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Posts published in November 2022

Falling on a sword


Yes, the hearings of the January 6th Committee have been riveting. Yes, the Committee seems to be making a case against the former president that could be a great study for law students wanting to be prosecutors. Yes, the witnesses and evidence are convincing. But...

Buried in the mountain for testimony and miscellany, there's a small drama taking place. A human interest piece that's gone largely unreported. A story of someone "falling on a sword" that will most likely end a political career.

We could be watching the end of Rep. Liz Cheney's political days. At least in Congress.

On the other hand, we may be seeing the beginning of a new career in non-elected public life that will find her rising to new prominence.

First, the bad news. At nearly this time when she ran for re-election, Cheney was a solid eight-points behind her opponent in Wyoming's primary season. Somehow, she overcame that and won. Barely. Fast forward to 2020, same time period, same opponent. Polling going into her primary in September polling had her behind 28-points! A death knell.

How could she fall so far? What made the difference so negative for someone from Wyoming's premier political family? Wha hoppen? Hold that thought.

Go back about 50 or so years and look at the last days of the meteoric rise and sudden fall of Idaho's Sen. Frank Church. Remember who beat him in the 1980 general election? A political nobody - a Republican far to Democrat Church's right - somebody many Idahoans never heard of. Steve Symms.

Symms - with his big smile - his seeming unbounded energy - an Idahoan most people didn't know unless they were part of the state's Conservative wing of Gem State Republicanism. A guy they would call - post-election - the "Giant Killer" who knocked off a big, nationally known politician. Frank Church

Church - who had been highly popular - a gifted orator - a guy many called "Golden Boy - Frank Church rose to national prominence as Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relation's Committee. He oversaw the return of the Panama Canal to Panama after decades of U.S. "ownership." He was one of very few politicians - from any country - invited to speak at the United Nations even though he was not a head-of-state. He had a highly positive national reputation. A reputation that was one of the most cited reasons for his political downfall in Idaho.

"Too big for his britches," was not uncommon when Church's name came up in conversations in 1976. "He's not paying attention to those of us who sent him there," many said. And they voted him out!

Fast-forward to 2022 in Casper, Rock Springs, Laramie, Cheyenne and other communities in the "Cowboy State." Walk the streets, ask what people think about the job Liz Cheney's doing in Washington and you heard many of the same quotes.

"She's so busy going after Trump she's not paying attention to us." "We didn't send her back there to be on TV every night." And similar short-sighted - not to mention ignorant - expressions.

If you're a member of Congress from California, New York, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Colorado or even Utah, you can most often make a national name for yourself and survive. Dianne Feinstein, John McCain, Sherrod Brown, Mo Udall and a lot more. All with national - or international - profiles and all have - or had - long political careers.

But Idaho - population 800,000 in Church's time; Wyoming - 2020 population 581-thousand in Cheney's - the higher you rise, the more national prominence attached to your name. So, of course, "You're just not paying enough attention to the folks at home."

Any politician who wants to remain in national office has an overriding necessity for filling one job. Just one. Constituency service. Be responsive - very responsive - to every call, every letter, every request for help, every complaint. Respond. Phone. Email. Snail mail. Respond to all.

But, the caveat is, even that sometimes doesn't work. Church, for example, I can say from lengthy first-hand experience, had an excellent constituency response. Cheney, raised in the political climes of Washington, and in an influential political family, may have had the same.

Still, both were considered "too big for their britches."

First evening of the January 6th televised hearings, Cheney was the "wheel horse." She was given the most TV time and was second only to the Chairman allowed to ask questions.

Was her political career considered when programming was done? Was her stellar performance part of an "audition" for future prominence - whether in or out of elected office? Were the "underwater" polling numbers thought about? Was the time allotted because Dems outnumber GOP members on the Committee seven to two?

We'll never know. But, one thing we DO know is that, going into her 2022 election, Cheney was a 28-point polling underdog, "power of incumbency" or no. That's considered "having both hands tied behind your back"in matters political. Something that had to be weighing heavily on her personally. Or, maybe when she resisted GOP demands she not serve on the committee, she knew her fate was sealed.

