By Dave Andrusko
If you are Planned Parenthood and your all-time, all-time favorite pro-abortion presidential candidate loses to a pro-lifer running for office for the first time, there must be a reason. Or, put it another way, the reason Hillary Clinton lost to Donald Trump could not possibly be, even in part, because Clinton was pro-abortion to the hilt and Trump gave explicit assurances to the pro-life community and made his position crystal-clear in the third and final presidential debate to the nation at large.
As is its wont post-election, PPFA convened focus groups (some consisting only of Trump supporters, others that included supporters of both candidates) and last week “made recordings of the 90-minute focus groups—held in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Phoenix; Las Vegas; and Milwaukee–available to a group of [sympathetic] journalists,” including Michelle Goldberg of Slate.
Goldberg et al. agreed whole-heartedly that the responses (while “maddening”) “suggest that the Clinton campaign made a fatal mistake in depicting Trump as outside the bounds of normal conservatism. Clinton’s camp had hoped that doing so would lead Republicans to defect. Instead, it helped some people who distrust conservatism to reconcile themselves to Trump.”
Okay, three points. First, as many people, including President Obama have said or intimated, Clinton ran an uninspiring, almost entirely negative campaign: i.e., you may not like me (or trust me or believe I have any leadership skills) but at least I’m not Trump. Fear-based campaigns rarely succeed in the absence of an affirmative alternative.
Second, Goldberg writes, “The majority of people in the focus groups knew little about the intense social conservatism of people Trump has surrounded himself with.” You can imagine just how even-handed a portrait PPFA painted of pro-life vice-president Gov. Mike Pence. But most people will know very little about the personnel decisions of any incoming administration unless they are news junkies.
But we are to believe at some were “astounded” that Trump would support defunding Planned Parenthood, even though he made it clear in his statement to pro-lifers and in the final debate and along the way, so long as they were involved in abortion. Which leads us to..
Third, Goldberg ends with this:
If support for Planned Parenthood was a serious priority for these voters, they wouldn’t have voted for Trump in the first place. Nevertheless, there is a lesson here. If Democrats ever want to regain power, they don’t need to wedge Trump away from the Republican Party. They need to yoke him to it. …
As we’ve talked about many times at NRL News Today, the abortion issue/composition of the Supreme Court worked to Trump’s favor with those who based their vote on where the candidates stood on abortion and/or what the Supreme Court would look like under a President Trump or a President Clinton.
Goldberg implicitly admits that in her conclusion. Her fallback position—which is synonymous with PPFA’s—is that Clinton didn’t’ do enough to “warn” the electorate about “normal (read pro-life) conservatism.”
To recap, PPFA wants to explain why even some PPFA-supporters voted for Trump. They want to attribute it to confusion or because those people did not believe Trump was serious.
But (a) Trump grew more and more vocal about his pro-life position, epitomized when he denounced Clinton for supporting late-abortion at the third debate; (b) The Abortion Industry’s various political arms spent tens of millions walloping Trump for his pro-life position and for his promise to nominate only pro-life jurists to the Supreme Court; and (c) the media-complex arm of the Clinton campaign told the public over and over about Trump’s position.
Most people had a very good sense where the candidates stood. That worked to Trump’s advantage in general but especially in those key Midwestern states peopled with many who oppose abortion.
Clinton made a gazillion mistakes. Not trumpeting her support for unbridled, unlimited abortion and bashing Trump for his pro-life position was not one of them.