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Further thoughts on “Learning from the 2012 Elections”

by | Nov 29, 2012

By Dave Andrusko

Do yourself an enormous favor and read the analysis of the 2012 elections  written by National Right to Life Executive Director David N. O’Steen, Ph.D., “Learning from the 2012 Elections”  Dr. O’Steen explains exactly what happened, neither pretending nothing unfortunate happened nor wallowing in misplaced pessimism.

I am going to offer a brief summary of an article you should read and pass on so as to put into context the inevitable call by some for the Republican Party to soften its staunchly pro-life position.

In Dr. O’Steen’s words, “1) of those who voted on the basis of abortion, the pro-life vote for pro-life candidates essentially equaled the pro-abortion vote for pro-abortion candidates; and 2) basic attitudes on abortion itself have not changed.”

In other words because the pro-abortion side increased its vote, on November 6 the advantage the pro-life presidential candidate has always enjoyed among voters who vote single issue on abortion was reduced to one point. How did the pro-abortion side accomplish this?  Again, Dr. O’Steen:

“By being able to redefine in the public arena what pro-life and pro-choice mean and by being able to have their message amplified by vastly greater resources and a media eager to carry their message.”

Was it the bogus “war on women”? It certainly didn’t help–with the enthusiastic aid and comfort of the mainstream media—that pro-life Republican candidates were mercilessly crushed day in and day out with this outlandish smear.

However, as Dr. O’Steen observes, “Whether or not the ‘war on women’ theme alone would have produced the results desired by Obama and Planned Parenthood became a moot question when Todd Akin, the Missouri Republican Senate candidate, made his comments on rape and abortion.  From that point on for the media the abortion issue was ONLY about rape.”

Why did that matter?  ”Because an overwhelming majority believes abortion should be allowed for rape, and if that is the issue that defines what it means to be pro-choice or pro-life, then a majority will side with the pro-choice label.”

But if victory has a thousand fathers and defeat is an orphan, it shouldn’t surprise us that post-November 6 some in the Republican Party will persuade themselves that they will do better if they “moderate” the party’s stance on abortion, if not put it in cold storage. This is wrong on so many fronts, but let me name just four.

First, by way of preface, the Democratic Party, the party of abortion on demand, paid for with your tax dollars, and espoused without apology, never retreats. To the contrary, they double down on their default position: any attempt to place the slightest limitation on abortion is tantamount to “hatred for women” and a reflection of how “radical” pro-lifers are. And since the media never calls the Democrats out on what is a genuinely far-out-of-the-mainstream position, they can get away from their extremism.

(And, oh by the way, when your avowed enemies, such as Planned Parenthood, slyly suggest they might not come after you with tens of millions of dollars if you see the light, just remember that they are an adjunct of the Democratic Party. They are not your friend and would welcome your demise.)

Second, exactly how would the pro-life party become larger or stronger by becoming a Democratic Party-lite? Republicans would attract a handful of converts while showing the door to tens of millions of pro-life Catholics and the much-underestimated pro-life Evangelical community, not to mention those of other faiths or no faith at all. And what about all those millions of Democrats who have “crossed over” to vote Republican precisely BECAUSE of the GOP’s pro-life position?

Pro-lifers oppose assisted suicide; so, too, should the wiser heads in the Republican Party who are being counseled to stay mum on abortion.

Third, there is such a thing as principle. Standing up for defenseless unborn children is a cardinal example. Squelch the spirit of your strongest supporters and don’t be surprised if you douse their enthusiasm.

Fourth and finally, going back to Dr. O’Steen’s keen analysis, there is a reason the abortion issue was neutralized, even though a majority of people still oppose the reasons the vast majority of abortions are performed. And it was not because there was a fundamental shift in how Americans view abortion. Rather it was, Dr. O’Steen explains, because

“at the critical time of the election the pro-abortion side and their media allies succeeded in focusing the abortion issue on the single most difficult aspect of it for the pro-life side with enough voters to wipe out the usual pro-life advantage.”

As hard as it is to understand in the immediate aftermath, this is a temporary shift. Think about this carefully for a moment.

A May 2012 Gallup poll found that 50% identified themselves as pro-life and only 41% identified themselves as pro-choice. The Polling Company post election poll found 51% now identifying as pro-choice and 43% as pro-life.  The Resurgent America post election poll found 49% identifying as pro-choice and 43% as pro-life.

Do we really believe that in a few months, a nine point pro-life advantage became a permanent 6 to 8 point disadvantage? Of course not. Pro-abortionists successfully dictated what it meant to be “pro-life,” courtesy of truckloads of money, a legion of supportive media outlets, and the dreadfully insensitive remarks of two pro-life candidates.

As we have pointed out repeatedly in this space, our Movement has enormous resiliency. If you’ve been around a while, you know that we have weathered far worse storms and we will fight through this one as well.

Those who have less staying power or who have panicked will advise the Republican Party to retreat. But we—you and National Right to Life—will help them to see that a principled defense of preborn babies was, is, and always will be to their electoral advantage and to the cause of the defenseless.

If you like, join those who are following me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/daveha. Please send your comments to daveandrusko@gmail.com.

Categories: Politics