It isn’t just Herschel Walker trying to sweep abortion under the rug


Donald Trump

Coup attempt

Fig. 1. Original: The White House. Derivative work: J. J. Messerly, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

When it comes to trying to get Donald Trump to in any way accept blame for an underwhelming Republican midterm election performance, perhaps by delaying his presidential candidacy announcement, set aside his narcissism for a moment:[1]

[T]his effort to offload blame on [Donald] Trump is partly spin. Republicans are eager to erase the central role that the demise of abortion rights played in their midterm losses, because that could have ideological consequences that are much more difficult to reckon with. Pinning the outcome on Trump is one way to evade that.[2]

I was sitting in a waiting room while my car was being detailed, I guess a couple weeks ago, and I overheard two middle-aged women speaking in the office. “He’s against abortion,” one said, disapprovingly, to the other.

That was the end of that conversation. Nothing more, it would seem, needed to be said. I expect that a lot of women, all around the country, were having similar conversations about various candidates, conversations they weren’t necessarily sharing with their husbands and certainly not with pollsters and pundits. And I’m pretty sure that a lot of them voted accordingly.

An analysis from the New York Times, for instance, demonstrates that Democrats overperformed in places where the fate of abortion rights was at stake. In the aforementioned blue-wall states, electing a GOP governor could have dramatically limited or ended them, since Republicans controlled all three legislatures. Democrats mostly won up and down the ticket.[3]

Greg Sargent, whom I quote in the two foregoing passages, thinks this will be a lasting problem for Republicans.[4] I’m less certain, but I also can’t tell you he’s wrong.

Reuters, “Russia’s Prigozhin admits interfering in U.S. elections,” November 7, 2022,

Jan Wolfe, “Oath Keeper Stewart Rhodes Says Members Were ‘Stupid’ to Enter Capitol on Jan. 6,” Wall Street Journal, November 7, 2022,

Natalie Andrews, Siobhan Hughes, and Lindsay Wise, “Frustrated Republicans Try to Explain Lack of Midterm ‘Red Wave,’” Wall Street Journal, November 9, 2022,

Isaac Arnsdorf and Josh Dawsey, “One likely 2024 GOP contender triumphed on election night. It wasn’t Donald Trump,” Washington Post, November 9, 2022,

Dan Balz, “The vaunted red wave never hit the shore in midterm elections,” Washington Post, November 9, 2022,

Jonathan Freedland, “The winner of the midterms is not yet clear – but the loser is Donald Trump,” Guardian, November 9, 2022,

David Lauter, “The midterm’s big loser: Trump suffers multiple defeats,” Los Angeles Times, November 9, 2022,

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, “Group explains polling place security teams that led to response by Allegheny County sheriff’s deputies,” November 9, 2022,

Brian Slodysko, “Election takeaways: No sweep for the Republicans after all,” Associated Press, November 9, 2022,

Jonathan Tamari and William Bender, “‘It’s time for him to retire’: Some Pa. Republicans want to push Trump aside after their election losses,” Philadelphia Inquirer, November 10, 2022,

Adam Taylor, “Is the world ready for President DeSantis and a Floridian foreign policy?” Washington Post, November 10, 2022,

Chris Walker, “Trump Is Blaming Everyone But Himself for Midterm Losses — Including His Wife,” Truthout, November 10, 2022,

Greg Sargent, “Republicans want Trump to take the blame. Good luck with that,” Washington Post, November 11, 2022,


Fig. 2. Sign at demonstration in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, May 3, 2022. Janni Rye, via Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication.

Greg Sargent, “Republicans want Trump to take the blame. Good luck with that,” Washington Post, November 11, 2022,


Fig. 3. “Elon Musk shared a video of his entrance on his Twitter account.” Photograph attributed to Elon Musk, October 26, 2022, via the New York Post,[5] fair use.

The move to pause its revamped Twitter Blue offering comes after some impersonators exploited their blue check marks, sowing confusion on the platform. Verified users have falsely posed as LeBron James demanding a trade, George W. Bush attacking Iraqis and Eli Lilly & Co. cutting insulin prices to zero. . . .

The apparent change is one of many shifts that have caused chaos on Twitter since Elon Musk bought the social-media company two weeks ago. He has upended the company with layoffs, leadership changes and policy shifts. Several advertisers have paused spending, and Mr. Musk said Thursday that bankruptcy was a possibility for Twitter. . . .

Twitter officials said the new Twitter Blue didn’t verify people’s identities.

