Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Choice Wins in Kentucky! (I was right!)

Every single person reading this blog probably laughed when I predicted choice would win in Kentucky. Well, now you can all suck on this, both of you:

To the nearest whole number, my forecast was exactly correct: 53/47. Okay, okay, some precincts haven't reported in yet. So?

Note that the total vote count in this statewide question matches the total vote count in Sen. Rand Paul's re-election race. Paul won, 61/39. He is a virulently anti-choice senator. Now, to see how important that is, you need to package the numbers a little differently (since the winning number usually gets written first, when you use ##/## format as I have here). Let's do it this way:

Now you can see why it matters. about 1.35M people voted in both contests, and it is reasonable to assume they were the same people. It is also reasonable to assume that everyone who voted against "no abortion" also voted against Rand Paul. Which means that about 164,000 Paul voters also voted in favor of choice. (I know that chart is confusing, because of its use of double-negatives, but it has to be that way to stack up the pro-Paul, anti-choice voters in one column together, and the anti-Paul, pro-choice voters in another column.)

The implications are profound. First, if those 164,000 pro-choice voters had all voted against Paul, he would have lost. Second, it means no statewide candidate can win in Kentucky on this issue. Of course, it also means lots of local candidates in Kentucky cannot win on this issue. Third, this means any hope for a federal abortion ban is now DOA.

This is a seismic-shift moment for American politics. As a liberal lawyer who is pro-choice, I have long infuriated countless liberal allies by saying I don't think there is a clear right to abortion expressed in the United States constitution. I wish there were, but there isn't. So I have also long said that returning this issue to the political arena (rather than relying forever on a court decision) would be the surest way to shut down anti-choice politicians, nation-wide.

I was sad to see Roe overturned, because it has already meant the ruin of some people's lives. But I also felt this might be the moment I have expected, when the need to defend our rights through the democratic process would finally bring out the true American liberal majority. Nothing is certain but death and taxes. Yet, I think last night gives me more reason than I have ever had to believe my long-term prediction is on the verge of coming true. (And thus I say to my my regular readers, who tend to disagree with me about this, the two of you can just buy me lunch.)

UPDATE: As the last few precincts report in, the margin has only solidified:

This is a clear win for choice. Ironic, isn't it? The vote was about choice in an anti-choice state. The government of Kentucky just found out that its people choose choice, when given a choice to choose. Let that be a lesson to all right-wing legislators who think it's their place to tell others how to live their lives: you guys may think that freedom is a gun; we think it's being able to decide things for ourselves.

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