Given her nearly-impossible-to-overcome deficit with the folks at home, Liz Cheney probably felt "falling on her sword" in the name of "doing what's right" was the right - the honorable - thing to do.

Those three words - "doing what's right" - have been heard a number of times in the hearings already. They'll be heard more before the saga is over.

At the moment, they seem to apply mostly to Ms. Cheney. In spades!


Paying for private schools


The president and CEO of Mountain States Policy Center (MSPC), which styles itself as an “independent, free market think tank,” recently floated a thought piece on how to improve Idaho’s public school system. First, MSPC contends we can restore faith in public schools by using taxpayer money to fund private education. Second, it contends we should increase transparency in public school budgeting.

MSPC’s first proposal calls for the Legislature to establish and fund universal education savings accounts, which parents could use to pay for private schooling for their children. In other words, a form of voucher system, much like the Idaho Freedom Foundation (IFF) has repeatedly called for over the years. Unlike the IFF, the think tank does not call for the outright destruction of the public school system, but its proposal would cause serious damage to public schools.

Public education in Idaho has been chronically underfunded for decades, both for instructional funding and for construction and maintenance of “facilities” (buildings and equipment). It has gotten worse since the Idaho Supreme Court ruled in 2005 that the Legislature was violating its constitutional mandate to “maintain a general, uniform and thorough system of public, free common schools.”

Idaho’s expenditure per pupil is the lowest of the 50 states. A recent legislative report disclosed that the State would have to spend over a billion dollars to bring school facilities up to “good” condition. In its 2005 ruling, the Court said this was the responsibility of the State, not of local school districts.

Idaho’s Constitution never contemplated that taxpayer money would be used to pay for private schooling. That has been left up to parents who may prefer to send their kids to private or parochial schools. The Constitution clearly commands that no public money ever be used for religious schooling. Thanks to a couple of recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings, states must provide public money for religious schooling, if and only if, they pay for other private schooling. The only way Idaho can keep from forcing taxpayers to support religious schools is to reject MSPC’s education savings account proposal.

Idaho’s public schools desperately need substantial additional funding, both to hire, support and pay for qualified teachers in the classroom and to maintain facilities and build new ones. The funding authorized in the special session will help, if it actually materializes, but much more is needed. To start diverting taxpayer dollars to private and parochial schools, when the State is violating its constitutional responsibilities to public schools, will undoubtedly give rise to a citizen lawsuit against the State.

As to the issue of transparency, MSPC has it backwards. It admits that the school budgeting information is currently available to the public, but just hard to find in existing reports. Perhaps school patrons could simply ask that the information be provided in summary form or take the time to peruse the reports. If we start dishing out taxpayer money to parents who wants their kids to have the luxury of private or religious schooling, how could the State possibly ensure that each family is properly using the taxpayer money? The savings account proposal would have virtually no accountability.

Numbers of informed individuals say that the voucher proposal would favor folks in the urban centers, leaving rural parents high and dry. Geoff Thomas, the former superintendent of Madison School District in Rexburg, points out that ”85% of all Idaho’s private and parochial schools are in urban centers.” This highly respected educator says voucher programs are “welfare for the rich.”

For legislators on the fence, a recent poll commissioned by the Idaho Statesman may be instructive. The poll disclosed that 58% of the respondents believed the State spends too little on education and that 63% said taxpayer money should not be used to help residents pay for private schools.

If we really want to improve our public schools, we should make a point of valuing our teachers, hushing those who falsely claim teachers are indoctrination or grooming children and increasing teacher compensation roughly equivalent to what teachers in surrounding states are paid. We could fix our old schools and build new ones with state monies, as the State’s founders contemplated, which would give property tax relief to local property owners. Perhaps MSPC could join in those efforts, which would go a long way toward restoring the effectiveness of our public school system.


