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The Abortion Thing

 
 
yeahman
 
Reply Tue 17 Feb, 2004 12:21 am
OK this isn't a topic for debating abortion but the political ramifications of pro-life/pro-choice positions.

I spent some time talking to some conservatives about the upcoming election, recently. I found that all other issues are almost meaningless to them compared to abortion. They could couldn't care less about peace in the middle east or the Patriot Act or tax cuts. They just won't vote for anyone who is pro-choice. It was that simple.

Now considering the fact that the majority of Americans (Democrats, Republicans, and Independents) supported Bush's ban on partial-birth abortion, why are the Democratic politicans so against it? 21% of Democrats believe that abortion should be outlawed and another 35% believe that it should be allowed but with stricter limits. That's right, a majority of Democrats want to either outlaw or restrict abortion. Personally, abortion isn't high on my list of issues to evaluate candidates by but it doesn't seem like a smart political move for Democratic candidates to be so adamently pro-choice.

This leads me to, how to win the south. We'll forget about this election cycle but I believe that for the long term prosperity of the Democratic party they have to start paying attention to the south. I believe that the Democratic party has the Republicans beat on the economy and the gun issue seems to have been neutralized but that won't matter to these Southern Baptists who wil not under any circumstances vote for a pro-choice candidate.

But it's not just the south. The Democratic party used to have a stronghold on the Catholic vote. Their pro-choice position has severly hurt them among Catholics. 20% of Americans are Catholic. I'd guesstimate that about a third of them won't even consider voting Democratic because of the abortion issue. That's 5% of Americans concentrated mostly in Democratic or battleground states. And the numbers are growing rapidly. The Party of the Minorities is having more and more trouble holding on to the Hispanics (44% want to outaw abortion and another 33% want it allowed but with stricter limits).
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Type: Discussion • Score: 2 • Views: 1,047 • Replies: 12
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rufio
 
  1  
Reply Tue 17 Feb, 2004 12:26 am
Because it's not about politics, it's about freedom. The dems are not going to win this election no matter how much of their souls they sell to the political machine, so why compromise your morals at all?
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joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Tue 17 Feb, 2004 12:41 am
ye110man: Your consternation is unwarranted. Blacks and Hispanics tend to poll as social conservatives, yet they continue to vote overwhelmingly for Democratic candidates. That's because they don't vote like white social conservatives: rather, they tend to place economic issues ahead of social issues. Democratic strategists are well aware of this fact: that's why they can stake a position to the left in terms of social issues as long as they are economically solid with the core constituencies.
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Ceili
 
  1  
Reply Tue 17 Feb, 2004 12:50 am
Pardon me for saying this, but I find this one of my sore spots. Not Pro-choice - pro-life argument, but that an electorate fail to see the larger picture. The US is by all accounts the leaders of the free world. Yet, the voting public rarely takes into account any type of foreign policy, instead concentrating on moral issues. The place bombs in the hands of leaders but refuse to go beyond bedrooms in their political choices.
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yeahman
 
  1  
Reply Tue 17 Feb, 2004 01:07 am
joefromchicago wrote:
ye110man: Your consternation is unwarranted. Blacks and Hispanics tend to poll as social conservatives, yet they continue to vote overwhelmingly for Democratic candidates. That's because they don't vote like white social conservatives: rather, they tend to place economic issues ahead of social issues. Democratic strategists are well aware of this fact: that's why they can stake a position to the left in terms of social issues as long as they are economically solid with the core constituencies.

I see what you're saying but do you think that the Democratic party can widen their base by staking a position to the right in terms of social issues? That would alienate the far left but they are a smaller constituency. That would mean either the Republicans woud grab them (I can't see that happening), they would go 3rd party (that wouldn't be bad at all), or they wouldn't vote.

It seems to me that liberals are more concerned with economic and foreign policy issues and conservatives are more concerned about social issues. So I would think that the most appealing position would be to stand to the left on the economy and foreign policy and to the right on social issues.
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hobitbob
 
  1  
Reply Tue 17 Feb, 2004 01:17 am
I'm curious as to how many folks from outside the US on this site are "single issue" voters, as so many Americans are?
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yeahman
 
  1  
Reply Tue 17 Feb, 2004 01:23 am
rufio wrote:
Because it's not about politics, it's about freedom.

I don't buy that for a second.
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au1929
 
  1  
Reply Tue 17 Feb, 2004 08:21 am
With all the issues facing the nation and indeed the world what does that say about the American electorate. Bush and his followers have their own method of abortion. It is called war.
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Wilso
 
  1  
Reply Tue 17 Feb, 2004 08:46 am
Another reason the far right disgust me so totally.
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fishin
 
  1  
Reply Tue 17 Feb, 2004 08:49 am
Re: The Abortion Thing
ye110man wrote:
21% of Democrats believe that abortion should be outlawed and another 35% believe that it should be allowed but with stricter limits. That's right, a majority of Democrats want to either outlaw or restrict abortion. Personally, abortion isn't high on my list of issues to evaluate candidates by but it doesn't seem like a smart political move for Democratic candidates to be so adamently pro-choice.


