“How dare they”: Harris captures the Democrats’ mood in a rousing speech
The VP and President Biden both spoke to the implications of the Supreme Court’s Roe decision on the right to privacy as Sen. Chuck Schumer announces another attempt to codify reproductive freedom.
It turned out to be perfect timing.
A day after we learned the US Supreme Court is poised to overturn the 1973 decision that protects a pregnant person’s right to abortion care — and on her first day back to work after recovering from COVID-19 — Vice President Kamala Harris delivered a rousing defense of reproductive freedom at an event for EMILY’s List, the advocacy group that works to elect Democratic women in favor of abortion rights to office.
“Those Republican leaders who are trying to weaponize the use of the law against women — well, we say, “How dare they!” Harris said. “How dare they tell a woman what she can do and cannot do with her own body. How dare they! How dare they try to stop her from determining her own future! How dare they try to deny women their rights and their freedoms.”
The speech followed comments from President Joe Biden to reporters traveling with him to Alabama to visit a manufacturer of weapons the US is supplying to Ukraine in their fight against Russia.
“If the rationale of the decision as released were to be sustained, a whole range of rights are in question,” he said. “And the idea we’re letting the states make those decisions, localities make those decisions would be a fundamental shift in what we’ve done.”
The statement Harris released on Tuesday also spoke to the implications of the pending decision on the right to privacy.
“Roe ensures a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion. It also, at its root, protects the fundamental right to privacy,” she said. “If the right to privacy is weakened, every person could face a future in which the government can potentially interfere in the personal decisions you make about your life.” (Anti-LGBTQ rights activists have already mentioned same-sex marriage as the next frontier of the culture war once the right to abortion care is vacated.)
But Democratic voters have heard stirring rhetoric before. And several of them, especially young people and those from communities of color who helped Democrats claim a coveted “trifecta” — control of the House, Senate and White House — are looking to their leaders to take meaningful action.
In response, Biden said his Gender Policy Council is preparing options for an executive response to the continued attack on abortion and reproductive rights under a variety of possible outcomes in the cases pending before the Supreme Court.
“We will be ready when any ruling is issued,” Biden said.
And Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer announced his intention for the Senate to hold a vote on legislation to codify the right to an abortion in the law.
But the Senate just voted on the House-passed Women’s Health Protection Act in February and it failed with less than a simple majority. It’s expected to face the same fate when senators take it up again soon.
Fortunately for Democrats, the politics of abortion are on their side.
A majority of Americans say the Supreme Court should uphold Roe v. Wade by a two-to-one margin, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll conducted last week. And almost six in ten Americans oppose their state making abortions legal only in the first 15 weeks of pregnancy, the threshold of the Mississippi case the Supreme Court will rule on to overturn Roe. (58 percent of Americans oppose restricting abortion to the first six weeks of pregnancy, the limit in states like Texas.)
So as Republicans work to weather this news cycle and refocus attention on issues like inflation, crime and border security, Democrats will take to the campaign trail to make the case for candidates who support the right to abortion care in an effort to expand their congressional majorities in a hostile electoral environment.
“We’ve always been clear, but today we know our purpose. We know also what we are up against. We have been on the frontlines of this fight for many years, all of us in this together,” Harris said. “And now we enter a new phase. There is nothing hypothetical about this moment.”
More on the expected end of Roe v. Wade: “Now what?” (The Cut) •“The Constitution wasn’t written for women” (Susan Matthews / Slate) • “Elizabeth Warren is mad as hell” (Danielle Cohen / The Cut) • “The leaked draft Roe opinion is a disaster for the Supreme Court” (Ruth Marcus / WaPo) • “The conservatives aren’t just ending Roe — they’re delighting in it” (Mary Ziegler / The Atlantic)
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Today in Politics
President Biden this morning will receive his daily intelligence briefing. Then he and First Lady Jill Biden will welcome Team USA to the White House to celebrate their success in the summer and winter Olympic and Paralympic Games. Vice President Harris and Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff will also attend. This afternoon, Biden will speak on the economy and receive his weekly economic briefing with Vice President Harris.
The first lady this evening will also speak at a gala dinner for the Kuwait-America Foundation.
The House is out.
The Senate is in and will vote on several motions to instruct Senate negotiators with the House on legislation to invest in scientific research and development and the US semiconductor industry to compete with China.
In the Know
— President Vladimir Putin of Russia could formally declare war on Ukraine next Monday on what’s known as “Victory Day” inside Russia, which commemorates the country’s defeat of the Nazis in 1945. The official declaration would enable Putin to mobilize reserve forces and draft conscripted troops to offset the estimated 10,000 Russian soldiers who have been killed in the war since Russia invaded. (Natasha Bertrand, Katie Bo Lillis, Jennifer Hansler, Alex Marquardt and Brad Lendon / CNN)
— Related: Russia is reportedly planning to seize new territory in eastern Ukraine, which could trust the war into an unpredictable and even more dangerous phase. Russia up to now has made little progress in taking over the region, according to a US defense official. (Missy Ryan, John Hudson, Louisa Loveluck and David Stern / WaPo)
— The State Department reclassified WNBA star Brittney Griner as a wrongful detainee of the Russian government. The designation means that the US government will no longer wait for Griner's case to play out through the Russian legal system and will seek to negotiate her return. (T.J. Quinn / ESPN)
— The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reiterated its recommendation for masking on public transportation and in airports. The agency said the recommendation is based on the currently available data, including trends in US community transmission and projections in the coming months.