The setup


It's been a long time since Oregon and Washington were home to more than at most a single seriously up for grabs congressional seat. This year, the states had a small pile of them.

Fewer are likely to be as seriously contested two years from now, but a couple probably will.

Washington has 10 House seats and Oregon (now) has six. A majority of the seats are clearly non-competitive, falling into either reliable Democratic (WA 1, 2, 6, 7, 9, 10 and OR 1 and 3) or Republican (WA 4 and 5 and OR 2) categories: Neither party is going to devote much effort into trying to preventing what would be a longshot effort to flip them.

Owing partly to redistricting, the remaining five districts in this year's election were deemed close enough calls to draw national attention.

Looking ahead, one of them at least will clearly drop of the list, and another probably should.

Some early (and questionable) polling results showed OR 4 (the southwest, including Eugene and Corvallis) as tight and maybe even with a (deeply flawed) Republican candidate ahead; on that basis, it pulled in substantial national funding. The end result showed Democrat Val Hoyle winning by a not especially close 50.6% to 43.1% for the Republican. That's enough to suspect that Hoyle, an experienced office holder, will have the district in hand two years from now, as outgoing Peter De Fazio long has had: Not with landslides, but with a stable majority.

WA 8 (eastern King and Pierce over to the Wenatchee area) probably is a similar story. It's a close district in partisan makeup, and national prognosticators insisted through most of the recent campaign cycle in labeling it either a dead-even tossup or a slight Republican tilt; neither really made much sense (though it might have if the Republican nominee had been the stronger and better known Reagan Dunn). In the event, Democratic incumbent Kim Schrier defeated her opponent 53.3% to 46.3% in a challenging year; this district may be moving into write-it-off territory, even if no landslides should be expected there.

The district in the middle is the newest in the northwest, OR 6 (Salem, southwest Portland suburbs and small-town Yamhill County). For much of the last cycle national reviewers rated it a toss-up, and then gave Democrat Andrea Salinas a slight advantage; that late analysis proved about right. She was heavily outspent in the general and stressed by a big-money primary, but the district leans Democratic and the Republican nominee was uncommonly weak. With that in mind, Salinas' win of 50% to 47.5% should be taken as more floor than ceiling: As an incumbent next time, she'll have some room to grow support. This will not be a district Democrats can take for granted, but it's a place they should win if they pay attention.

The two remaining districts were hotly contested this time, and there's good reason to think they will be in 2024 - and realistically could go either way.

One is WA 3 in southwest Washington (centered around the Vancouver area). It has been held since the 2010 election by Republican Jaime Herrera Beutler, who likely would have held it for the next two years as well if she had won her primary. For many national prognosticators, the analysis seemed to end there, and the district was written off as solidly Republican. They forgot a couple of significant data points. One was that the district has a centrist (probably gently Republican) feel to it: Herrera Beutler's predecessor for the same number of terms she served (six) was a Democrat, Brian Baird. The other is the far right extremist views and connections of the Republican nominee this year, Joe Kent, which weren't a match for this centrist district. In that contest, the close win (50.2% to 49.3%)by Democrat Marie Gluesenkamp Pérez makes solid sense. (This district should have been labeled, a couple of months ago, either as tossup or as tilt Democratic.)

What happens here in 2024? That could be up for grabs. The two main factors may be how well Perez performs and relates to her district: Does she sink in roots and support over the next couple of years? Equally, much will depend on whether the Republicans nominate a stronger candidate next time. Either way, this district could be on the short list of highly watchable districts next time around.

That's also true for OR 5, which stretches south of Portland over the Cascades to include the Bend area. As a while this area leans lightly Democratic, owing to its Portland suburbs (some of them, anyway) and increasingly blue Bend. The race here was very close, won by Republican Lori Chavez-Deremer 51% to 48.8 over Democrat Jamie McLeod-Skinner. The forces backing Chavez-Deremer poured a small ocean of money into this race featuring two candidates neither especially well-known in the district; this may have been a case where the substantial money difference was decisive.

