The Kansas abortion vote is vastly underreported in the media

Kyle Rivas/Getty Images Torturing a sentence of by Thomas Frank seminal political analysis, what’s wrong with tuesday’s national medi...


Kansans will vote on the constitutional amendment on abortion

Kyle Rivas/Getty Images

Torturing a sentence of by Thomas Frank seminal political analysis, what’s wrong with tuesday’s national media coverage referendum in Kansas on abortion rights?

Monday evening, the Democratic political analyst James Carville told me he thought the Aug. 2 vote on reproductive rights was the most consequential vote in thirty years, and it doesn’t take a political genius to figure out why. The outcome of the vote not only determines Kansas women’s abortion rights, but it is the mother of all political indicators following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

And even? Besides a brief mention at 9 a.m. Hello Joe, morning shows on all three major cable news networks ignored Tuesday’s vote – a vote that will set states’ course on health care, choice and the rights of fetuses and embryos versus those of humans adults for the foreseeable future in the United States. WTF people?

Given the breathtaking coverage of the leaky draft of the Dobbs decision, the subsequent decision itself setting aside deerand the large amount of protest coverage that followed, a reasonable person might think this vote deserves a lot more coverage.

To be fair, in the last three weeks there have been over 200 mentions of “Kansas” and “abortion” on MSNBC. On CNN, those words in the exact sentence were mentioned 67 times, and on Fox News, they were only mentioned twice. But before you think that’s enough coverage, that’s over 500 hours of cable news programming. Not good, Bob.

So why is this vote so important? Simply put, the vote will decide whether to end the state’s constitutional right to abortion. It comes in the form of a ballot measure that, if passed, will allow the Republican Kansas Legislature to enact a near-total ban on abortion. This is similar to what several neighboring states have done, which means the Sunflower State will no longer be a safe haven for women seeking abortions in the area.

A ‘yes’ vote will allow for a constitutional amendment banning abortion, while a ‘no’ vote will keep abortion legal in the state – a state that, in dark irony, was founded on freedom during the movement of abolition, which is why it is known in many circles as “the Free State”.

Carville spent quite a bit of time in Kansas State last week because he recognizes the broad implications of this vote. If Kansas votes to allow conservative state lawmakers to institute a statewide abortion ban, that would indicate how many more red states will follow suit. It would also strengthen the pro-life platform within the Republican Party. Of course, if the vote keeps abortion legal in the traditionally red state, it would send a massive message in the opposite direction.

I grew up in Kansas — first in Hutchinson, a small town outside of Wichita — then later in the Kansas City suburb of Overland Park, the county seat of Johnson County. State politics is just as bifurcated as America is today: A plethora of Trump flags can still be seen flying around Hutchinson, while “vote no” street signs in Johnson County far exceed the anti-abortion “vote yes” signs.

Carville is a strong supporter of the Democratic agenda, and his recent stay in Kansas was all about the outcome of that vote. He couldn’t call his shot but thinks it will be close. He added that a strong turnout in Johnson County, which had 65 percent “NO” voters, would go a long way to keeping abortions legal in the state.

Carville, however, noted one upside to the low national profile of this vote: It kept “elitist East Coast crackpots” out of the discussion, suggesting that the professional political class who arrive from the coasts to work on local referendums like this one ends up doing more harm than good.

And speaking of “elitist East Coast crackpots” and their oversized footprint in the political media ecosphere… the most obvious reason the media ignored this story? The same political provincialism that makes coastal elites such a perfect — and often deserved — punch line for so many average Americans.

This is an opinion piece. The opinions expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author.



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Newsrust - US Top News: The Kansas abortion vote is vastly underreported in the media
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