Ohio Republicans fire away at the Constitution
Plus, abortion rights showdowns
Welcome to a Monday evening edition of Progress Report.
I’ve got a lot of news to discuss, including the introduction of some rage-inducing bills, voting rights developments, multiple abortion cases, and new polling numbers that validate what I’ve been pitching as a key path to success in the 2024 elections.
You’ve undoubtedly been inundated all day with Cyber Monday sales and requests for donations, so I’ll make this very short: I’m upping the ante on the Black Friday discount and now offering 25% off subscriptions to Progress Report. Unlike the right-wing media, which is financed by billionaires and shadowy PACs, this newsletter relies entirely on readers like you. You’re probably reading this on Giving Tuesday, which works just as well.
The deal expires at midnight on Wednesday, so if you want to support my work but also want to save a bit of cash, now is your moment.
Here’s a rundown of major stories that have largely gone underreported or downright ignored by the Beltway media.
😩 🔫 Ohio Republicans are considering a bill that would ban police and other government employees from enforcing federal gun laws. House Bill 51 also makes any government employee liable to be sued for up to $50,000.
As the name implies, the Second Amendment Preservation Act justifies itself by asserting that national gun control laws are unconstitutional. It’s act that has already flopped elsewhere: Missouri Republicans passed virtually the same law in 2021, only for a federal judge to strike it down this past March. In October, the very gun-friendly US Supreme Court turned away the state’s emergency appeal.
Clarence Thomas, of course, said that he would have granted a stay, allowing for the law to go back into effect. Over to you, Dick Durbin.
This bill, which is currently in House committee, is very unlikely to be popular with voters if and when it passes into law. This summer, a USA Today/Suffolk poll found that an overwhelming 92% of Ohioans supported mandatory background checks to purchase firearms while 88% of them backed standardized training to carry a concealed weapon. Red flag laws had the support of 70% of voters, and a ban on high capacity magazines was backed by 54% of respondents.
Senate President Matt Huffman shrugged off the findings at the time, saying that polls are “not helpful in policy making” and “not a good way to govern.”
If Huffman were concerned with public opinion, he may have thought twice about supporting Ohio Republicans’ end to the training once required for a concealed carry permit.
He can ignore polls not because he’s deeply principled, but becauuse the he’s protected by the GOP’s legislative gerrymander. The lopsided map was newly blessed by the conservative state Suprene Court, means that his caucus could pursue the most deranged right-wing fantasies without having to really sweat major electoral consequences.
For anything to change at the moment, Ohio Republican voters who support gun control laws are going to have to prioritize them and make them critical to their decisions in the voting booth.
👶 🗓️ Paid family leave is probably the most popular policy in the United States right now.
A new survey of battleground state voters reveals that the policy, part of Biden’s jettisoned Build Back Better program, is supported by people from across the political spectrum. A whopping 82% of voters support giving people up to 12 weeks of paid parental and family leave, while 65% of voters strongly support the proposal. Nearly three-quarters of Republicans favor the policy.
The survey was conducted by Lake Research Partners on behalf of the activist organization Paid Leave for All, so the data was obviously published with an agenda in mind. That said, the results strongly mirror those from a Navigator survey that was conducted in the fall of 2022.
Both surveys indicate that voters would be more likely to turn up to the polls to support a candidate who they knew supported paid leave.
I’ve been arguing for months now that Democrats should center their 2024 campaign on making explicit promises to deliver on the ultra-popular social programs that died with Build Back Better. The infrastructure spending and Inflation Reduction Act were decent policy, but save for jobs in very specific places, they’re just not going to deliver tangible, easy-to-understand benefits like paid family leave, childcare, and universal pre-k.
In 2022, there were 11 states that guaranteed some form of paid family leave, yet only one in four American workers nationwide had access to benefit. Low-income workers had it even worse, as only 13% of them had access to paid family leave.
The new Democratic trifectas in Michigan and Minnesota passed their own paid leave laws this year. Congressional Democrats offered a bill that would institute it nationwide, but that was more for show than anything else. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, however, as it’s a show that Democrats need to rerun.
Last night, I wrote that the expirations of the pandemic-era economic programs like the expanded child tax credit, SNAP benefits, subsidized child care, and the student loan moratorium are neutralizing wage gains and drive Americans’ disapproval of Biden’s poll numbers. Today, Politico published an article that says essentially the same thing, even if the White House dismisses the idea. That denial is likely a reaction to Democrats’ inability to make those programs permanent. Instead of trying to bury that failure, they should pin it on Republicans.
🍑🗺️ The Georgia legislature will begin a special session this week to draw new legislative and Congressional maps that include more majority-Black districts.
A federal judge last month found that the state’s maps were illegally gerrymandered by race and ordered the Republican-run legislature to rectify the imbalance. The state Senate unveiled a draft of its proposed map today, which would comply with the command to create two additional Black-majority districts.
The state House has to create five new such districts, while they must together draw a Congressional map with one new Black-majority district.
🏥 ✊ There are two major abortion lawsuit to cover today, both of them from states where the procedure has been banned almost entirely. The stakes of each couldn’t be bigger.