The G.O.P. Inside Conversation on Roe

Nancy Pelosi
Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images
Julia Ioffe
June 28, 2022

You would think that, with a month of advance warning about how the Supreme Court was going to rule, Democrats would have been better prepared for the day that Roe v. Wade finally fell. And yet, when it happened, Democrats did what Democrats do best: make memes, get mad at each other, and do little of consequence. 

There was a bit of private pearl-clutching in Washington when Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted that her fellow party members need to stop fundraising off the repeal of Roe and actually do something. Even Republicans who had spent the last two years peddling the “Dems in disarray” line thought it was a little harsh. “I was surprised at A.O.C. blaming the Democratic leadership,” one G.O.P. aide told me. “I was like, woah.” 

But A.O.C. hit on a sentiment that is quietly but widely shared in Washington, especially among Democrats. Even they admit to being in disarray. “What the fuck are we doing?” a Democratic lobbyist fumed. “What the fuck is the D.N.C. doing? I’m on their listserv and I haven’t gotten a fucking thing, have you? Every woman I’ve seen on social media that’s so mad, I’ve seen no link to, hey, here’s where you vote. If this was the G.O.P. side, that whole apparatus would be mobilized. From the Koch brothers to the N.R.A. to big oil, they would be efficiently mobilizing their base right now.” Asked what they expected to see from fellow Democrats, the lobbyist responded, “I think we’re going to see a lot of hashtags, and some rallies, and a lot of useless shit.”