Democrats are Realizing Talking Openly About Abortion Hurts Their Campaigns

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A recent op-ed in the New York Times delves into the author’s opinions of what brought about the shift in political power, after the 2018 midterm elections ultimately left the Republicans in the House of Representatives in the minority. The November 6, 2018 midterm elections brought some surprises, with the Republicans in the Senate gaining three seats, and barely holding on to a slight majority. In the House, the landscape dramatically shifted with 227 seats held by the Democrats and 198 held by the Republicans.  

The op-ed in the New York Times discusses several factors that may have led to the Democrats regaining a majority in the House, culminating in Nancy Pelosi as the likely next Speaker. The writer of the op-ed specifically addresses what Pelosi (who has been serving as the House Minority Leader) used as her strategies leading up to the election. According to the New York Times op-ed:

Nancy Pelosi did not want to talk about Planned Parenthood.

It was a meeting of House Democrats early in 2017, during Republicans’ drive that March to strike down the Affordable Care Act. Ms. Pelosi and her political lieutenants laid out their counterattack: Democrats would talk about pre-existing conditions and millions of people losing coverage. And they would talk about an “age tax” — a provision in the Obamacare replacement passed by the House, which would have allowed health insurers to widen the premium gap between younger and older customers.

The Democratic strategy was to talk less openly about abortion, and if they talked about abortion, it would be under the guise of women’s healthcare, or women’s rights. Pelosi and the Democrats had come to realize that advocating openly for abortion was not a message that resonated well with the majority of Americans. The New York Times op-ed continues:

Ms. Pelosi acknowledged it would require restraint from Democrats. In her own San Francisco district, she said, people wanted her to fight the health care battle over funding for Planned Parenthood and Medicaid. “Those things are in our DNA, but they are not in our talking points,” Ms. Pelosi became fond of saying, according to a close associate.

This strategy represents a major tactical shift from the 2016 Presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton. During her campaign, Clinton was referred to multiple times as possibly the most pro-abortion presidential candidate ever.

Despite the temporary losses of seats in the House, it is encouraging for pro life advocates that even the most radical Democrats are realizing that advocating for abortion will cost them votes. 

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