Opinion: New Yorkers’ election message was not about inflation

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District is where Joe Biden just barely won In 2020 — the kind of place where you’d expect voters to swing the other way in the mid-term. And yet Ryan won with 52% of the vote, for Molinaro’s 48%, ending the term of former Congressman Antonio Delgado, who had been promoted to lieutenant governor of New York. (Ryan also won the Democratic primary for New York’s newly created 18th congressional district).
I live in the district, and the blue signs for both candidates are spotty lawns in several counties. One difference, however, is that signs that read “Vote Paul Ryan for Congress” are often next to the pink ones. Told “The election is on the ballot.”
An issue of choice, maybe a . together with massive influx The past two years that New York City residents in the Catskills and Hudson Valley have brought their liberal politics with them seem to have made a difference for Ryan.
It has long been a fairly liberal district, and is often winnable for Republicans, especially when the presidency is a Democrat. Roughly speaking White And voters above the average age of 19 have swung back and forth between choosing Republicans and Democrats for the presidency, often across the nation. The majority voted Barack Obama twice, and then Donald Trump in 2016, followed by Biden in 2020 in a closely divided election.

And the district ties together more rural counties that are solidly red with two, Ulster and Columbia, which are relative to some of the larger cities in the area (“big” of course, in this mostly rural area, where cities are also very large). are small). But many cities in the region, however small, have become very popular among New York City immigrants, perhaps most notably Kingston and Woodstock in Ulster County and Hudson in Columbia County.

Walk down Warren Street in the Hudson, and you’re in Brooklyn North with more or less natural wine bars, single-origin coffee houses, and art galleries adorned with rainbow flags. Drive across the river to the more rural areas of Greene County and you could be in a position of red, complete with Trump and “Let’s Go Brandon” signs, and some that contain Biden’s name—with a slang in front of it. .

Ryan built his campaign about fundamental values ​​he believed would win even in this politically mixed field: abortion rights, sensible gun policy, and the protection of democracy. In contrast, Molinaro asked voters to send a message to Biden on inflation and crime, Saying The election will be a “referendum” on the Biden presidency.

Voters really sent a message – but it wasn’t about inflation.

Early figures indicate a disproportionate turnout of female voters. According to tom bonnierWomen, the CEO of TargetSmart, a Democratic political data firm, made up 52% ​​of voters in NY-19 but 58% cast early and absentee ballots. That high female turnout suggests that abortion rights may have been a huge motivator in this race.
By most measures, Republicans should have had an advantage here. In non-presidential election years the opposition party usually gets the lead. Although it was not actually a midterm election, it was comparable in being a non-presidential-of-the-year vote – and leads to midterm voting. oblique Old, white and conservative.

And because this election took place in late August, it was really about voting: at a time when so many people are out of town, and certainly when most Americans aren’t used to voting, who’s paying attention? Was and was inspired to show up?

The answer seems to be those who cared that the election was on the ballot.

The Hudson Valley is not the first place where voters have articulated their support of abortion rights. In Kansas, a reliably Republican state, voters denied Attempts to reduce the right to abortion.

It is true that progressives are more pro-choice than conservatives. But 61% of Americans believe abortion should be legal in most cases, and say the right to terminate a pregnancy should lie between a woman and her doctor—not her legislator.

It was fair enough to see Ryan lean on the abortion issue during the campaign, while Molinaro shied away from it. Molinaro is anti-abortion, but in an effort to appeal to more liberal voters (Upstate New York is often conservative, but it doesn’t have a Bible belt). Told He did not support a federal ban on the procedure, and that decision should be left to the individual states.
It might be the Democrats' only chance to blunt the red wave in November
“Supreme Court sent the issue back to the states,” Molinaro Told Washington Post. “States have to act. This state has acted, and the widest reach is preserved here in New York.” In other words, New Yorkers, don’t worry about it.

New Yorkers, including Hudson Valley residents, are quite concerned about abortion access – and so are many other Americans. Molinaro may say he would not have voted for a federal abortion ban, but plenty of other Republicans will.

A Republican majority in Congress could actually mean that lawmakers would vote to curtail abortion rights. They would certainly try to block any attempt to expand those rights at the federal level. In the upcoming midterm, the election is on the ballot, regardless of whether you’re voting in a liberal state or district.

Democrats have not been nearly aggressive enough in expanding and protecting abortion rights, and their long-standing belief that abortion rights were safe is part of the reason we are This mess. But we really should blame the aggressive right-wing attacks against abortion rights and access. Keeping Republicans out of power is the only way to protect our universal right to make decisions about our own bodies.
Some Republicans seem to be grappling with the horrors they have set in motion. In South Carolina, Republican Representative Neil Collins emotional speech This suggests he is now second-guessing his support of the anti-abortion bill, one doctor told him, risking the life of one of his patients during an abortion. But he is in the minority. Unfortunately, most Republicans are not changing their position on abortion in any meaningful way. Meanwhile, the anti-abortion movement is only getting more aggressive and advancing. more extreme laws,
Stories about the real-life impact of abortion criminalization laws — of women having abortions being sent home and told to wait for a life-threatening infection before they can get care ectopic pregnancy A woman denied abortion despite not being treated The fetus does not have a skullA child rape victim’s law will be forced to deliver and motherhood — showing many Americans for the first time what really happens when you outlaw abortion. And those Americans are casting the ballots now and in November.
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It turns out that medicine and reproduction, being complex matters, are better left to doctors and specialists rather than ideologically driven politicians. Thinkers and anti-abortion politicians have responded to these stories with widespread attention – they falsely claimed the story was about a pregnant 10-year-old rape victim. Cheat, For example. Or they engage in denial, claiming that laws banning abortion don’t actually endanger women’s lives and don’t do all the horrible things that women, doctors, and lawyers are saying they do. Huh.

People are not buying it in a big way. I hope that what the public is seeing is that laws criminalizing abortion do much more than just terminate unwanted pregnancies (although it is bad enough). The unfortunate truth is that many people believe they will never need abortion care, and don’t spend much time thinking about abortion.

even though one in four women She will have an abortion in her lifetime, a procedure not something many people take for granted unless they need it. Many women also believe that they will never have an abortion on their own – a belief that can change with an unexpected, badly timed, or health-compromising pregnancy.
but huge majority women America will have a baby at some point. Most men will father a child, hopefully with women they love and care for. It is becoming increasingly clear that criminalizing abortion can have consequences for each of them.

And I suspect that, more than anything, this is why we are seeing voters taking such a strong stand. “Keep your laws off my body” and “Keep your government out of my uterus” are ideas that appeal to freedom-focused conservatives who pursue unnecessary government interference. They certainly appeal to liberals and moderates who are horrified by these attacks on abortion rights and dismayed at how many women and girls they have already hurt.

Democrats are increasingly uniting and running on abortion rights, There are Republicans in all except the most conservative areas of the country. far By issue (they could, of course, adopt more popular positions on abortion rights, but that wouldn’t fly with their extremist base). Now it’s up to voters to send a message: In November, the election is on the ballot again, and it’s up to us how much it matters.



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