After getting their asses kicked in an election, most political parties take stock and modify their message to appeal to a broader range of the electorate. And that's sort of what the GOP is doing right now. Instead of whipping up white nationalist hysteria over a nonexistent immigration "crisis," they're whipping up hysteria over a nonexistent infanticide "crisis."
That's Newt Gingrich literally announcing that the Republican Party is going to make the 2020 election all about abortion. Here's a few more breathless takes on it:
President Donald Trump is telling conservative allies he wants to incorporate firm anti-abortion language into his State of the Union address Tuesday, and potentially include an anti-abortion figure among his list of invitees, according to four sources familiar with his plans.
Trump sees an opening to energize his evangelical supporters and capture moderate voters who administration officials believe may be turned off by widespread coverage of New York’s newest abortion law, which allows for termination of some pregnancies after the 24-week mark for health reasons.
You can practically hear the sobs of relief coming from Chris Cilliza and Chuck Todd. Here, at last, is a topic we can both sides to death! Both sides are just as extreme! Both sides are guilty of being unwilling to compromise! We don't have to talk about the white nationalism and fascism of the average Republican voter anymore! We can get back to letting both sides fight it out and just report on who seems to be winning the messaging war! Praise the ghost of William Randolph Hearst!
Republicans, for their part, are also sobbing in relief. They finally have an excuse to stop talking about purging America of brown people. They can even pretend they care about them by rolling out one of their favorite talking points: How abortion is actually a secret plot to murder black babies.
But how long will it last? Two years is a long time to spew lies about abortion and the news cycle moves on very quickly. After the right's 24 hour ragegasm, Governor Northam and the fake outrage the right whipped up faded from the headlines outside of the Fox News bubble, relegated to the opinion section. And while the hate machine of the right is happy to take on the misogyny of forcing women to give birth against their will, that pales in comparison to the thrill of raging against brown skin.
The bottom line here is that abortion is a temporary distraction just like it always is. It's the smoke and mirrors the GOP turns to when they do something particularly stupid, like shut down the government for 35 days to get a wall and then surrender unconditionally. Trump will thunder about it at the State of the Union and the right wing noise machine will blast out lies to gin up outrage among the imbecile base for awhile. But then the black hole at the center of the right wing will reassert its gravity and the conversation will inevitably turn back to white nationalism. That's why white Republican voters elected Trump and that's what they'll demand. Misogyny is a side dish. White nationalism is the main course and they will want to get back to gorging themselves on hate as soon as possible.
2020 will not be about abortion. Women's reproductive rights are complicated and Trump simply isn't smart enough to talk about it for long without devolving straight into the full blown misogyny that cost Republicans a number of seats back in 2012 ("legitimate rape", anyone?). And let's be honest, if the Supreme Court overturns, or significantly cripples, Roe v. Wade, the social and electoral backlash will be so intense that Republicans will be begging to go back to talking about white nationalism.