It is not often that you see political strategy so clearly expressed. However, The New York Times recently published an article by Obama adviser Michael Wear about the state of the 2020 elections. He warned that Democratic candidates need to soften their approach to abortion.
He confirmed what is becoming increasingly evident in the battle against abortion. The pro-life movement is winning. The war is far from over, but anti-abortionists are defining the terms of the debate. Liberals must retreat before a public that is increasingly scandalized by the brutality of pro-abortion rhetoric.
Nothing has changed in the opinions of those in the Democratic Party establishment. They still support unrestricted abortion, yes, until and even after birth. However, Mr. Wear says they must not say so.
Mr. Wear’s message is that the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates are out of step with their voter base…and they don’t seem to care.
The numbers supporting this conclusion are compelling.
Many polls are showing that for the first time, as many Americans consider themselves pro-life as pro-abortion. A recent poll showed that only 18 percent of Americans support the 2020 Democratic candidates’ position of abortion at any time during pregnancy. A P.R.R.I. survey revealed that a majority of Hispanic and black Americans consider abortion to be “morally wrong.”
Significant portions of Democratic voters support abortion restrictions. Majorities or near majorities of women and minorities are in favor of mandatory ultrasounds, waiting periods and other such restrictions. Meanwhile, the Democratic candidates bitterly oppose them.
Finally, many voters support the Hyde Amendment that does not allow tax dollars to pay for abortion. According to a Morning Consult/Politico survey, some 42 percent of Hispanics support the Amendment while 36 percent of African-Americans favor it. Mr. Wear finds it perplexing that Joe Biden changed his pro-Hyde position to join all the other candidates to defy voters on this issue.
The candidates’ response to such numbers is to disregard them. They have hardened their hearts. They are “more ready to exclude voters who are uncomfortable with their abortion policies than to reach out to them.”
No longer are candidates calling for abortions that are “legal, safe and rare.” All the candidates enthusiastically support abortion on demand. They now celebrate abortion with loud (and macabre) applause as was seen and heard when New York state legislators passed their abortion bill that allowed the killing of the unborn until birth.
Candidate Senator Kristen Gillibrand broke with Senate tradition in choosing judges. She declared that support of Roe v. Wade would be a litmus test to decide future Supreme Court judges since “we have, as a society, decided the other side is unacceptable.”
Mr. Wear finds it worrisome, as indeed anyone human should, that no Democratic candidate has given “a clear, compelling message that will help persuadable voters see that he or she does not in fact support infanticide.”
Perhaps the most disconcerting part of Mr. Wear’s message is his solution, which suggests not a change of policy but an adjustment of “tone, rhetoric and feeling.” Once Democrats have unmasked themselves, he wants them to hide once again their real position and present a false one.
Thus, he suggests that candidates need to do a bit of nuance: “Support and defend Roe v. Wade, but express moral reservations about abortion itself.” He suggests candidates must show themselves to be open to more restrictions on abortion, including a ban on late-term ones with limited exceptions. Candidates should seek to reduce abortions by expanding social programs and birth control access. In this way, they can brand themselves as more compassionate and understanding.
This was the Obama strategy that played to the center and helped secure his election. By adopting this plan, Mr. Wear “helped him [Obama] overcome attacks that he was ‘pro-abortion.’”
There is a dark cynicism in such advice since it implies that abortion is just perception, as if it does not snuff out a human life. He encourages candidates to be dishonest, to pretend to moderate their extremist pro-death agenda change just to get elected.
A Dangerous Position
Mr. Wear warns that the failure to adopt his strategy can be dangerous for Democrats. Past Democratic candidates, John Kerry and Hilary Clinton underestimated the pro-life opposition. They did not calculate well the damage that their radical abortion positions would do to their campaigns. The 2020 Democratic candidates embrace abortion on demand and without apology at their electoral peril.
Meanwhile, anti-abortion activists are working toward humanizing the life message with “heartbeat” bills that would prohibit abortion on unborn children that register heartbeats. It may well be that those helpless babies with beating hearts will decide the next general election.
As seen on LifeSiteNews.