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February 16, 2024 11:45 AM UTC

Trump Readies Himself to Touch Hot Stove of National Abortion Ban

  • by: Colorado Pols

Former President Donald Trump might not be the sharpest tool in the shed, but when it comes to political strategy, he’s definitely aware of avoiding the bigger landmines. And ever since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June 2022, no issue has been more fraught for Republicans than that of abortion rights.

Since June 2022, voters have overwhelmingly supported abortion rights in seven states, including red states such as Kansas and Ohio. Democrats have also been winning races all over the country, in many cases with a significant boost from voters who agree with them on protecting abortion rights. Democrats benefitted from increased voter turnout in 2022 because of the abortion rights issue — and it looks like a surefire electoral advantage in 2024 as well.

As The Associated Press reported in January:

When Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump said recently that he was “proud” to have a hand in overturning the abortion protections enshrined in Roe v. Wade, Democratic pollster Celinda Lake took it as a political gift, thinking to herself, “Oh my God, we just won the election.” [Pols emphasis]

It may not be that simple, but as the 2024 race heats up, President Joe Biden’s campaign is betting big on abortion rights as a major driver for Democrats in the election. Republicans are still trying to figure out how to talk about the issue, if at all, and avoid a political backlash.

“A vote for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris is a vote to restore Roe, and a vote for Donald Trump is a vote to ban abortion across the country,” said Julie Chavez Rodriguez, Biden’s campaign manager. “These are the stakes in 2024.”

Here in Colorado, Republican candidates have been twisting themselves in knots over the issue. A common approach for Republicans seeking higher office — and the approval of both right-wing Primary voters and, eventually, the electorate in a General Election — has been to applaud the overturning of Roe v. Wade while dismissing the idea of a national abortion ban.

As Trump closes in on the Republican nomination for President, he is starting to test out the best way to sit on the fence on abortion rights. As The New York Times reports today:

Former President Donald J. Trump has told advisers and allies that he likes the idea of a 16-week national abortion ban with three exceptions, in cases of rape or incest, or to save the life of the mother, according to two people with direct knowledge of Mr. Trump’s deliberations. [Pols emphasis]

Mr. Trump has studiously avoided taking a clear position on restrictions to abortion since Roe v. Wade was overturned in the middle of 2022, galvanizing Democrats ahead of the midterm elections that year. He has said in private that he wants to wait until the Republican presidential primary contest is over to publicly discuss his views, because he doesn’t want to risk alienating social conservatives before he has secured the nomination, the two people said.

Mr. Trump has approached abortion transactionally since becoming a candidate in 2015, and his current private discussions reflect that same approach.

One thing Mr. Trump likes about a 16-week federal ban on abortions is that it’s a round number. “Know what I like about 16?” Mr. Trump told one of these people, who was given anonymity to describe a private conversation. “It’s even. It’s four months.” [Pols emphasis]

For all but the most OCD of American voters, presenting an “even number” will make no difference to how they perceive Trump’s position on abortion rights. The only detail most voters will remember is that Trump SUPPORTS A NATIONAL ABORTION BAN.

Democrats haven’t been waiting to educate voters on Trump’s abortion stance.

As the Times explains further, Trump is keenly aware that this is a YUGE problem for him in 2024:

When discussing prospective vice-presidential candidates, Mr. Trump often asks whether they are “OK on abortion.” He is instantly dismissive when he hears that a Republican doesn’t support “the three exceptions.” He tells advisers that Republicans will keep losing elections with that position.

When the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June 2022, Mr. Trump told advisers that he believed the decision was going to be harmful to Republicans. Since then, he has formed the view that the abortion issue is overwhelmingly responsible for a string of Republican losses in congressional races.

And he is acutely aware of his own vulnerability: He appointed the three justices who enabled that decision, a fact he has publicly claimed credit for in several settings. Those statements have already been included in ads, and Democrats plan to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to remind voters of that fact.

Right-wing and evangelical Republicans can blame themselves for removing any nuance from a politician’s position on abortion rights. Whether we are talking about six weeks, 16 weeks, or some other random (odd or even) number, the bottom line is the same: Either you support abortion rights…or you don’t.

Democrats have long been running ads tying Trump to a potential federal abortion ban. Now that Trump is starting to clarify his position on a national ban, we’d expect the number of advertisements on abortion rights to increase dramatically.

No matter how you approach touching a hot stove, there’s simply no way to avoid getting burned.



4 thoughts on “Trump Readies Himself to Touch Hot Stove of National Abortion Ban

    1. And the beauty of it all is Diaper Don has to come up with the $ 350 mil in cash or secure a bond in order to appeal. Just like the E. Jean Carrol case, if he'd just have shut his festering gob the verdict would have been for millions less, but like the angry toddler he is he has no impulse control. Good day for justice.

  1. And SCOTUSBlog noticed a Politico article on one more element of Trump's legal status. Trump did not file a Supreme Court appeal of the Circuit Court's refusal to allow civil suits against Trump and his role in January 6 violence.

    That means at least three lawsuits brought against him in the aftermath of the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol can advance to the next phase — a period of limited evidence-gathering related to Trump’s activities on Jan. 6, 2021 and whether they were official or political in nature.

    The lawsuits — brought by members of Congress and police officers scarred by the attack — have been pending since 2021 but delayed amid Trump’s bid for the courts to declare him immune from lawsuits related to his actions as president.

    For now, that means a Washington, D.C., appeals court ruling that found Trump could be sued for his role in stoking the violence on Jan. 6 will stand. The unanimous ruling of the three-judge panel, which included a Trump-nominated judge, concluded that Trump’s remarks to supporters on Jan. 6 appeared to be delivered in his capacity as a candidate for reelection — not in his official capacity as president.

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