The partisan balance in the district is close enough that either party can plausibly win - as this race showed - but the new Republican incumbent will, somewhat like Democrat Perez to her north, find herself because the eight ball under normal circumstances. As in WA 3, a lot will depend on how well the incumbent fares over the next two years - the Republican-led House will not be of much help to her in this district - and what the Democrats do by way of finding an effective opponent. This district like WA 3 could be barn burner once again.

So, for once, it won't do to ignore the Northwest politically - even in the upcoming presidential cycle.


How many more?


In a day when outlandish theorizing (hello, TV talk shows) often is followed by the shrug-of-the-shoulders disclaimer “just asking,” you hesitate to ask a question that involves prospective accusations.

But there’s probable cause for asking this one: How alone in his white supremacist ideas and connections was the retired Boise police officer whose national connections recently were unveiled?

The direct linkage is to a pro-white nationalist group called the New Century Foundation, which the Southern Poverty Law Center described as a self-styled think tank that promotes pseudo-scientific studies and research that purport to show the inferiority of blacks to whites.” It has several projects under the name of American Renaissance, including a magazine and a conference earlier this month.

One of the speakers went under the name Daniel Vinyard, but his real name is Matthew Bryngelson, a recent retiree from the Boise Police Department. He worked in law enforcement more than two decades and at his retirement held the rank of captain.

He spoke about what it was like to work as a white police officer (not good, in his telling). And, as the Idaho Statesman at Boise reported, “The 24-year veteran of the Boise Police Department appears to have authored posts linking Black people, Hispanic people and refugees to crime under a pseudonym while serving as the captain of the patrol division.”

There was plenty of community reaction, not least from Mayor Lauren McLean, who said she was launching an investigation. There was more, from former Ada County Sheriff Gary Raney, the local police union and the Treasure Valley Fraternal Order of Police; the latter said, “Bryngelson’s thoughts, beliefs, and actions are unbecoming of a law enforcement officer of any rank and they are devastating to our membership and our community relationships.”

The most pertinent comment may have come from Phillip Thompson, executive director of the Idaho Black History Museum, who said “This is kind of like a painful gut check. Not only are they all there, but they’re going to move covertly and surreptitiously and work their way up the ranks … still holding those beliefs.”

The plural is the key here. Bryngelson alone would be not such a big deal; among other things, he’s retired now. But the fact that he served in the city’s police force as long as he did, and rose in it as high as he did, raises serious questions about to what extent he was representative of at least a significant portion of the force. It’s hard to imagine he was completely alone.

This is not a purely local matter.

This spring, the wire service Reuters reported on a mass of research (and broke some of it) showing “the pervasiveness of white supremacy in U.S. law enforcement, and a continuing series of incidents documenting the presence of extremist groups and views among law enforcement. More and more, the evidence suggests the “white supremacist infiltration of law enforcement” that the FBI warned about back in 2006 is getting worse.”

Idaho generally has a significant problem with white supremacist activity, and you have to suspect that some of this has filtered over into law enforcement - one of the areas where we can least afford it.

The Boise Police Department has said the right things and made the right policy statements, as in its recent release that, “In light of recent revelations concerning a former member of BPD Command Staff, the Boise Police Department unequivocally states there is no room for racist ideologies, hatred, bigotry, or behaviors among members of the Boise Police Department, and we publicly condemn such in the strongest possible terms.”

But it’ll take more to ensure that goal is lived up to. The mayor’s announced inquiry can help - provided it’s a first step, and not the last. We have some questions that need answers.




Ben Franklin, that wise and immoderate soul of our founding fathers, might have quietly argued that the American Wild Turkey should have been our national bird. Some say this is a myth. But it’s worth considering. We should question the images we revere.

A huge white-headed raptor emblazons all the official seals and political paraphernalia. It suggests we are fierce and invincible. Maybe not.