— May is the inaugural National Adolescent Health Month. The Department of Health and Human Services will mark the month-long observance with four weekly themes — sexual and reproductive health, mental health and well-being, physical health and youth-friendly services — and host a page featuring a suite of digital resources for youth-serving professionals.
— Related: HHS awarded nearly $25 million to boost school-based health services nationwide. The awards will support local partnerships between schools and health centers so children and youth receive the comprehensive physical and mental health care they need.
— The Labor Department reached a $1.8 million settlement agreement with LinkedIn to resolve allegations of gender-based pay discrimination. “While we have agreed to settle this matter, we do not agree with the government’s claims,” the company said in a statement. “LinkedIn pays and has paid its employees fairly and equitably when comparing similar work.” (AP News)
— Amazon Labor Union president Christian Smalls and organizers from a Starbucks union and other nationwide grassroots efforts will meet with Vice President Harris and Labor Secretary Marty Walsh tomorrow. Smalls will also testify at a Senate Budget Committee hearing alongside labor leaders and experts. (Austin Landis and Joseph Konig / Spectrum News)
— Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown and Republican Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio introduced a bill that would allow Social Security beneficiaries to have more emergency savings without affecting their benefits. The asset caps, which have been unchanged since 1984, would also be indexed to inflation moving forward.
— Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul of New York selected Democratic Rep. Antonio Delgado as the state’s next Lieutenant Gov. and her running mate in June’s Democratic primary. Delgado replaces Brian Benjamin, who resigned last month after being charged with federal public corruption. Editor’s note: Benjamin and I attend the same church but do not share a personal relationship. (Luis Ferré-Sadurní and Nicholas Fandos / NYT)
— A record 4.5 million people quit their jobs in March. The number of available jobs also climbed to 11.5 million, the highest level since the data began being tracked in December 2000. (Anneken Tappe / CNN Business)
Read All About It
Evans’s charm is undeniable. It’s thrilling to watch him keep his cool, moving from question to question as his guests beg for mercy. He lets their behavior lead his tone, but he never tries to match their energy. His straight-man persona is what makes the show palatable to people of all ages and backgrounds. You don’t have to be a YouTuber or understand the week’s memes to watch him. When I showed a few episodes to my family, they were all awed by his demeanor. They kept wanting to watch more, asking over and over, “How does he do it?”
A combination of the wings, the guests, and Evans has turned Hot Ones into a talk show with an extraordinarily dedicated fandom. That energy is what allows it to compete not just with the traditional late-night circuit but with the rest of streaming, linear TV and a celebrity’s own social media presence. Shortly after Baker started watching, he began making Hot Ones rankings on Twitter, writing short reviews of each show and guest. Soon the drop of Baker’s reviews was almost as anticipated as the episodes themselves among fans. Fans also regularly post themselves doing their own challenges, reviewing hot sauces and pranking their friends.
Hot Ones may thrive because Evans is a compelling, competent, and entertaining host who asks guests unique questions, but it also thrives because guests, and the audience, can trust that they’re in a safe, albeit spicy, space. Which is ultimately the promise all celebrity-driven talk shows provide — You answer our questions and give your name to our brand, and in return we will be nice and won’t try to ruin your career. This is the dance that’s been performed ever since the rise of the modern celebrity. Whatever value each party provides, they rely on each other to survive, and as such there are limitations as to what each party can do.
Rebecca Jennings on Twitter:
Set all of those things aside for a moment, though, and think about who Twitter is really for, who spends the most time there, and what its main purpose is. Twitter is a platform of words, meaning that one of its most vocal demographics is writers. And writers are annoying.
It is extremely funny, for instance, that on basically every other social media platform, the most ardent users proudly call themselves “creators,” a term that evokes art and inventiveness and excitement. Some of them are even able to make money there, like real, life-altering money!
Writers, on the other hand, aside from not making money on Twitter, are also for the most part deeply ashamed of their use of it, referring to the platform regularly in exactly the same tone I am doing now, as a smelly, fetid swamp full of decomposing yet self-righteous bog people. Sure, some people are making money on Twitter, via tips or “Super Follows” or the many sex workers who have built livings off of its comparatively lax content restrictions. But the real capital is found in the zillions of mostly meaningless interactions on Twitter, which carry oversized weight in the minds of people involved in them. Which, of course, makes them even more fun to pay attention to.
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