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Betty BeanKnox Scene

Two post-election day observations:

  1. Abortion bans are political losers.
  2. Republicans can’t win city elections.

Generally speaking, it’s unattractive to say I told you so, but it’s time to talk about the effects of the GOP’s 50-year slog to do away with abortion rights. They played a very long game, and, with a big assist from the Federalist Society, Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell and the United States Supreme Court, they’ve clocked up a string of state legislative victories and are ready to celebrate.

A recent parade in Powell, for example, was highlighted by Tennessee Right to Life leader Stacy Dunn riding in a shiny red convertible, waving like Miss America. She is a longtime anti-abortion crusader and wife of former state Rep. Bill Dunn, who also worked tirelessly to extinguish abortion rights for Tennessee women. They clearly think they’ve won, no matter how many public opinion polls say the majority of Americans (and even Tennesseans) do not support their anti-abortion efforts, particularly draconian measures like the “no-exceptions” anti-abortion bills recently rammed through the legislature.

But such details hardly matter when you’ve got the Supreme Court on your side, right? And polls are easy to blow off, particularly in bright red super-majority states like Tennessee. But election results are a whole different game. And as of Tuesday, November 7, 2023, we have entered what state Rep. Justin Jones calls the “find out” portion. (FAFO ­– *F… Around and Find Out).

What happened in Republican-dominated Ohio, where voters approved a citizen-generated Constitutional amendment giving women the right “to make and carry out one’s own reproductive decisions” won by a margin of 56.6-43.4, is the most straight-forward example that voters are not happy with abortion bans.

But these things are blowing up in the faces of anti-choice supporters all over the country, whether directly, like in Ohio, or indirectly, like Virginia, where Democrats took over the House of Delegates and held onto their lead in the Senate to thwart Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s ambitions of becoming a presidential contender.

These two examples should be enough to retire the notion that women don’t really mind ­­having their personal rights taken away by a bunch of judges and politicians.

Our Knoxville city elections, pitiful though the turnout was, produced bad news for Knox County Republicans who still harbor hopes of taking over city government.

Don’t bother, unless you like flushing money down the crapper. City races are technically non-partisan, but voters know the candidates’ party, and vote accordingly – Knoxville, like larger Southern cities, votes Democratic. Tim Hill, a well-liked, well-connected and very successful real estate developer, got his clock cleaned by city council incumbent Amelia Parker, despite Hill dropping about $250,000 in the race.

Somebody should have locked him in the basement the morning that Ron DeSantis came to town. And perhaps supporters of incumbent city judge John Rosson should have employed similar tough love to keep Rosson from getting his picture taken with Donald Trump.

For now, anyway, it looks like the only way a Republican gets elected to city office is if their opponent dies and leaves them unopposed.

And if anyone is wondering what my two points have in common, think again. Abortion bans are Election Day poison pills. Republicans support abortion bans. It’s not like y’all weren’t warned.


Betty Bean writes a Thursday opinion column for


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