Abby Johnson took the stage at the 2020 Republican National Convention hours after an old post of her propogating head-of-household voting resurfaced online.
Many news outlets have accused the 2020 Republican National Convention of handing a platform to those with "fringe views." This could not be exemplified better than through the case of Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood employee who has since gone on to become a pro-life activist. While she spent most of her time on stage at the GOP convention discussing why she left the nonprofit organization (she had watched a video of an abortion on ultrasound), it was an old tweet that put her front and center of the media's eye. In the tweet, unearthed by CBS News White House reporter Kathryn Watson, Johnson claimed she would bring back household voting.
You wanna know how much Trump has changed the GOP? You think a Bush RNC would have ever let an Abby Johnson speak at all, much less prime time? Not a chance. But Trump? Prime time slot to let her talk about pro-life issues.— Ned Ryun (@nedryun) August 26, 2020
Household voting, or family or head-of-household voting as it is also known, grants one vote to each family or household in a particular state or country. Traditionally, this is when family members of voting age enter the voting booth together and collude in order to direct voting intentions. Even more traditionally, the breadwinner of the household, who is typically, of course, a man, would file a vote for the entire family. It is no surprise therefore that Johnson's tweet from May 2 this year read, "I would support bringing back household voting. How anti-feminist of me."
Since Abby Johnson will be appearing at the RNC, I think it would be wise to post a primer on who she is, her history of abusive and racist behavior, and other reasons why she's problematic. This will be a potentially very long thread... 1/x— Mary Pezzulo (@mary_pezzulo) August 24, 2020
Anti-feminist, indeed. Criticism of Johnson's views came flooding in from folks across the social media platform. One user asked a genuine question: what would happen if one partner were a Democrat and the other a Republican? To this, she responded, "Then they would have to decide on one vote. In a Godly household, the husband would get the final say." Dozens of Twitter users expressed their shock at such a statement; while many were glad that there was a formal separation of the church and the state due to this reason, others reminded Johnson that leaders of the women's suffrage movement would probably disown her.
Abby Johnson: still arguing wives shouldn't have voting rights.— Jesse Lehrich (@JesseLehrich) August 26, 2020
(her RNC speech airs this hour.) pic.twitter.com/Y440fMTPZ8
The pro-life activist, nonetheless, seemed unmoved. She responded to the widespread backlash in a sarcastic tweet. It read, "Yes. So shocking! A husband and wife who are in agreement and a wife who honors her husband as the head of the home. Gasp! What a weird, biblical concept!" There was even a winky emoji to drive her tone home. Johnson made little mention of her beliefs on voting during her speech at the 2020 RNC, but critics latched on to her views and extended their critique to her perspective on abortion. Damon Linker, writing for Yahoo! News, claimed that she showed the Republican party exactly how not to appeal to women voters. He wrote, "There are ways for Republicans to appeal to women. There are even ways to do so in pro-life terms—by talking about the tragic, wrenching struggles and anguish experienced by so many women when they contemplate and make the decision to terminate a pregnancy. But Johnson said nothing about any of that, and really expressed no empathy for women at all. Which is exactly what one would expect of someone who would prefer a Handmaid's Tale world in which women lose their bodily and political autonomy and are forced to submit their minds and civic convictions to the absolute rule of their husbands."