Now I fully understand why the GOP has trouble attracting female voters, and I’m all for Democrats doing whatever they can to exploit their strengths on women’s issues. But despite what Katha Pollitt and other abortion absolutists may like to believe, these efforts cannot just come down to championing a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy on demand. Americans (of both genders) are deeply divided about abortion, with relatively few people supporting that right without serious moral reservations.

Democrats can fume about this fact. They can speculate about its origins in sexism and religious convictions they don’t share. They can wish it were otherwise and work to persuade voters to change their minds about it. But that’s at best a long-term strategy. And for the time being, leading with abortion — in Texas of all places! — is bound to be a losing strategy.

And so is the president of the United States speaking carelessly, just days before the election, about how choosing to be a stay-at-home mom is “not a choice we want Americans to make.” Sure, it wasn’t an intentional dig against moms who stay home with the kids; he was talking about families, and especially mothers, being forced to quit their jobs for want of affordable child care. But the wording was sloppy — seemingly tailor-made to provoke irascible social conservative voters — and the timing was atrocious.