Monday, November 27, 2023


Rolling Stone reporters Tessa Stuart and Asawin Suebsaeng think this is self-evidently absurd:
The man who essentially ended the federal right to abortion thinks that he can now run for president in 2024 as a “moderate” on the issue....

According to ... two sources and other Trump allies and aides familiar with the situation, Trump and his team are looking past the primary towards a general-election fight against President Joe Biden — and they think they can somehow run the former president as a supposed “moderate” (as three sources put it) on abortion....
Democratic operatives, of course, assume that most Americans know Trump's position on reproductive rights in granular detail (because all the people the operatives know presumably do). I think many Americans, including some who don't pay a lot of attention to politics, know that Trump appointed the justices who make up the Supreme Court's anti-abortion supermajority and have strong opinions about that. But I wouldn't assume that everyone knows it.
“It’s a complete joke,” says Pat Dennis, president of the Democratic super PAC American Bridge 21st Century....

“It defies reality that Donald Trump and his advisers are greenlighting ads touting Trump’s role in killing Roe v Wade while millions of women in 21 states live every single day under laws severely restricting abortion access — and somehow simultaneously they have a strategy to moderate his position on the same issue?” Biden campaign spokesperson Seth Schuster said in a statement to Rolling Stone. “No one is buying that, and it obviously won’t work. Donald Trump spent his first term laser focused on ripping away a fundamental freedom from millions of women and he did it — and now he will live with the consequences next November.”
We live in a country where Republicans like Liz Cheney (who voted with then-President Trump 92.9% of the time) and Adam Kinzinger (who voted with Trump 90.2% of the time) can be called "moderates" for a few key moments of anti-GOP apostasy, even while they cling to very Republican policy positions. So Trump doesn't support a national abortion ban. People who spend a lot of time thinking about reproductive rights -- including many people who aren't otherwise very political -- know that this doesn't make up for Trump's judicial appointments. But the rest of the public needs to be reminded of Trump's abortion policies repeatedly -- especially in his own words:

We can trust the Biden camapign to run ads in which he boasts about getting Roe overturned -- can't we? We can, right? And we'll hear this relentlessly throughout the general election campaign. Won't we?

I think it'll happen -- spreading that message is such an obvious thing for the Biden campaign to do. But in addition, I hope the press asks Trump whether he'd sign a national abortion ban if a bill reached his desk. I want him to say no and lose some anti-abortion absolutist voters, or say yes and lose some of the voters he wants to impress with his "moderation." And I want him asked whether he'd ever appoint a pro-choice judge to the federal bench. Again, either way he answers could lose him votes.

But Trump isn't crazy to think he can get away with calling himself a moderate on this issue. We have such a low bar for Republicans who want to be called moderates.

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