This might actually be one of the lesser oppo-research points on Raphael Warnock’s career as a minister, but at least he’s up front about it. Are Georgia voters ready for Christian homilies on the advantages of abortion on demand? Warnock and Georgia Democrats must think they are (via Twitchy):
I am a pro-choice pastor.
— Reverend Raphael Warnock (@ReverendWarnock) December 9, 2020
Before one even gets into the theological contradictions of a Christian minister being “pro-choice,” one has to wonder about the electoral contradictions of this as well. Who exactly does Warnock want to reach with this message? Women? Warnock outperformed among women in the special election, winning 40% of that demo while getting 33% of the overall vote. Urban voters? Warnock already got nearly half of those (48%) in the all-in special election, while Kelly Loeffler only got 19% of that vote.
The exit polls actually asked the question on abortion, and … it’s still tough to see where Warnock’s going with this:
It’s true that voters tended toward more liberal views on abortion in the general election (50/43), but those are voters Warnock already arguably has. The runoff electorate is likely to look different than the one that handed Joe Biden a narrow win in Georgia too, since Donald Trump isn’t on the ballot any longer. One could argue that Warnock wants to fire up his own base by reassuring them that he’s not some kind of crypto-conservative, but … no one’s thinking that. At all.
The more likely outcome of a campaign based on championing abortion is to reinforce Republican turnout. And that’s something that Democrats already have to worry about, thanks to a distinct ground and advertising advantage that has emerged in the runoffs. CNN covered the GOP’s ad-war edge last night:
The twin races have drawn staggering sums already: Television and advertising spending had approached $400 million as of Tuesday, according to the latest data from Kantar’s Campaign Media Analysis group. So far, Republicans lead Democrats in spending by about $242.4 million to $154.3 million.
The tally includes spending since November 10 and reservations through the January 5 runoffs. …
The Senate Leadership Fund, a super PAC affiliated with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, is overseeing the Peachtree PAC, a new political action committee that emerged in recent days to shape the US Senate runoffs in Georgia, officials tell CNN.
The group will spend $43 million in new television and radio ad spending. That’s on top of the roughly $80 million that the McConnell-aligned political organization already has committed to spend through the Senate Leadership Fund and American Crossroads, another super PAC.
Not surprisingly, the main focus of these efforts has been in targeting Warnock. They’re also going after Jon Ossoff, but Republicans have made Warnock’s radical rhetoric and past peccadilloes (especially his arrest for obstructing a child abuse investigation) an issue for both Democrats.
That’s why proclaiming himself as a “pro-choice pastor” is a very questionable message for Warnock to embrace, politically and theologically. Republicans are spending $240 million to paint Warnock as a radical weirdo … and the obvious contradiction in Warnock’s declaration only helps emphasize that impression.
Addendum: As for theological weirdness, read Psalm 139 and ask Warnock to explain it:
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
Warnock could well have some sort of answer to this, but it’s going to sound pretty weird. And again, that plays right into the hands of Loeffler and the GOP.