Line of the Day

"State's rights" edition.

The only thing I can say for sure that this clip tells me is that someone has convinced Trump that just saying “state’s rights” over and over again vis-a-vis abortion will make the controversy go away.

Spoiler alert: that isn’t going to work.

FILED UNDER: 2024 Election, US Politics, ,
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. CSK says:

    As usual, I can’t figure out what he’s trying to say. How is Arizona going to change? Who wants what to happen?

    I’m sure it’s deliberate that everything the man says can be interpreted in different ways. Or maybe he’s just a babbling idiot.

  2. Jax says:

    @CSK: I’ll take “babbling idiot” for $1,000, CSK. 🙂

  3. Lounsbury says:

    @CSK: It is not really per se an either/or case, as not being mutually exclusive. And indeed one rather suspects part of the animal cunning of the babbling is being utterly internally unaware of any contradiction.

  4. Jen says:

    Somehow, this idiot managed to BE PRESIDENT for FOUR YEARS and still does not understand a feckin’ thing about politics.

    What. A. Moron.

  5. Kylopod says:

    Abortion is another one of those issues where Trump is his own worst enemy because of his complete lack of empathy–not just his inability to feel it, but even to convincingly fake it. He was like this with Covid in 2020 (remember “It is what it is”?), except this is over an issue that’s ongoing and negatively impacts far more people. And that’s on top of his always sounding like a misogynistic pig whenever he talks about anything gender-related. As a result, even when he’s faced with an opportunity to depict himself as a “moderate,” he botches it because he’s not remotely capable of talking about the subject without coming off sounding like a total ogre.

  6. Michael Reynolds says:

    This will be an interesting test to see whether evangelicals have held onto even a shred of their pre-Trump cult beliefs. My guess? They will convince themselves he’s saying whatever it is they need him to say, and fall in line.

    This is what Christianity has come to. Their forbears allowed themselves to be burned at the stake over arcane theological questions. They had faith. They were idiots, but they had faith. Modern evangelical Christians will follow their false prophet, despite knowing in their shriveled black hearts that they are abandoning Jesus for Trump.

  7. CSK says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Certainly. They want to believe that he’s a devout Christian, a faithful husband, and a devoted father. So…he is.

  8. Kylopod says:

    @Michael Reynolds: The evangelical movement has been on this path for decades: all those televangelists with the pompadours and private jets, who are obvious hucksters who don’t believe a word they preach and are just trying to get their gullible parishioners to line their pockets. Trump is a perfect fit for them. It’s just a wonder Republican politicians took so long to pick up on it.

  9. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Kylopod: @CSK:
    ‘Grab ’em by the pussy,’ is the new, ‘turn the other cheek.’

    As an atheist I can only applaud the slow death of religion in the US. We are becoming more ‘European.’ MAGA as a faith is akin to Naziism as a faith – I don’t think it will have legs beyond the deaths of the cult leader. Although, maybe if Trump emerges from a crypt . . .

    New religions are like third parties, very hard to get started, very hard to sustain.

  10. Lounsbury says:

    @CSK: That appears to be a fiction that you lot want to believe they believe, but it is not what is actually are rationalising around. They rather appear as per profiles read to be rather using the Sinner in the Service of the Lord dodge, rather than actually believing Trump actually is one of them in practice. A tool of the Lord or whatever their preferred pretence is, rather than a fellow in real faith.

    Of course it is further the case that while you all keep going on and on in your self-congratulatory “gotcha” about the hypcorisy of the Evangelicals, it seems fairly obvious from the outside that the political reaction of the MAGA Evanglicals is not really a religious phenomena at all but a political-ethnic reaction that is merely wearing religious clothes, however tattered, as identarian glue with nearly zero actual religious content – at least not religious content as intellectuals like to focus on from the over focus on the rational abstractions rather than identarian emotion.

    Going on about their hypocrisy is not particularly politicall useful (except your own-ingroup glueing I suppose) nor insightful – although as a in-group social masturbation entre-vous no doubt self-enjoyable.

  11. Mr. Prosser says:

    @Kylopod: Never trust a man who sports the blow-dried, sprayed hair styles of the 70s.

  12. wr says:

    @Michael Reynolds: “New religions are like third parties, very hard to get started, very hard to sustain.”

    Which makes it — speaking of cons and grifters — even more impressive in a terrible kind of way what L. Ron Hubbard was able to do…

  13. Hal_10000 says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    100%. And they are right. He will sign any anti-abortion legislation that crosses his desk.

  14. CSK says:


    No shit, Sherlock.

  15. @Lounsbury:

    They rather appear as per profiles read to be rather using the Sinner in the Service of the Lord dodge, rather than actually believing Trump actually is one of them in practice. A tool of the Lord or whatever their preferred pretence is, rather than a fellow in real faith.

