ANALYSIS – In typical Trump fashion, the former president just threw all pro-lifer conservatives under the bus to deflect any blame from himself for the weak ‘Red Trickle’ that was the 2022 election. But is he wrong?
On November 9, I wrote about how both issues impacted the 2022 election losses. ‘Abortion and Trump tipped the scales.’
Yes, some pro-life conservatives took the reasonable Supreme Court decision to give abortion decisions back to the states (where they belong), as a green light to push for the most aggressive anti-abortion restrictions they could.
And this was a mistake. It only reinforced Democrat women’s fears and independent women’s doubts, fueling the abortion rights extremists to rally and independents to waver or vote Democrat.
What they should have done is defend Dobbs and the Supreme Court while positioning the GOP as the reasonable party on abortion.
Abortion on demand at all times under any circumstances, until the time of birth (and sometimes even beyond), is the extreme position.
And most Americans oppose that insanity.
“Let states decide. The left is extreme on abortion.” That’s how we should have played it.
Sadly, too many on the right didn’t follow that playbook.
So, when Trump stated on Truth Social on Sunday that it wasn’t his fault that “Republicans didn’t live up to expectations” in the 2022 midterm elections, he may be partly right.
Instead, Trump blamed the “abortion issue,” writing that it was “poorly handled by many Republicans, especially those that firmly insisted on No Exceptions, even in the case of Rape, Incest, or Life of the Mother.”
And that was true. Here I agree with Trump.
When I ran for office in South Florida 10 years ago, I signed the National Right to Life Pledge, but even that staunchly pro-life organization made exceptions for rape, incest or the life of the mother.
Now, however, Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, one of the nation’s leading pro-life groups, which spent tens of millions to mobilize the pro-life vote in the 2022 midterms, stated in response to Trump:
The approach to winning on abortion in federal races, proven for a decade is this: state clearly the ambitious consensus pro-life view on abortion and contrast that with the extreme view of Democrat opponents. We look forward to hearing that position fully articulated by Mr. Trump and all presidential candidates.
Their response was far from convincing. Taking the most extreme counterpoint to the left’s extreme position doesn’t win votes. It only makes you seem more extreme than the other guys.
In an interview with Breitbart News last month, Trump said it best: “I think a lot of Republicans didn’t handle the abortion question properly. I think if you don’t have the three exceptions, it’s almost impossible in most parts of the country to win.”
And even when Republicans were not asking for the most extreme abortion restrictions, the Democrats lied that they were.
And this was also a failure of the GOP.
The Democrats and leftist groups spent $468 million on abortion-related advertisements, whereas the Republican party focused its campaign advertising on inflation.
While some grassroots conservatives were overzealous about rolling back abortion after Dobbs, the GOP establishment was afraid of the abortion issue altogether, ignored it and hoped it would just go away.
But I think Trump is also wrong to take no blame himself. He did play a big part in the 2022 electoral defeat.
As I wrote on November 9:
But beyond the abortion issue, former president Trump likely played an outsized role in the red wave turning to a ripple.
And as someone who has been a strong Trump supporter and voted for Trump twice, I believe this sentiment [Trump was part of the problem] has validity.
Continuous ranting about election fraud in 2020 makes the future about the past.
And forcefully demanding GOP loyalty to one man doesn’t help either.
It also makes everything about Trump rather than conservative ideas, policies, and candidates.
Nothing mobilizes the Democrats, the media and the left like Trump.
Of course, the title of my November piece could have given a clue. It was: “Is It Time for the GOP to Dump Trump?”
Opinions expressed by contributors do not necessarily reflect the views of Great America News Desk.