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Democrats’ attempt to navigate Black Americans’ “nuanced views on abortion” requires slick packaging and bundling the abortion issue with other unrelated issues

by | Jul 19, 2022

By Dave Andrusko

While Black Americans are among the most loyal Democratic voters—92% voted for President Biden in 2020—the sub-headline yesterday in a story in the New York Times suggests the party does understand a potentially key weakness:  

Faced with a streak of conservatism about abortion among some Black Americans, a vital constituency for President Biden, Democrats are framing the issue as part of a broader civil rights struggle.

So how do “Democrats Navigate Nuanced Views on Abortion Among Black Voters”? Zolan Kanno-Youngs writes

While Black voters remain overwhelmingly allied with the Democratic Party, some, especially older churchgoers, have a conservative streak when it comes to social issues like abortion. The best way to communicate to those members of her community, Ms. Smith-Pollard and other faith leaders said not long before the court ruled to eliminate the constitutional right to abortion, would be to frame the response as not just a matter of abortion, but rather as part of a broader movement to restrict individual rights, including voting, marriage and control over one’s own body.

“Would be to frame the response as not just a matter of abortion…” 

Cynicism, anyone?

Rev. Najuma Smith-Pollard is the lens through which the story requires to reader to view abortion. “The most effective message for her community ‘would be like having to have the conversation without the word abortion,’ Ms. Smith-Pollard later said in an interview” with Kanno-Young.


“We were all clear that this is about abortion, but this is not just about abortion,” Ms. Smith-Pollard said, adding that it was imperative to focus on “the implication on other rights — civil rights.”

So the thrust of Kanno-Young’s story is that support for slaughtering babies doesn’t require checking your religious belief as you enter the pew or the voting booth. He quotes from Vice President Kamala Harris who spoke Monday to the N.A.A.C.P.:

Ms. Harris put the issue in terms of religion, saying that supporting a woman’s abortion rights “does not require anyone to abandon their faith or their beliefs. It just requires us to agree the government shouldn’t be making that decision for her.”

Pardon? Is she serious? You just switch the topic from what we are doing almost 900,000 times a year to hapless unborn babies to “the government making the decision for you” and voila so much for your “religious” objections?

Although the subject of Kanno-Young story is Black Americans and abortion, they are by no means the only minority community with objections to unfettered abortion. “The strong support for abortion rights among Democrats tends to obscure more nuanced positions held by critical components of the party’s electoral coalition, including among Latino voters in places like South Texas, once a Democratic stronghold, where the issue has helped push some Catholic voters toward Republicans.”

And why now? Kanno-Young links to an earlier Times  story with this headline–“How the Fight Over Abortion Rights Has Changed the Politics of South Texas: In the Laredo region, long a Democratic stronghold, that single issue appears to be driving the decision for many voters, the majority of whom are Catholic.

Why have they just discovered that Blacks and Hispanics are not intuitive pro-abortion? The rapidly approaching mid-term elections, perhaps?

One other very important consideration: the huge role of the Black church:

“If the Democratic Party really wanted to appeal to Black Christians about reproductive rights, they would have to package it in a very specific way,” said Eric McDaniel, the co-director of the Politics of Race and Ethnicity Lab at the University of Texas at Austin. “If they’re going to talk about it, they have to frame this as, ‘This is just part of a larger assault on your rights.’”

“Packaging”?  Talk about cynical.

 Please take five minutes out and read “Democrats Navigate Nuanced Views on Abortion Among Black Voters”.

Categories: Politics