Saturday, November 24, 2012

Time to abort opposition to abortion?

Reflecting on the 2012 presidential election, Half Sigma writes:
Republicans are on the losing side of the abortion issue. It doesn’t matter that Romney, personally, didn’t make abortion a big issue. Everyone knows that Republicans are against abortion, and he selected a staunchly anti-abortion Vice Presidential nominee in Paul Ryan. That the Republican Party has morons like Richard Mourdock who think that the demon-spawn of rapists are a “gift from God” only makes things that much worse.
The Edison exit polls, paid for and reported on by the major media, didn't query voters on abortion at the state level, but Reuters has the information. The following shows the public split on the legality of abortion in the nine tightest swing states as well as in Michigan, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania--mostly white, moderate places that it is imperative for the GOP to convert to red to maintain electoral viability in the face of demographic trends (read Hispanic immigration and fecundity) coloring states like Colorado, Arizona, Florida, Nevada (which has probably already crossed the rubicon)--and eventually even strongholds like Texas--blue. The "legal" column is comprised of those saying abortion should be legal in "most" or "all" cases; the "illegal" column of those responding it should be illegal in "most" or "all" instances. The "unsure" contingents are ignored:

StateLegal %Illegal %
Nevada69.330.7
New Hampshire67.632.4
Colorado62.337.7
Florida62.337.7
Pennsylvania60.939.1
Virginia60.339.7
Ohio56.943.1
Minnesota56.743.3
Michigan56.143.9
Wisconsin55.144.9
Iowa53.746.3
North Carolina53.446.6

In all twelve of the states under consideration, the pro-choice position is held by a majority of the electorate. And in places like Virginia and Colorado--just a decade ago seemingly reliably Republican--there exists pro-choice 'super majorities'. If the GOP isn't able to enlist the states with old America demography--Ohio, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, and Pennsylvania--in a hurry, it's conceivable to me that I'll never see another Republican president in my lifetime. The above strikes me as reasonable evidence that the part of the official 2012 Republican National Committee platform that reads as follows makes this crucial task even more difficult to accomplish:
We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children. We oppose using public revenues to promote or perform abortion or fund organizations which perform or advocate it and will not fund or subsidize health care which includes abortion coverage. We support the appointment of judges who respect traditional family values and the sanctity of innocent human life.
HS thinks dropping the pro-life platform (along with a determination to hold the line on tax rates for high earners) from the national ticket is the way to get there. The I'm-no-political-strategist disclaimer assumed, the GOP should take a 10th amendment states' rights tact on abortion. It'll retain the pro-lifers (because hey, at least the federal government won't be against us*) without turning off SWPL whites, who don't do much aborting of their own but who like to think they'd be able to if the need ever arose. Taking a page from Gary Johnson's playbook, it could even be pitched as being the ultimate 'pro-choice', position. Onward, liberty!

* In states like Mississippi (37.8% legal, 62.2% illegal), abortion could be outlawed entirely, although there'd undoubtedly be some rhetorical adroitness required to deal with the charge that to get to a states' rights spot on abortion, Roe v Wade would have to be revisited.

13 comments:

Hail said...

"without turning off SWPL whites"

You're right: There is no reason, necessarily, why racialism need to be "conservative". It was not associated with [what we now think of as] conservative social-views a century ago.

Aeoli Pera said...

I'm curious where this grassroots antiracist push is coming from. I've seen a lot of this "I agree, because the opposite of what you're saying is true" stuff in the alt-right sphere lately.

I'ma start working backwards and I'll let you know if I find anything.

Aeoli Pera said...

I'm thinking of Vox Popoli in particular. Lotsa strange folk there recently.

(Hail, on the other hand, looks to be a legit alt-con.)

Noah172 said...

HS thinks dropping the pro-life platform (along with a determination to hold the line on tax rates for high earners) from the national ticket is the way to get there

That's like saying, "If only those racist Republicans could drop their opposition to 'comprehensive immigration reform,' then Latinos -- who are, as everyone but racists knows, 'natural' Repubicans because of their 'family values' which don't stop at the Rio Grande -- will gladly elect George P. Bush the next presidente."

1) In politics, intensity of support often means more than raw numbers. The antiabortion crowd -- meaning those who answer "always illegal" or "mostly illegal" in surveys -- tends to be more intense than its opponents, even though the former is a minority. The GOP needs these people (even as it usually screws them once elections are done with).

By analogy, until about 2009 or 2010, polls had shown for several decades that majorities of the public favored stricter gun control (these majorities were huge during times of peak crime), but the NRA and its ilk won a lot of political battles because their supporters were better organized, louder, and voted on their issue. (Now that polls show that gun control no longer even has this nominal majority, the NRA is unassailable.)

And we alt-rightists know all too well how a determined open-borders minority can overcome the immigration restrictionist majority.

2) Many people who are generally pro-choice still support some broadly popular abortion restrictions (e.g., no public funding, partial-birth ban). Not all of those swing-state pro-choicers are Gloria Steinem clones (or Pat Robertson clones, to be fair).

3) HS' bit about upper-bracket taxes -- in addition to being atrocious, irresponsible policy -- is also a vote-loser. Romney failed to win over enough middle- and lower-class Rust Belt whites to put him over the top largely because of his WSJ economic policies -- without getting enough of those affluent suburbanites that HS (and David Frum) crave so much.

