Vivek Ramaswamy's Search for Meaning
And the rest of the GOP's search for relevance.
Last night, a bunch of Republicans who are trailing Donald Trump in the polls took the stage in Minnesota to duke it out over climate change, Ukraine funding, abortion rights, and more. It was quite a spectacle. Several of the candidates were as good as invisible. Others were incoherent, not just avoiding the questions, but appearing not to even comprehend them (Tim Scott’s proposed China policy, for example, was cutting jobs at the IRS and combating the fentanyl crisis). It was embarrassing, just an endless parade of nincompoops and narcissists, each dumber and more venal than the next.
It didn’t appear that anyone on stage, except for Nikki Haley, has learned anything from the midterm trouncing that Republicans received after Roe v. Wade was overturned and abortion rights voters turned out in droves. Every single candidate signaled their support for laws restricting abortion. Most supported a federal ban. Haley indicated that she supported a federal ban, too, but that it wouldn’t be politically possible and it would alienate moderate voters, so Republicans should stop talking about it.
And most of the GOP candidates stood on stage and told obvious, bald-faced lies about abortion. The most common was that Democrats want abortion up until the moment of birth. The truth is that abortions are not happening up until the moment of birth. Fewer than 1% of abortions happen past 21 weeks of pregnancy; even fewer happen in the third trimester. Most abortions that are happening this late in the game are happening under extreme circumstances — usually a pregnancy gone wrong; sometimes a child or person with intellectual disabilities or delays who didn’t realize they were pregnant, were traumatized and in denial, or were too scared to tell someone who could help. Sometimes, fetuses die late in pregnancy and have to be removed, or the pregnancy has severe, life-threatening complications. But no one is having an elective abortion on a healthy pregnancy as they go into labor. Women are not going, “oh crap, I’m having a baby, I guess I forgot to have that abortion!” And doctors are not going, “oh sure, now that you’re in labor, let’s terminate this perfectly normal pregnancy.” It doesn’t happen. But enough can (and sometimes does) go wrong in pregnancies that it doesn’t make much sense to have politicians, who know very little about these matters, set arbitrary cut-off dates for abortions. It makes much more sense to give doctors the leeway they need to do their jobs and save lives.
But the weirdest lie came from Ron DeSantis, who told the story of Penny, an anti-abortion activist who has spent her career claiming that she survived multiple abortion attempts (?) and that she was actually aborted — but her grandmother saved her from a hospital pan (????), and that’s why she’s now pro-life.