“The abortion decision will backfire – and benefit the Republicans” [This column appeared in today’s edition of DN (in Swedish) — an independent liberal daily newspaper]

Sociologists call the phenomenon “the big sort”, or the great division. In the 21st century, more and more Americans have moved to areas where others tend to like them politically.

Partly as a result, the number of counties, or electoral districts, where more than eight out of ten voters vote for the same party has quadrupled since 2004.

The process is self-reinforcing: The greater the concentration of opinion, the more conservative or progressive the local politics.

The deviants are increasingly giving up and moving to a state, city or suburb where people reason more like them.

Two strongly contrasting cultures emerge. One has its center in about ten states on the coasts as well as in city centers and university towns across the country.

The other dominates inland as well as in the outer suburbs and sparsely populated areas where the majority vote for Trump.

There are many indications that the Supreme Court’s decision to abolish federal abortion rights will further intensify the geographic polarization.

Texas has already hammered out a law that makes it more difficult for the state’s women to obtain abortions elsewhere. Other Republican states are expected to do the same.

Anyone who wants to keep their abortion right – almost three-quarters of American women – is effectively forced to move to a state that guarantees it.

That is, in fact, what Republican Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri predicts will happen.

In an attention-grabbing interview, he calls the abortion decision a “decisive moment”. Namely, it will make blue (Democratic) states bluer and red (Republican) states like Missouri redder – simply because more progressive voters move away. He thinks it is “excellent news”.

Wonder about it. The US electoral system already favors smaller states, mostly by giving them extra electoral votes in presidential elections, and Republicans dominate in almost all of them.

That is the reason why the party has had three presidents since 1988, despite winning the most votes in only one of the last eight presidential elections.

And that is the reason why it has been possible to build a strong conservative majority in the Supreme Court.

The more liberal voters concentrate in a few populous states on the coasts, the more cemented the imbalance will become. Already today, a presidential vote in North Dakota or Wyoming is worth four times more than in California.

The Republicans are not kidding about it. The abortion decision will “strengthen our grip on the Electoral College,” notes Hawley.

He is not wrong.

Arvid Åhlund

arvid.ahlund@dn.se

Progressive voters are moving away from there. He (Josh Harley) thinks it’s excellent news.

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