    I think that there is a lot to this. While there are some Evangelicals who like to think that Trump is one of them, the reality is that most of them have simply decided that the ends justify the means. And they rationalize away their support for Trump because he has delivered on a key promise in regards to Roe.

    The mistake Trump is making is that repeating “state’s rights” won’t stop the politics of abortion from impacting him. The True Believers will not stop behaving as they are in AZ. And while Trump himself may not lose voters over it, there will be a counter-mobilization that will help Democrats.

  16. Jay L Gischer says:

    @Lounsbury: I, too, think you have the right of it.

    The thing I would ask my once fellow travellers is this: If you were to stand before God and ask Him the question, “Is it reasonable to make a deal with the Devil to advance your Will on Earth?” what do you think His answer would be?

    I think the desparate casting about for anyone, anyone, no matter how venal, no matter how vulgar, to carry their political purposes forward seems to me to be very powerful evidence of how little faith they have in God’s ability to carry out His will. Or perhaps they misunderstand God’s Will and aren’t carrying it out at all.

    I am certain …certain…that there are people who are far more devout and devoted Christians than I am having the same or similar thoughts. It is a surety. This is cleaving their church, their community in two, and they are reluctant to speak, or perhaps have little in the way of platform.

    By the way, I apply this exact same logic to situation on the left where we debate whether we should do something unethical or anti-democratic to counter certain right-leaning efforts. It is very easy to lose the very thing you are trying to preserve in your efforts to protect it.

  17. Michael Reynolds says:

    True. And don’t forget Joseph Smith who was given golden plates by the angel Moroni (angels love to mock humans) and would totally have showed them to people except his wife apparently put them out with the recycling.

  18. Not the IT Dept. says:

    @Michael Reynolds: “This is what Christianity has come to.”

    No, this is what American Christianity has come to. It’s not the same in other Western countries – I’ve got relatives in Canada, England, Portugal, Italy and by Christmas time Ireland. They’re boggled by what we’ve got here.

    I think what we’re not getting about these whack-jobs is that they don’t worship God but themselves. They look in the bathroom mirror before shaving or brushing their teeth and God looks back at them. When they say He talks to them, they mean he’s the little voice telling them to go ahead and do whatever they want because He’ll back them all the way.

    A republic, if you can keep it. – Benjamin Franklin, who would not believe any of this and probably would have swam back to London begging the British to stay in charge if he’d known we’d reach this stage in our history.

  19. Slugger says:

    Yea bud grontoo esplat froji cakboor!!
    I was typing in tongues in sympathy with the Arizona politicians speaking in tongues.
    Blapshap prosatooey!

  20. DrDaveT says:


    Blapshap prosatooey!

    LOL, but you missed a perfect opportunity to slip a “covfefe” in there.

  21. Mister Bluster says:


    covfefe is not speaking in tongues
    covfefe is Trump talking out of his ass

  22. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    and they are reluctant to speak, or perhaps have little in the way of platform.

    We speak. Just not to people who have repeatedly shown no interest in what we have to say.

  23. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Not the IT Dept.: And I would further refine what you said to American evangelicalism given that there is still plenty of non-evangelical Christianity out in America that is not given to seeking temporal authority.

  24. al Ameda says:

    Donald Trump is to ‘devotion to Christianity’ as Agent Orange is to orange juice.

    But really, Evangelical Christians DO NOT CARE about the faux-waffling byTrump and other Republicans. All of this is so much performance. Kabuki.

    They know that Trump, McConnell, and the Federalist Society gave them the Justices that overturned Roe, and that’s what really matters in this case.

  25. DK says:

    @Not the IT Dept.:

    They’re boggled by what we’ve got here.

    I’m very glad to have been raised in the black church tradition that reached its zenith with Rev. Dr. King. They been looking askance at righwing evangelicals for along while.

  26. Kathy says:

    I wonder how much stock Lardass’ Christian supporters put in predestination.

    I’ve always taken it to mean a person is either “saved” or not even before birth, and nothing they do can change that (as though an all powerful deity is impotent tot change their mind?) If so, then whatever sins, blasphemies, and affronts Lardass does don’t matter, they can’t matter. Not as long as he moves to cater to their many prejudices and uses the force of the state to impose their will on the rest of us.

  27. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: The number of people (including yours truly) who don’t really understand predestination could fill multiple universes. You’re very fortunate to understand it so clearly.

  28. Daryl says:

    This is a classic example of “The State” not being troubled by the will of “The People”.
    The AZ Legislature on Wednesday rejected any changes to the law, re-instituted by their SC on Tuesday.
    DeSantis is already hinting at the same thing, with the referendums re Abortion and Marijuana, in FL. He did virtually the same thing with the referendum giving Felons back their right to vote after serving their time.
    My guess is that Choice is going to kill MAGA in November, but that remains to be seen.

  29. Pylon says:

    Trump can’t work himself up over abortion because he’s probably fooling himself into thinking he might still need to arrange one someday.