I’ll bet any of you who have worked a calving yard on the Snake River canyon might have a different image. Cows drop their calves, then the afterbirths. The eagles linger and when the opportunity avails, they swoop down for the carrion. Some can’t quite manage the take-off. A tumbling national bird with a muddy, bloody placenta in its talons is not a noble image. But maybe it suits our current condition.

Wild turkeys don’t swoop down on anything except a safe landing spot. That seems pretty wise to me. Maybe you’re a swooper.

There will be no changing the decisions of men directed to pick our national emblem 200 years ago. That barn door is flapping. But it’s worth consideration just what symbol we find inspiring.

The wily wild turkey is a vegetarian. It gobbles and struts only when procreation and defense demand. Mostly it is a wise and silent bird. We should all aspire so.

I don’t aspire to steal rotting fish from crows or pilfer placentas. Maybe you do. We should talk.

I reflect on this as I prepare to roast my outdoor bird. It is a domestic, white meat bird, not the wild kind. Martha does one in the oven, but I fire up the charcoal. It’s not a competition, though we sometimes pretend it to be so. We should all be more aware that competition should be friendly. Winning isn’t everything. Competition should bring the best out of both of us.

Having a good meal with family and loved ones is close to everything. But really, everything is everything. You knew that.

I won’t give you a list of what I’m thankful for on this Thanksgiving Day. I would hope yours is long and heartfelt. Mine is short and dear. It’s not a competition.

Ben Franklin might have been thinking of the many European royal and military eagle crests. Roman legions conquered lands and Russians tsars enslaved serfs under such emblems. He probably wouldn’t have been surprised by the Third Reich emblem that some are fond of today. He probably thought such actions were not befitting the republic he was working to craft. This was a new land. Opportunity needs inspiration and symbols are just the ticket. The American Bald Eagle carried the day. The American Wild Turkey did not inspire. Maybe it should.

Once I rode in the back seat along the Clearwater River after a fishing trip with some friends. I looked across to the far bank. I could see the head and elbows of a mostly submerged eagle as it desperately struggled to the shallows. I’m sure it’s talons entrapped too big a fish.

I’m not sharing these images because I despise this country. I love it here. I hope you do too. We have a wonderful opportunity. We have swooped down and taken much. I hope we have not taken more than we can handle. The shallow water is near.

As I roast that domestic white meat bird on store bought charcoal, stuffed with wild rice and nuts, I will give thanks for the family I love. I will give thanks for this land I live on and among. I give thanks that we can talk about the important things we share. Blessings to all.


Fulcher and Trump


Idaho Congressman Russ Fulcher, who like many Republicans is wondering what happened in this year’s mid-term elections, says one thing seems clear.

“We need to move beyond the conflict associated with Donald Trump,” Fulcher said.
That’s a profound statement coming from one of the few Republicans who objected to certifying the 2020 presidential election. And it might not get him a lot of fan mail in Idaho’s First District, where Trump is a popular figure. But Fulcher is not the only Republican casting doubts about Trump leading the party in 2024.

A few potential alternatives have surfaced, including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former ambassador Nikki Haley and former Vice President Mike Pence, and the list will become much larger if support for Trump continues to wane. Fulcher is keeping options open, including backing Trump if no one else is getting traction. For now, he’ll see who joins the fray.

Fulcher is a big fan of Trump’s policies, but not his style. “A lot of people are not crazy about the drama,” Fulcher says.

It’s not all Trump’s doing. Presidents who lose elections, even hotly contested ones, usually fade from the spotlight soon after leaving office. But not Trump, who is a magnet for fire from Democrats, the media and late-night comics. High-level investigations into his actions and activities, seemingly, will never end.

Reading Fulcher’s signal, that’s not what he wants to see in the party’s future. The congressman acknowledges that being stuck in the time warp of 2016, or 2020, won’t win elections down the line.

Republicans, from Fulcher on down, know this mid-term election should have been a landslide for the GOP by historical proportions – with high gas prices, soaring inflation, a messy foreign policy and problems at the southern border. Overall, it was an embarrassment for Republicans, and it’s no wonder that politicos are pointing fingers at Trump. The election deniers on the GOP ballots were more focused on the “rigged” election of 2020, instead of the future.

