Thunderclap ballot box victory on abortion rights in Kansas gives Democrats a potent midterm issue
Voters in Kansas on Tuesday, in dramatic numbers and by an overwhelming margin, rejected a ballot measure that would have allowed lawmakers to ban abortion in the state.
In more immediate terms, the ballot measure's defeat -- on a day of extraordinary turnout -- also provides a clear indication that the desire to defend abortion rights could be a potent issue for Democrats in the coming midterm elections.
Across party lines, abortion rights are popular and the Supreme Court's ruling is not.
The Kaiser Family Foundation came to a similar conclusion, with 61% of respondents to their survey saying they wanted their state to guarantee access to abortion.
The "No" coalition -- which opposed a measure that would have removed abortion rights from the state constitution -- appears to be on track to win in a landslide.
That figure exceeded Kansas' general election turnout in the midterm year of 2010 and was approaching the 2014 total overnight.
And overall primary turnout in the state two years ago -- in the midst of a presidential campaign -- clocked in at just over 636,000.
Democratic turnout was even lower -- another sign that the abortion issue transcends party lines.
Fewer than 250,000 voted in the party's Senate primary and only a few thousand more punched ballots for incumbent Democratic Gov.
While Kansas got their word in, millions of Americans in other states are unlikely to have a similar opportunity -- at least not anytime soon.
But even before Tuesday night's thunderclap, there have been hints that even GOP heavyweights are disinclined to escalate the fight.
The reasoning behind those decisions has been parsed out and officials like DeSantis have pointed to existing or pending laws, but the broader trend is clear: abortion rights, now as before, are broadly popular across party lines.