Attorney General Merrick Garland, our dynamic co-hosts of The New Abnormal know you’re listening. And one of them—Andy Levy—wants you to know that he has zero faith in you. “I dare him to prosecute someone,” he tells Molly Jong-Fast.
That’s in reference to the explosive revelations pouring out of the Jan. 6 committee’s hearings—“Jesus Christ moments” that have prompted Molly to text Andy and producer Jesse Cannon excitedly, she shares. (The revelation that The New Abnormal guys have a group chat, and what its name might be, is a matter that will have to be tabled for another day.) But which moments are truly “un-fucking-believable,” as Molly says, and which should we care less about?
Well, The New Abnormal is going to break it down for us. But just as importantly, if your fundamental rights as a woman have been snatched out from under you by a cohort of “old guys who watch Fox News,” as Molly puts it, you might be asking yourself a pair of deceptively simple questions: Well, what now? And: Is all hope lost?
Not necessarily, according to the first guest on this episode of The New Abnormal, abortion rights advocate and author Ilyse Hogue. She believes strongly that abortion will one day be legal again “across the land” but that “our role, in the meantime, is to mitigate as much harm as possible.”
When it comes to the timing of the Supreme Court’s decision, Hogue isn’t at all surprised. “Abortion was always the tip of the spear for them of a much bigger agenda that has everything to do with minority rule, everything to do with a sort of white fundamentalist patriarchy,” she tells Molly. “Making sure that people who do not ascribe to their theology don’t have power in society.”
But there’s hope, Hogue insists, as long as we don’t let ourselves off the hook.
“They are on very tenuous ground. They know—and by ‘they’ I mean the GOP that supports this radical right power grab—they literally know that they are hanging on by a thread,” Hogue says. “And that thread is the idea that there is no organized resistance. That the Democrats are afraid. That they are, by brute force, going to be able to hold onto minority control. And the reason that gives me hope is because the solution is right here in our hands, right?”
What exactly is that solution, though? For Molly and everyone listening, Hogue lays it out, step by step: “If people refuse to go home. If people continue to turn out every day, vote in every election lobby, if their state Houses lobby the federal government—the majority will ultimately prevail. So that gives me hope because I see no signs of people’s anger, rage, and commitment abating. And that is our secret weapon.”
Also in the episode: Are the congressional hearings coming over the airwaves courtesy of the Jan. 6 committee going to be effective? Molly is inclined to think so, as is Daily Beast politics editor Matt Fuller. That is, he’s careful to add, as long as we consider who the intended audience for these explosive revelations might be.
“We have a situation where the Jan. 6 committee has been able to present a very coherent storyline,” he tells Molly. “I think these are made-for-TV moments. Certainly Cassidy Hutchinson—her hearing was sort of incredible. And if people… are tuning in with a fair mind, I think they’re walking away and saying, ‘Wow, I’m not very comfortable with Donald Trump being president,’ or, ‘Wow, I really actually do need to go vote to make sure that Donald Trump is not the president.’ Those people who are movable—I think it’s actually working in that sense.”
Looking ahead to the upcoming Senate elections, Fuller offers his assessment of the states where Democratic candidates might be able to snap up seats. But, he warns, the prognosis isn’t exactly crystal clear. “The field of play is limited,” he says. “If everything goes great for the Democrats, they might pick up three seats. If everything goes terrible for them, they might lose three seats. It’s probably somewhere in the middle. We’re looking at a very slim majority, either way, for Republicans and Democrats.”
The Senate’s split currently stands at 48 to 50, with two independents and the GOP leading by a hair. Come November, the Democratic Party could potentially scrabble its way to 52 seats—but, according to Fuller, “pretty much everything” would have to go right. But when in the wacky world of American politics has anything ever gone wrong for the Democrats?