Audio: It’s time for Democrats to moderate on abortion, says … Jimmy Carter?
Skip to 13:20 of the clip for the key bit. Dude, second look at–
No. I can’t bring myself to say it.
“I never have believed that Jesus Christ would approve of abortions and that was one of the problems I had when I was president, having to uphold Roe v. Wade. And I did everything I could to minimize the need for abortions. I made it easy to adopt children, for instance, that were unwanted and also initiated the program called Women and Infant Children, or WIC program, that’s still in existence now. But except for the times when a mother’s life is in danger or when a pregnancy is caused by rape or incest I would certainly not or never have approved of any abortions…
“I’ve signed a public letter calling for the Democratic Party at the next convention to espouse my position on abortion which is to minimize the need, requirement for abortion and limit it only to women whose life are in danger or who are pregnant as a result of rape or incest. I think if the Democratic Party would adopt that policy that would be acceptable to a lot of people who are now estranged from our party because of the abortion issue.”
Listen as Ingraham engages with him on how much bluer the south might be if blue-collar evangelicals didn’t have a moral objection to voting Democratic. Impossible to know offhand, though, whether they’d net more electoral votes that way than they’d lose. What’s the point in losing Mississippi by 10 points instead of 20 if, say, Colorado liberals stay home in outrage and you lose that state altogether? (On the other hand, if moving right on abortion helped them win Virginia outright while shrinking their margin of victory in California to “only” six or seven points, that might be worth doing.) And if they crossed the aisle, how confident would blue-collar evangelicals feel that the Democrats’ pro-choice wing wouldn’t end up controlling the party’s agenda anyway once it’s in office? I’d love to see a poll on the subject.
Even if you had hard evidence that moderation on “choice” would net them some votes, I wonder if the party would do it. Abortion is one of the modern left’s animating concerns, which is why I had fun with O’s conspicuous silence about it last night in his Planned Parenthood pander. Protecting it shouldn’t matter as much morally to them as ending it matters to pro-lifers since only one side considers it a matter of life and death, but it seems to. If the party betrayed them over it, even for electoral advantage, the backlash would be roughly as ferocious as it would be on the right if the GOP suddenly lurched towards the pro-choice position in hopes of winning a few swing states. (If you don’t like that example, imagine conservative reaction to the RNC embracing gun control because it might help in California.) If they did it, they’d be betting that the 15 percent of rabid abortion-supporting liberals who end up defecting to the Green Party could be replaced with a chunk of evangelicals such that the Dems end up topping the GOP narrowly in three-way elections (a la 1992 and 1996) each cycle. Again, I’d have to see a poll to know if that’s feasible — and it’s certainly true that some disaffected leftists would grudgingly vote Dem anyway if the race looked very close — but replacing people who’ll definitely vote for you with people who might vote for you seems awfully risky when the stakes are this high.