Last year, Kentucky Republicans imposed a highly restrictive abortion ban on voters by overriding the veto of Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear. And this year, Beshear is using the ban to dismantle the Republican nominee seeking to unseat him, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron.
On Sept. 1, Beshear rolled out an ad featuring Jefferson County Prosecutor Erin White castigating Cameron for believing a "9-year-old rape survivor should be forced to give birth." A little over two weeks later, Cameron flip-flopped on his staunch support for the law, telling a radio host he would sign legislation with exceptions for rape and incest if the Republican-led legislature sent it to his desk. The likelihood of that happening is next to zero, and everyone knows it, including Cameron.
Beshear wasn’t impressed. Now he’s back with a new ad featuring a real life child rape survivor, and it is devastating.
A woman named Hadley recalls being raped by her stepfather at age 12 "after years of sexual abuse."
"Anyone who believes there should be no exceptions for rape and incest could never understand what it's like to stand in my shoes," Hadley says. Then she addresses Cameron directly: "This is to you, Daniel Cameron: To tell a 12-year-old girl she must have the baby of the stepfather who raped her is unthinkable," Hadley says, adding that she's speaking out because women and girls need to have options.
"Daniel Cameron would give us none," she concludes.
It's hard to watch, but no viewer can miss the rage on Hadley's face, nor can they deny the righteousness of her cause. Hadley never even uses the word “abortion.” She doesn't have to—everyone knows exactly what she is talking about without weighing down her message with a word Republicans have demonized for decades.
The idea of a Democratic governor using the issue of abortion and reproductive freedom to destroy his Republican opponent in a red state like Kentucky would have been unimaginable just two years ago. But now the center of gravity on the issue has entirely shifted, and here we are.
Republicans across the country should be breathing into a bag as they watch Cameron attempt to deflect Beshear's broadsides. If Beshear wins reelection in November, Democrats in competitive races anywhere in the country will have a new roadmap for how to bury Republicans on abortion for the foreseeable future.
We did it! And it's all thanks to Molech! We're devoting this week's episode of "The Downballot" to giving praise to the dark god himself after New Hampshire Democrat Hal Rafter won a critical special election over Republican Jim Guzofski, the loony toons pastor who once ranted that liberals make "blood sacrifices to their god Molech." Democrats are now just one seat away from erasing the GOP's majority in the state House and should feel good about their chances in the Granite State next year. Republicans, meanwhile, can only stew bitterly that they lack the grassroots fundraising energy provided by Daily Kos, which endorsed Rafter and raised the bulk of his campaign funds via small donations.