By Dave Andrusko
Editor’s note. This repost from what appeared in NRL News Today a year ago was one of my favorite stories of 2020. It is a reminder of how important the abortion issue to young people in general, young Republicans in particular.
Job #1 for the pro-abortion media is defeating President Trump. Not exactly breaking news.
However, in combination with a story that ran last week in the Abortion Industry’s house newspaper (the New York Times), it’s extraordinary to see the flagship of the “mainstream media” acknowledging how crucial opposition to abortion is to the Republican Party. Allow me to offer some background.
Last week I forwarded “Trump Pushes Young Republicans Away. Abortion Pulls Them Back” to a handful of friends to get their reactions. The story was written by Maggie Astor, a “political reporter” for the Trump-hating New York Times.
There were many amusing responses.
My favorite began, “I am sure the reporter was holding her nose because she had to talk to young, pro-life Republicans–and come to think of it, how did the New York Times find these bastions of GOP youth? It must have been like finding the rare albino tiger based on the way the Times writes the rest of the year: ‘Pro-life youth’? Gasp!”
When I read these kinds of stories, I am reminded of the glut of news stories, scholarly accounts, and full-blown books that grew like Topsy after the November 2016 investigating what one writer dubbed “Trumpology.” She defined this as “a nascent genre of reading material exploring a certain portion of the electorate that seems most likely to vote for Donald Trump.”
The difference here is Astor is trying to explain why, despite differences on other issues, young Republicans [ages 18-23] nonetheless stay with the President.
It’s the abortion issue, plain and simple.
This is a straightforward acknowledgement of how important the party’s pro-life position is, but it also pulls double duty. It provides Astor the opportunity to tell us that only something this fundamental can outweigh everything else.
Before I go further, an important side note. A pool of two dozen young Republicans is hardly the last word on how young conservatives collectively feel about President Trump. By every indication, Republicans young and old are remarkably faithful to Trump. But Astor’s not going to let that get in the way of her narrative.
As always, you have to read between the lines and recall what Astor concedes at the beginning (and then ignores for the rest of the story): that what she writes about young Republicans no doubt applies to young Democrats. (“It’s just less visible.”)
In interviews with two dozen Republicans ages 18 to 23, almost all of them, while expressing fundamentally conservative views, identified at least one major issue on which they disagreed with the party line. But more often than not, they said one issue kept them committed to the party: abortion.
(I would ask an obvious follow-up question: Is there anyone, ages 24 to infinity, who doesn’t disagree with “the party line” on “at least one major issue”?)
Astor tells us, “Abortion is not the only issue on which young Republicans lean right,” but that “abortion is, very often, the issue that is sacrosanct …”
The next two paragraphs are very important:
Polling of conservatives indicates that abortion “is becoming a bigger issue to their identity as Republicans,” said Melissa Deckman, a political scientist at Washington College who studies Generation Z. “This is an issue that’s just become nonnegotiable, even among younger people.”
Certainly, many young Republicans said, they would consider crossing the aisle in this election if not for abortion.
As we learn from Astor’s account, the importance of opposition to abortion in holding these young Republicans to the party cannot be overstated.
Also, worth remembering is that young people almost inevitably are more “liberal” on a host of issues than are people 40 and up. This could apply to young GOPers as well.
If the latter is true, clearly abortion is the anchor issue for young Republicans.