the same pragmatists will vote for Democrats in November. But one does not have to get them to do so. One must merely get them to skip voting for the far-right. Something similar happened in 2020 in many places where voters voted a straight GOP ballot but skipped voting for Donald Trump. A vote not cast for one\'s opposition is almost as good as a ballot cast for one\'s candidate.

This journal knows that, if there is a way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, the Demcorats usually find it. Now, however, the Republicans are doing much the same.

© Copyright 2022 by The Kensington Review, Jeff Myhre, PhD, Editor. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written consent. Produced using Ubuntu Linux.

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