Longtime Republican operative Patrick Ruffini on Thursday acknowledged that the GOP has created a big problem for itself in the wake of the ruling overturning Roe v. Wade. which threw abortion rights in the United States into a state of chaos.
Writing on Twitter, Ruffini said Republicans seemed completely unprepared for the blowback the decision would create for them.
"Not having pro-life battleground candidates stake out a clear, unified position on something like a 15-week ban on the day that Dobbs was announced seems like a strategic blunder," he argued. "It’s made especially worse by the fact that everyone knew this decision was coming."
Ruffini then referred to the surprise landslide defeat of an anti-abortion referendum in deep-red Kansas as an example of this strategic failure.
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"There’s a reason the Kansas referendum failed so hard and it’s that the people knew the Kansas legislature was quite likely to enact a 6-8 week ban, which is unpopular," he wrote. "Had the question posed been a 15-week ban instead of the Pandora’s Box that it was, it might have passed."
Journalist James Surowiecki, however, expressed skepticism that such a strategy would have worked.
"The anti-abortion wing of the GOP was never going to accept this," he wrote in reply to Ruffini's tweet. "And most of those battleground candidates had already gone on the record favoring far more extreme abortion restrictions. More than 90% of abortions in the US happen before 15 weeks. Telling evangelical Christians that after decades of support for the GOP, they were going to be rewarded by Republicans voting to ban only 8% of abortions was always going to be a very hard sell."