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Abortion, Democracy and The Bogey of Issue Literalism

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November 14, 2022 12:41 p.m.

One regular refrain of the last month of the 2022 midterm was that abortion and Dobbs had faded as a driving issue in the face of economic concerns. Another was that “democracy” was, for most voters, an abstraction without much relevance to more immediate concerns like inflation. That first bit of conventional wisdom always seemed overstated at best. But the election results point to something different that many observers missed in the narrow and perhaps over-literal way these issues were siloed in polls and election commentary: abortion, election denialism and other elements of GOP whackery melded together into a broader fear of Republican extremism that was larger than the sum of its parts.

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