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“We’ve Crossed the Rubicon”: Brynn Tannehill on Our Post-Roe Dystopia

The author of “American Fascism” on the relationship between our rigged political system and abortion, same-sex marriage, and contraceptive rights.

Brynn Tannehill is a writer, LGBTQ activist, and author of 2021’s American Fascism: How the GOP Is Subverting Democracy. A veteran of the U.S. Navy who flew helicopters and patrol aircraft, Tannehill has been a commentator on American politics and culture since leaving the reserves in 2010.

On May 9, in the wake of the leak of the Alito draft overturning Roe v. Wade, Tannehill posted a 25-tweet thread that was bone-chilling. Starting with a keen and fact-specific insight into the way our system is rigged and tying those insights into the right’s political and cultural goals, Tannehill painted a grim picture of an American future in which not only are long-held rights gone, but red states start trying to impose their morals on blue states. Here’s a little taste.

Tweet 1: “Just a reminder: because of non-proportional representation and demographics: in order to break the filibuster and overcome the R+6-7 bias in the Senate, Democrats would need to win 3 straight elections by 19 points to make abortion legal nationally.”

Tweet 14: “Other states are passing fetal personhood amendments that would potentially allow states like Texas to reach into blue states where abortion remains legal (e.g. New Mexico) to prosecute doctors in NM who provide abortions to Texans (possibly under the felony murder rule).”

Tweet 19: “We’re heading towards either a corrupt, authoritarian dystopian nightmare for women, LGBT people, and non-Christians, or a fracturing of the US that ends the American experiment permanently.”

When we spoke, Tannehill described, for example, how the state of Texas is prepared, as soon as the decision in Dobbs v. Jackson is handed down by the Supreme Court, to start the wheels in motion to overturn Obergefell v. Hodges, which upheld same-sex marriage. We spoke on May 13.

Watch Tomasky’s conversation with Tannehill.