These numbers may be correct but who are the people that actually get out there and work those phone banks, etc.. for the campaigns?

I'm not sure but I suspect that the Democrats that are mostly likely to be heavily involved in the campaign process itself are not in the 56% that want restrictions (or elimination) on abortions. The campaigns need funding and volunteers so they aren't going to alienate the very people that bring them both of those.

In a thread a few months ago there was a disucssion about how some of the pro-choice groups are very much like the NRA is on the gun issue. Both hold absolutist positions and they weild tremendous power in the decision making process.
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joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Tue 17 Feb, 2004 09:12 am
ye110man wrote:
I see what you're saying but do you think that the Democratic party can widen their base by staking a position to the right in terms of social issues? That would alienate the far left but they are a smaller constituency. That would mean either the Republicans woud grab them (I can't see that happening), they would go 3rd party (that wouldn't be bad at all), or they wouldn't vote.

The right-to-lifers won't be drawn into the Democratic party solely on the issue of abortion, since they'd simply become single-issue voters on gay rights or school choice or creationism or guns or pornography or something else. There have been anti-abortion Democrats: we had one here in Illinois a few years ago who ran for governor. He got his head handed to him by George Ryan, who, even during the campaign, was revealed to be one of the crookedest politicians this state has ever produced (and that is quite an accomplishment). The Democratic party wouldn't widen its base by changing its stance on abortion: it would simply shift the terms of the national debate rightward while alienating its base.

ye110man wrote:
It seems to me that liberals are more concerned with economic and foreign policy issues and conservatives are more concerned about social issues. So I would think that the most appealing position would be to stand to the left on the economy and foreign policy and to the right on social issues.

Actually, I think the reverse is true.
0 Replies
 
yeahman
 
  1  
Reply Tue 17 Feb, 2004 11:04 am
joefromchicago wrote:
The right-to-lifers won't be drawn into the Democratic party solely on the issue of abortion, since they'd simply become single-issue voters on gay rights or school choice or creationism or guns or pornography or something else

The Democratic Party is moderate enough on gay rights. Well many of them anyway (ie. John Kerry). I'm a Democrat that supports school vouchers. The gun issue has been neutralized, at least for the time being. If the Republican party wants to run on a pro-creationism platform, let them go ahead. Fewer than 30% of Americans believe that creationism should be taught in schools as a scientific belief.
Besides people don't get as worked up about all this other stuff nearly as much as they do about abortion. You don't see evolution research center bombings.
Wasn't Jimmy Carter a pro-life Democrat. He was the only Democrat since 1964 to win many of those southern states.
0 Replies
 
yeahman
 
  1  
Reply Tue 17 Feb, 2004 04:51 pm
http://www.worldmagblog.com/archives/000552.html
Quote:
Abortion, the litmus test
It's worth bringing to everyone's attention a couple of yesterday's comments. First, from Dave Sable: "I started voting Republican years ago based on the abortion issue alone. Over the years, I educated myself on the other issues. I could live a happy, gunless life with socialized medicine if I had to. I cannot tolerate the blataint disregard for life and the complete lack of openness to meeting both the child's need AND the mother's need."

Here's Brad O'Brien: "Democratic loyalty to Roe v Wade uber alles has been political suicide. Liberals sooner or later will recognize that if abortion was completely outlawed, a vast segment of the electorate... would claim "mission accomplished" and simply go home and quietly withdraw their distortive presence from American politics.... By conceding "defeat" on that one pet cause, Democrats could go on to achieve victory in other areas where Republican positions are not as appealing. But NARAL money talks pretty loud in the modern Democratic party."

So what must Democrats do to appeal to more evangelicals? A Christianity Today article on "'Swing Evangelicals" suggests that Dems must do more than talk vaguely: They need to demonstrate a spiritual sensibility. That's true but insufficient, as long as that spiritual sensibility allows the Dems to remain as the party of abortion. Here's a litmus test that will tell us when the Dems are back: Their party platform will include some protection for at least some unborn children. That won't satisfy me or other prolife folks who favor great protection, but it will give them a shot with others who shy away from association with extreme cruelty.

Some of the comments to that blog entry...
Quote:
Though it would astonish most of my friends, I actually thought about joining the Democratic party in the 80s because they seemed more engaged with compassion-type issues. However, the primary reason I didn't do so was because of the party's position on abortion.

Quote:
And abortion is indeed a litmus test. Millions of Christians will not support a pro-choice candidate, no matter what his other views are.


I also talked to someone a couple of days ago who was liberal on just about every issue. So I asked him who he was going to vote for and he said "Bush. He's the lesser of the 2 evils." That decision was made solely on the candidates' positions on abortion. Of all the people I've talked to with this view, I couldn't get a single one of them to budge. I talked about the economy and the war and the Patriot Act. It always came down to abortion.
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