From Donald Trump's Jan. 6 coup attempt to GOP-led book bans to unbridled attacks on voting rights, grassroots Democrats have been waiting for leaders in Washington to actually take Republicans head-on on something—anything, really.
Instead, congressional Democrats have continually stuck with milquetoasty talking points about kitchen-table issues as Republicans hand them flashpoint after flashpoint on a silver platter. A federal judge ruling that Trump likely committed crimes on Jan. 6 comes to mind, for instance.
But the draft Supreme Court opinion gutting Roe v. Wade may have changed all that. The impending demise of Roe—a monumental disruption of modern American life—has organically captured the political spotlight. It's an issue so foundational and synonymous with the women's movement that it needs no introduction into the political mainstream.
Which makes it a perfect issue for Democrats leery of straying from their kitchen table talking points. As Christine Pelosi told us on The Brief when asked whether Democrats were ready for this moment: "I think the base of the party is ready for the moment. I think the American people are ready for the moment. And I think the Democrats will rise to the moment."
Christine Pelosi talks about the Supreme Court's leaked decision on Roe v. Wade, and what Democrats are doing now, on Daily Kos’ The Brief podcast
In other words, this isn't a top-down moment, it's a bottom-up moment. That means it will be led by protesters and politicians alike that are outside of Washington. It's an uprising we are already witnessing among swing-state Democrats who are taking the issue head-on because it's both the right thing to do and good politics.
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, for instance, promised to "fight like hell" to preserve abortion rights in her state.
At the same time, Republicans are telegraphing their weakness on the issue as they dodge any substantive discussion of the ruling.
The White House reportedly also views the ruling, once it actually drops, as a "galvanizing moment" for the Democratic base, according to Politico.
The White House quickly circulated a statement Tuesday from President Biden about the draft ruling stating that his team has been prepping internally for a variety of outcomes at the Supreme Court.
"We will be ready when any ruling is issued," read the statement.
Biden has also commented on the draft extemporaneously, noting that the decision as written would immediately call into question a whole host of other rulings on privacy issues—rulings that have become part of the fabric of modern American living.
“It would mean that every other decision relating to the notion of privacy is thrown into question,” Biden told reporters, calling the opinion "radical."
“If what is written is what remains, it goes far beyond the concern of whether or not there is the right to choose. It goes to other basic rights ... who you marry, whether or not you decide to conceive a child or not, whether or not you can have an abortion, a range of other decisions.”
Biden also suggested that such a decision could be weaponized at the state level to tear down other Supreme Court precedents.
“Does this mean that in Florida they can decide they’re going to pass a law saying that same sex-marriage is not permissible? It’s against the law in Florida?” Biden asked. “It’s a fundamental shift in American jurisprudence.”
The nightmare scenario on abortion that absolutely none of us hoped for appears to be coming to fruition. But now that it has been forced upon us, perhaps it can help Democrats weather the midterms and save our democracy. The grassroots seem to get it. Swing-state Democrats seem to get it. And perhaps, even the White House gets it.
Now, we just need congressional Democrats to follow along.