Romney took a hard line on taxes, as well as free trade (he even had the gall to say that Bush wasn't free-trade enough) and Wall Street regulation, while refusing to renounce his position on TARP, and in most swing-state suburbs, he did not much better than McCain. HS is claiming that this must be all about abortion; I'm not buying.

whisker child said...


I am a white, conservative woman who wants the Constitution and G-d back in this country.

But I see taking away my right to choose abortion as the epitome of gov't interference in my life.

A lot of conservatives seem not to understand this.

Quit pretending that women aren't in the room.

Audacious Epigone said...

AP,

I don't think Hail is making an antiracist push; to the contrary, he is saying it's slowly spreading. I have a post in queue that suggests as much (and I think demographic trends make it highly likely).

Noah,

The pro-life movement hasn't received much of anything over the last couple of decades for their support beyond (mostly campaign) rhetoric, and I admit it's easy for me to think about it from a purely tactical perspective since I'm not moved by the issue one way or the other, but assuming the Republican party needs to do at least some major tweaking if it's going to maintain electoral viability in the future, what do you suggest? The abortion angle seems preferable to the diverseacrat-democrat lite hispandering approach, anyway.

Sid said...

I'll also add that the "War on Women" campaign means that the Democrats are no longer "pro-choice." They believe that women can choose to have abortions, but that if they do, you have no choice but to pay for it. If an alpha cad is humping a girl, then a beta male must pay for that girl's birth control. Their platform is: My body, your money!

Republicans can present themselves as the party of choice and freedom: they oppose abortion on a personal level, won't get in the way of women getting birth control and abortions, but also won't make others pay for those things.

Anonymous said...

I am a white, conservative woman who wants the Constitution and G-d back in this country.

But I see taking away my right to choose abortion as the epitome of gov't interference in my life.

A lot of conservatives seem not to understand this.

Quit pretending that women aren't in the room.


You NOT a conservative. You're a LIBERTARIAN.

And an idiot.

Didn't you listen to Todd Akin?

Never heard of having a miscarriage/shutting down after rape?

Yep. I didn't think so.

Yes. "WOMEN are WATCHING!"

You are part of the fake "conservative" Establishment.

I'm like Todd Akin. I don't believe in "choice". But I DO believe in abortion or shutting the whole thing down.

MC said...

"Quit pretending that women aren't in the room."

Quit pretending that babies aren't in the womb.

Anonymous said...

I'm all for abortion, even though I also support (and have) a family. Here's why:
1. I strongly believe we own our bodies, and a fetus it can survive a specialied tissue that cannot survive outside until about (at most) six months. After that you are welcome to think of it as a separate entity. Not before.
2. Humans have the highest rate of miscarriage of all mammals, far more miscarriages than term pregnancies. So if life begins at conception, you'd better plant a lot more of those crosses on the church lawn.
3. Soon enough we will be able to take gametes from a husband and wife, put them together, and analyze which of the little foggies has the best distribution of traits, good and bad. If you make twenty zygotes, you will flush 19 of them. But you will get very, very fit children. I like this idea and I don't want idiots interfering with my desire to confer the best fitness on my children.

Noah172 said...

AE,

If you're asking in general what the GOP should do, I'll summarize by saying it should be more Buchanan/Paul -- paleoconservatism with some libertarian flourishes on the drug war and maybe gay marriage (before public opinion shifts too heavily leftward on that), go after Wall Street, try to stir some racial solidarity among young whites by going after affirmative action, H1B, become serious about deficit hawkishness, etc.

On abortion, I just don't see that the polls have shifted that much on the issue recently. If the "always legal" and "mostly legal" blocs -- who are not entirely in agreement anyway -- are together a 55-60% majority now, that's the way it has been for 30 years or more. The Republicans have to maintain a balancing act of not sounding too extreme/kooky on the issue, but not deflating their still huge pro-life base by repudiating their pro-life position (just as the Democrats have to placate blacks and motivate them to vote, even if not necessarily delivering for them after the election). A "leave it to the states, no federal funding" approach -- libertarianish, basically -- is about the best balance that can be achieved.

I simply don't accept, based on the evidence, that Romney of all people, with his history on the abortion issue, lost because affluent suburbanites love abortion so very much. Abortion is not a top issue for most people; among those for whom it is, pro-lifers predominate (not in every state, sure, but overall).

jerry said...

"I strongly believe we own our bodies, and a fetus it can survive a specialied tissue that cannot survive outside until about (at most) six months."

Those are two separate ideas that have no relation. If you think we aren't responsible for something that can't survive on its own then any parent can ditch their kid. Also, because we "control our bodies" we should be able to ditch our babies and not constantly have to take care of all their needs.

It's pretty annoying that people say a woman has no obligation to hold a baby in the womb when at the same time they demand a parent to do everthing to support the needs of a baby outside the womb. Just because a baby is inside her body she doesn't have to take care of the baby???

A baby passing through the vagina should not change a thing.

jerry said...

"But I see taking away my right to choose abortion as the epitome of gov't interference in my life."

But I see taking away my right to not be a parent (take care of my child) and the epitome of gov't interference in my life...

"Quit pretending that women aren't in the room."

Stop acting like a victim. The catch phrase "war on women" shows how much sway women have in elections. More women than men vote, and women are more likely to vote on gendered issues. We need actual attention towards men as a gender.

For example, healthcare is ridiculously biased towards women.