When I hear that Republicans are waging a war on our daughters, mothers, wives, aunts and sisters, I begin to hate myself. As a registered Republican, how dare I wage a “war on women,” when women mean so much to me? I must be a masochist or a nihilist. Or a masochistic nihilist.
The absurdity of the charge notwithstanding, the “war on women” calumny has been a potent line of attack for Democrats. And since the Democrat-friendly mainstream media legitimize it by not dismissing it as exceedingly cheap demagoguery, Democrats can play this gambit whenever they need a wedge issue to divide the country and slander the opposition.
An issue central to the “war on women” is abortion. Pro-life Americans believe that because a fetus has all the biological properties of a human being, it has a right to life. Ergo, conservatives hate women. Logic is hard.
To date, Republicans have been diffident about going on the offensive on the abortion issue, presumably out of fear that it would further alienate the young, single female demographic that has morphed into a reliable voting bloc for Democrats.
I can understand the reluctance to speak extensively about abortion in general, but what about late-term abortion specifically?
Why not force Democrats to defend their stance on late-term abortion?
The Democratic Party’s national 2012 platform unequivocally supports the right to abortion, including late-term abortion.
While most Americans still support the right to an abortion in the first trimester, Americans by large margins oppose abortion during the second and third trimesters. According to Gallup:
In other words, only 14% of Americans agree with the Democratic Party’s position on late term abortion. From a political standpoint, this is a devastating statistic for Democrats.
Yet for some reason Republicans aren’t exploiting the hell out of it. I know abortion is not the preeminent issue—it ranks below jobs, the economy, and a number of other issues—so I am not suggesting we make the GOP’s opposition to late-term abortion a central campaign theme.
But because abortion is a popular wedge issue for Democrats, it is critical for the GOP to fight effectively on that battlefield, rather than retreat.
Democrats have already been put on the defensive and have had to backtrack on late term abortion in two high profile statewide races.
Democratic Senate candidate, Alison Lundergan Grimes, who is waging an underdog campaign to unseat the Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, distanced herself from the national Party’s radical abortion stance when she publicly declared her opposition to late-term abortion.
Incredibly, and to the glee of every conservative in the galaxy, so has the nascent liberal icon, Wendy Davis, who rose to fame by unsuccessfully filibustering a bill that banned abortions after twenty weeks and subjected Texas’s abortion clinics to new regulations. She also rose to fame because the media were smitten with the running shoes she wore during her filibuster.
It is true that Kentucky and Texas have more pro-life voters than say, liberal Vermont. Davis and Grimes made the calculation that not opposing the gruesome practice of aborting a viable fetus would be an anathema to many pro-life Democrats and independents who may otherwise be inclined to vote for them—and whose votes they absolutely must have to win.
However, only 14% of Americans support late-term abortions in the entire country, not just in conservative bastions.
If Democrats insist on attacking Republicans for waging a war on women, being anti-reproductive rights, against women’s health, or whatever the focus group tested libelous meme might be in play in 2014 and 2016, why doesn’t the GOP hit back with the late-term abortion issue?
This would have the effect of putting Democrats on the defensive, forcing them to double down on their Party’s platform, equivocate, or outright reject late-term abortion a la Davis and Grimes.
From a strategic standpoint, it is imprudent to remain on the defensive. Americans are not divided on second and third trimester abortions; they overwhelmingly oppose them.
So shouldn’t Republicans force national Democratic candidates to take a position on late-term abortion? I am looking at you, Hillary Clinton.
To this date, Republicans have cautiously avoided a proactive strategy on this issue. Given where the country stands, it would serve the national Party and its leaders well to pose this question: “Mrs. Clinton, do you endorse the Democratic Party’s platform supporting the right to an abortion for any reason at any point in the pregnancy?”
It would be fascinating to hear how a skilled politician like Hillary Clinton would respond. There’s really no wiggle room to equivocate. If she says yes, Republicans can hold her accountable for a radical view on abortion. This will invariably hurt her with swing pro-life voters and raise questions about her moral compass.
If she takes the Wendy Davis and Allison Grimes route, and voices her opposition to late-term abortion, it would send tsunami shock waves through the pro-choice movement and the Democratic establishment. NARAL, NOW, Planned Parenthood et al. would be in full panic mode. The Left would be on the defensive, scrambling to craft sensible talking points on late term abortion that don’t repulse over 80% of the country.
It’s time for conservatives and the GOP to go on the offensive: attack the Democrats’ extreme position on late term abortion, and watch them squirm.