The right to abortion is protected in the Kansas State Constitution and on Tuesday a decisive majority of voters upheld it there. Fifty-nine percent of Kansans who turned out to vote voted to reject a constitutional amendment that would have opened the door to comprehensive abortion bans of the kind that exist in neighboring states like Missouri and Oklahoma.
What makes this all the more striking is the fact that Kansas is one of the most reliable Republican states in the country. Donald Trump won the 2020 presidential election with over 56% of the vote. Three of its four House representatives are Republicans, and its two Republican senators, Jerry Moran and Roger Marshall, are among the most conservative in the Senate.
Anti-abortion activists were confident they would succeed. Instead, they dealt a devastating blow to their project.
It is difficult to overstate the importance of this defeat. The Kansas vote is the first time abortion has been on the ballot since the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, which overturned Roe v. Wade. This is the first time voters have had a chance to vote on new abortion restrictions, and the result is a resounding victory for Kansans and Americans, who believe abortion rights are a part inextricable from our freedom under the Constitution.
If it’s not already obvious that Dobbs has destabilized American politics, the Kansas vote makes it clear. Republicans can still win the House, and even the Senate, in November. But the sheer unpopularity of abortion bans — along with the monstrous consequences for women in states that have banned abortion — is a heavy weight around the neck of the entire Republican Party.
The task for the National Democratic Party is to make this weight even heavier. And for that, they have the Kansas model, where pro-choice activists have gone on the offensive against restrictionists. They drew a stark contrast between their goals and those of their opponents and made abortion rights a hot issue for voters.
Republicans don’t want to fight on this ground — see the immediate campaign to downplay Dobbs’ impact in the wake of the ruling — which is all the more reason for Democrats to make them do it.
What i have written
I didn’t have a column this week! I did other things, though. I joined The American Prospect’s Left Anchor podcast (my journalistic alma mater) to discuss the Supreme Court, the Constitution, and how to get them off the political right.
I also recorded a short video for the Criterion channel in which I explored the career of the late and great actor Yaphet Kotto.
Annie Lowrey on pregnancy and motherhood for The Atlantic.
Jennifer L. Morgan on slavery and reproductive rights for the African American Intellectual History Society.
A 1978 interview with writer-director Paul Schrader about his first film, “Blue Collar.”
Gaby Del Valle on “environmental nativism” for The Nation magazine.
Monica Potts on Republicans and gay marriage for FiveThirtyEight.
Transcript of Vin Scully’s radio call from the ninth inning of Sandy Koufax’s 1965 Perfect Game against the Chicago Cubs.
I’m a huge Beastie Boys fan, and so when I saw this mural the last time I was in New York, I had to take a picture.
Eating: strawberry ice cream
My son has become an ice cream connoisseur and frequently requests different flavors of ice cream to make at home. This week we made strawberry ice cream using a recipe from David Lebovitz’s book, “The Perfect Scoop”. Here’s the recipe and, fair warning, you’ll need an ice cream maker for it.
1 pound fresh strawberries, rinsed and hulled
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vodka or other liquor
1 cup full fat sour cream
1 cup heavy cream
a squeeze of fresh lemon juice
Slice the strawberries and combine them in a bowl with the sugar and vodka, stirring until the sugar begins to dissolve. Cover and let sit at room temperature for an hour, stirring occasionally.
Blend strawberries and their liquid with sour cream, heavy cream and lemon juice in a blender or food processor until almost smooth, but still slightly thickened.
Refrigerate for an hour, then freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.