But Fulcher doesn’t entirely blame Trump for the losses. “This might sound strange, but I think COVID really did culturally impact our society and we’re still in a COVID hangover,” Fulcher says. “With the shutdowns, and increasing the monetary flow, we have given people incentive not to work. I think there’s a hangover from that.”
Of course in politics – where winning is all that matters -- it’s easier to blame one person. And Trump is such an inviting target.

It’s not all gloom and doom for Republicans. They did take control of the House, which brings Biden’s agenda to a screeching halt and gives the likes of Fulcher more clout. He’s in line for chairing a subcommittee on public lands.

However, as Fulcher cautions, don’t expect everything to run smoothly. With a slim majority, every vote in the Republican caucus counts – and keeping everyone in line won’t be easy. The conservative Freedom Caucus, of which Fulcher is a member, is among the in-house coalitions that will be drawing battlelines.

“Democrats are good at locking down votes, but it’s not that way with Republicans,” Fulcher says. “It will be sausage-making at its best. It will not be a pretty process, but the ingredients in this sausage will be better than what we’ve seen in the last four years. There will be blood in the hallways (politically speaking), but the process is worth it. We just have to remember who the enemy is – and it’s not each other.”

What ends up being accomplished remains to be seen, but don’t get your hopes high. For the next two years, we’ll have Republicans in control of the House, Democrats in control of the Senate and a Democrat in the White House. It’s a formula for gridlock.

But with Republicans straying from Trump, there will be lots of preening for the 2024 election cycle.

ctmalloy@outlook. Chuck Malloy is a long-time Idaho journalist and columnist. He may be reached at




So, we've got this runoff in Georgia for a U.S. Senate seat. Rev. Raphael Warnock, Democrat - Herschel Walker, Republican.

Warnock, a Baptist minister with a Doctorate, is a proven commodity having served the balance of a previously expired Senate term. Walker, a Heisman Trophy winning college football player is...and it ends there.

Brutally speaking, these two names should never appear in the same sentence much less a ballot in a high stakes runoff for a major political office. Walker, a candidate who's often shown his inability to finish a complete sentence while campaigning, has suffered more pratfalls than the late Buster Keaton in his last three pictures.

If Republicans tried diligently to find someone whose name should never appear on a ballot, they couldn't have found a better candidate.

While the outcome of the re-match shouldn't be close, the December 6th finish is not a foregone conclusion. Earlier this month, Walker finished about nine-tenths of a percentage point behind Warnock, forcing the second go-around under Georgia law. And that was out of nearly four-million votes cast.

"How," you ask," has this happened?" "How did someone so supremely unqualified get up so high on the GOP totem?"

The answer is purely political. Purely self-serving. Georgia Republicans want a senate seat so badly they handed their party banner to the next warm body through the door.

Thanks to a purely crass, also self-serving push from one D.J. Trump in the Republican Primary, that "warm body" was a former collegiate football running back with several ex-wives and numerous child support problems.

That's it. That's the whole deal. The Georgia GOPer's want that seat so badly they don't care about the ability and other qualifications of whoever's warm ass they put in it.

So, Sen. Warnock, a man with more than adequate intellect and previous senatorial experience - who came just one-point-six-percent short of 50% plus one to win - has to gear up and do it again.

Sadly, intellect and high political acumen are no longer required abilities for participating in the U.S. Senate. Tom Cotton, John Kennedy, Bill Cassidy, Roger Wicker and half a dozen others are current examples of such.

In this space, the two preferred names - among many - who filled the higher qualifications were Frank Church and Mike Mansfield. Superb intellect and great political skill.

Georgians are going to have to do some soul-searching. They're going to have to decide the right thing to do. They'll have to determine if pure political gain is worth the sacrifice of quality and ability. Or, is the choice - to the State of Georgia - regardless of Party - someone else who would be a valuable commodity in the national political sphere.