Before Mr. Musk bought Twitter last month, the company used to verify accounts for free that it deemed notable and trustworthy. The company gave blue check marks to accounts run by politicians, journalists, entertainers and others. Those accounts still have blue check marks but now they are mixed in with users who have paid to be verified.

This week, Twitter has tried to offer clarity by marking some verified accounts with an additional label: an “official” tag and a gray check mark. However, the company has flip-flopped on that policy in recent days by rolling out the designation, taking it away and then restoring it again.

Mr. Musk has said he wants Twitter to be the world’s most accurate source of information and that he wants every user to be verified unless they are a bot account. He has long said that one of his priorities was to get bot operators off Twitter. . . .

Impersonators have also posed in recent days as brands including the doll company American Girl, the oil company BP PLC and Chiquita, which produces bananas. Lockheed Martin Corp., the defense company, and game maker Roblox Corp. have also been impersonated.

An account with the handle “nlntendoofus,” pretending to be the videogame company Nintendo Co. Ltd., posted a picture of the character Mario raising his middle finger. The account was later suspended.[6]

Josh Eidelson, “Twitter Sued for Mass Layoffs by Musk Without Enough Notice,” Bloomberg, November 4, 2022,

Drew Harwell, Cat Zakrzewski, and Isaac Stanley-Becker, “Twitter layoffs gutted election information teams days before midterms,” Washington Post, November 4, 2022,

Sarah E. Needleman and Alexa Corse, “Elon Musk Says Twitter Has Had Massive Revenue Drop as Layoffs Begin,” Wall Street Journal, November 4, 2022,

Sanjay Patnaik, Robert E. Litan, and James Kunhardt, “The national security grounds for investigating Musk’s Twitter acquisition,” Brookings, November 4, 2022,

Faiz Siddiqui, Naomi Nix, and Will Oremus, “Advertisers fleeing, workers in fear: Welcome to Elon Musk’s Twitter,” Washington Post, November 4, 2022,

Shanti Das, “‘Elon Musk doesn’t know what he’s doing’, says former Twitter executive,” Guardian, November 5, 2022,

Tim Higgins, “Twitter Rolls Out Blue Check Marks for Paying Customers,” Wall Street Journal, November 5, 2022,

Kevin V. Nguyen, “How Musk’s Twitter Layoffs Went Down—And What’s Next,” San Francisco Standard, November 5, 2022,

Natalie Ching Mun Choy, “Twitter to Ban Impersonation If Not Labeled Parody, Musk Says,” Bloomberg, November 6, 2022,

David Frum, “Probably too late, but . . .” Twitter, November 7, 2022,

Kurt Wagner, “Twitter Delays Change to Check-Mark Badges Until After Midterms,” Bloomberg, November 6, 2022,

Kurt Wagner and Edward Ludlow, “Twitter Now Asks Some Fired Workers to Please Come Back,” Bloomberg, November 6, 2022,

Stephen Wilmot, “Twitter’s Free Speech Problem Is Tesla’s, Too,” Wall Street Journal, November 7, 2022,

Rebecca Elliott, “Elon Musk Sells Almost $4 Billion of Tesla Stock After Twitter Takeover,” Wall Street Journal, November 8, 2022,

Joseph De Avila, “Twitter Ditches Gray ‘Official’ Label Hours After Launching It,” Wall Street Journal, November 9, 2022,

Johana Bhuiyan, “Exodus continues at Twitter as Elon Musk hints at possible bankruptcy,” Guardian, November 10, 2022,

Joseph Menn et al., “Twitter’s content moderation head quits as departures alarm the FTC,” Washington Post, November 10, 2022,

Alyssa Lukpat, “Twitter Stops Giving Out Blue Check Marks After Impersonators Take to the Platform,” Wall Street Journal, November 11, 2022,

  1. [1]Greg Sargent, “Republicans want Trump to take the blame. Good luck with that,” Washington Post, November 11, 2022,
  2. [2]Greg Sargent, “Republicans want Trump to take the blame. Good luck with that,” Washington Post, November 11, 2022,
  3. [3]Greg Sargent, “Republicans want Trump to take the blame. Good luck with that,” Washington Post, November 11, 2022,
  4. [4]Greg Sargent, “Republicans want Trump to take the blame. Good luck with that,” Washington Post, November 11, 2022,
  5. [5]Thomas Barrabi, “Elon Musk barges into Twitter HQ as deal nears: ‘Let that sink in,’” New York Post, October 26, 2022,
  6. [6]Alyssa Lukpat, “Twitter Stops Giving Out Blue Check Marks After Impersonators Take to the Platform,” Wall Street Journal, November 11, 2022,

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