Graham’s Abortion Bill Faux Pas
Oh, Lindsey, you just couldn’t help yourself, could you? You had to go and make a giant mess for your party, now didn’t you? On Tuesday, Sen. Lindsey Graham dropped a giant, Amber Heard-sized turd on the Republican Party by introducing a bill proposing a national ban on almost all abortions after 15 weeks. Usually when we question which team Graham plays for, we are metaphorically referring to his ambiguous sexual identity, but in this case, one has to wonder if Graham is secretly in bed with the Democrats because this bill can only serve to bolster their election chances come this November.
First of all, let’s be perfectly clear and recognize right here and now that this bill has zero chance of becoming law. In fact, I would go so far as to say that Graham has a better chance of having sex with the entire Dallas Cowboy cheerleader squad, or the football team, whatever his choice may be, than he does of getting this highly unpopular proposal passed. As currently constituted, both houses of Congress are controlled by Democrats, all of whom are united in their rejection of any restrictions on women’s reproductive freedoms, never mind one as restrictive as Graham’s which allows few exceptions, even for rape or incest. But even if every Democrat in both Houses were to magically sleep through the official roll call vote, this thing would still have to be signed off on by President Biden, and if you haven’t heard his rhetoric recently on Roe vs Wade, let’s just say he wouldn’t view Graham’s bill favorably. So why is Graham even introducing a bill that is doomed to fail in the first place?
Clearly, what Graham is doing is a calculated political gamble, but to anyone who has actually been listening to the outcry of American women and the general populace as a response to the Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe vs Wade, this is very much a poorly-calculated political gamble. I am guessing that Graham never progressed beyond 3rd grade math because even the reactions of members of his own party suggest that they know that this is very much a losing proposition.
Graham is pandering to the extreme base of the Republican Party, the evangelical voters that show up in droves for primaries and thus dominate the party’s selection of candidates. But when it comes to general elections on a national scale, they still represent a fringe element, a vocal minority whose votes are limited and already pre-determined. Polling data consistently shows that the vast majority of Americans support women’s reproductive freedoms and that only about 25% of Americans are in favor of abortion restrictions like the ones Graham is proposing. Moreover, the extreme pro-lifers who will approve of Graham’s bill were already going to vote Republican anyway. Graham’s bill not only has no chance of passing, it is also highly unlikely to attract any votes come this November. Rather, the swing elections in this year’s Congressional races will be decided by unaffiliated, middle of the road voters, the vast majority of whom are opposed to abortion restrictions such as Graham’s.
What Graham’s bill is likely to succeed in doing, however, is to energize women voters and the Democratic base, all of whom are now more likely to turn out and vote for Democratic candidates come this November. Instead of trying to downplay a losing issue for the Republican Party, Graham is serving to highlight it, right in time for Democrats to jump on that mistake and utilize it to convince crucial swing voters that the Republican Party is here to take away their basic rights and freedoms. All of which has Democrats licking their chops and finally finding a reason to thank Lindsey Graham.
Let’s face it- just a few months ago, Democrats stood to get their proverbial asses kicked come this November. Inflation was soaring, gas prices were hitting record highs, and immigration from Mexico was becoming problematic as many blamed more lax policies of the Biden administration for encouraging a surge in folks flooding over the border. But with a series of key policy agenda wins under their belts and dramatic reductions in both gas prices and inflation in recent weeks, Democrats were in position to make the upcoming elections more competitive. All they needed to win back voters was a divisive social issue, and Graham just gift-wrapped them the ultimate November surprise.
Ever since the Supreme Court overturned Roe vs Wade with the Dobbs case, women have galvanized around this polarizing issue, vowing to supplant the politicians who voted to strip them of their basic reproductive freedoms and usher in a blue wave of political influence. Now just weeks before casting ballots, women voters have been given a prescient reminder of just how perilous their rights are when left in the hands of a Republican Party who wants to take them all away. In fairness to Graham, his Senate seat will not be up for re-election until 2026, so maybe he just doesn’t give a damn, but I’m sure his fellow Republicans who are vying for re-election in battleground states do. If the Kansas special election taught us anything, it is that abortion rights are a losing issue for Republicans, even in states that lean conservative. After all, last time I checked, half the American population has a vagina and a uterus and doesn’t want the government telling them what to do with theirs.
So perhaps Congressional Republicans and women have finally found something they can agree on, namely that they both want Lindsey Graham to just shut the fuck up.
Steven Craig is the author of the best-selling novel WAITING FOR TODAY, as well as numerous published poems, short stories, and dramatic works. Read his blog TRUTH: In 1000 Words or Less every THURSDAY at www.waitingfortoday.com