From here - nearly three-thousand miles away - the answer seems obvious. Around the putting greens of Augusta or in the bustling underground of downtown Atlanta, the choice may not be so clear.

It would be well for Georgians to consider the long haul and demands of the office more than whose butt gets to sit where.



The Dobbs legacy


The Supreme Court doomed the Republican Party’s chances in the November 8 election when it issued its abortion decision last June. On September 5, The Hill news outlet published my column predicting that the Democrats would take 52 Senate seats and about half of the House seats as a result. When the election dust settles, my prediction will be off by one Senate seat. The abortion decision did not have an appreciable impact on the Idaho election this year, but it will have a significant influence in Idaho and across the country in 2024. The Hill column, which follows, explains:

Just as the bases were getting loaded for a grand slam homer for the Republican team in the 2022 general election, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) managed to strike out its own team. Instead of taking control of both Houses of Congress, the GOP will likely end the election cycle with about 48 Senators and a razor thin margin, either way, in the House.

A variety of factors will have played a part in this GOP election debacle, but the major factor will be the SCOTUS majority’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade. The Dobbs decision, which took away a 50-year federal right to reproductive care, has energized women voters across the country.

The Dobbs decision caught both parties by surprise. Republicans have long used abortion as a powerful vote-getter, particularly in red states, thinking they would never have to explain how they would protect the health of women who experience life-threatening complications during pregnancy.

With the issue of abortion going back to the states, many extreme anti-abortion legislators were caught in a bind. They are no longer able to gain political points by enacting ever-tougher abortion restrictions into state law, knowing that Roe will be there to prevent those laws from going into effect. Republican candidates in purple states, sensing that draconic restrictions are not favored by a majority of voters, have been furiously scrubbing extreme abortion positions from their campaign websites. Women voters will not be fooled by such chicanery.

It will get worse for those GOP candidates. Most women have either experienced a serious pregnancy complication or know someone who has. They know that any number of dangerous conditions can arise during a pregnancy to threaten the life of the woman and/or viability of the fetus. Between now and election day there will be any number of heart-wrenching stories about the consequences of the Dobbs decision.

Most pundits were predicting a Republican wave election this year until the Dobbs opinion was released. Some are now cautiously suggesting that Democrats could salvage the Senate and even win the House, pointing to recent polls that seem to be moving in that direction. Naysayers claim that the polls are too tight and midterm election history is against the Democrats.

Informed soothsayers can safely predict the election of at least 52 Democratic Senators and an almost equal number of each party in the House. While other components will figure into those results–a wretched crop of Senate candidates endorsed by the former president and an electorate sick of the culture wars being continually stoked by the GOP--the Dobbs decision will be the primary reason for Republican losses.

It was not just the Court’s radical departure from what the Trump appointees had claimed was settled precedent during their respective confirmation proceedings. The in-your-face language of the Dobbs opinion and its tortured recitation of the history of abortion in America were unsettling. When taken in context with other precedent-breaking decisions by the Court’s ultra-conservative majority on a variety of issues–voting rights, gun rights, religion in school, and administrative rules on climate and work-place safety–one could justifiably conclude that the Court majority is on a mission to remake America to conform with its political and religious outlook.

The SCOTUS majority may have the raw power to advance its agenda, but it certainly does not have the political power to make it stick. The Dobbs decision is a prime example of a law that has stood the test of time–the law of unintended consequences. The American public has no way of calling the Court majority to account for this and its other recent decisions, but the voters can and will take out their disapproval on those in federal and state offices who have supported and campaigned in favor of the outcomes arrived at by the Court. The SCOTUS majority has overplayed its hand and set the stage for the Republican team to switch from a grand-slam winner to a strike-out loser in the November elections.

Jim Jones is a Vietnam combat veteran who served 8 years as Idaho Attorney General (1983-1991) and 12 years as a Justice on the Idaho Supreme Court (2005-2017). He is a regular contributor to The Hill.