2024

Donald Trump’s Abortion Gambit

GOP platform retreats on hot-button social issue …

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During his first campaign for the American presidency in 2016, Donald Trump made a remark which has been invoked frequently by his antagonists over the intervening years.

“I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn’t lose any voters, okay?” Trump said during a January 2016 visit to Sioux Center, Iowa. “It’s, like, incredible.”

“Incredible?”

That’s certainly one word for it …

Before impugning the lemming-like loyalty of Trump’s MAGA base, though, it’s worth considering the flip side to that coin. Trump could literally make the lame walk and cause the blind to see – but his reflexive haters would still portray him as a modern-day Hitler.

No, really …

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Love him or hate him (I’m agnostic, for the record), Trump is the definitional lightning rod. And hardly anyone with an established view of him – which is roughly 90 percent of the American electorate – will be changing that view based on anything he says or does. To wit: It took the unmasking of his successor as a befuddled geriatric to move the needle substantively among independents in this fall’s election.

As noted in our most recent political stock index, Trump is riding high at the moment due to incumbent president Joe Biden‘s monumental meltdown during last month’s debate. But it’s worth recalling Trump enjoyed a narrow lead in the race’s pivotal swing states prior to Biden’s debate debacle. And it’s also worth recalling Biden was already saddled with record low approval ratings before he crapped the bed – and possibly crapped himself – on stage in Atlanta, Georgia.

While Trump is doubtlessly enjoying a momentum surge – leading in Arizona (+5.4), Georgia (+4), Michigan (+0.6), Nevada (+5.2), Pennsylvania (+5.3) and Wisconsin (+2.2) – there is one hot-button issue which could threaten his coalition and potentially erode his lead in the polls.

Or, conversely, expand his lead in the polls.

That issue? Abortion.

This week, Republicans rushed to adopt their 2024 platform ahead of this month’s quadrennial convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. At Trump’s urging, language contained in the platform regarding GOP opposition to abortion has been “softened,” “shifted” – or altogether removed.

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RELATED | TRUMP, GRAHAM SPAR OVER ABORTION

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Diverging from previous platforms – which advocated for a national abortion ban and affirmatively posited that “the unborn child has a fundamental right to life which cannot be infringed” – the new document leaves the issue of abortion entirely up to individual states.

And removes the “fundamental right to life” language altogether …

The only opposition to the practice expressly envisaged at the federal level by this platform? A ban on “late term abortion.”

“We believe that the 14th amendment to the Constitution of the United States guarantees that no person can be denied life or liberty without due process, and that the states are, therefore, free to pass laws protecting those rights,” the platform stated.

Pontius Pilate would be proud of such hand-scrubbing …

“After 51 years, because of us, that power has been given to the states and to a vote of the people,” the platform continued.

That’s a reference to the decisive role Trump’s supreme court appointees played in overturning Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 ruling which created a de facto federal right to abortion.

Trump’s pivot on this issue is no surprise. Earlier this year, he blasted U.S. senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina for reintroducing a federal abortion ban – going so far as to blame himself for keeping Graham in office.

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“Many Good Republicans lost elections because of this issue, and people like Lindsey Graham, that are unrelenting, are handing Democrats their dream of the House, Senate, and perhaps even the presidency,” Trump wrote on his Truth Social account.

Trump’s kabuki dance on abortion is naked political calculation. His pollsters have obviously done the math and determined the GOP is far more likely to gain ground this fall by softening its opposition to the practice than it would lose ground by remaining recalcitrant.

Basically, they are betting hardcore pro-lifers will swallow this shift … and early indicators are that’s a safe bet.

 “In contrast to what the Democratic Party offers to women and their pre-born children, the Republican Party platform offers life and hope,” stated Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life. “The Democratic Party is the party of unlimited abortion — even abortions late in pregnancy.”

Tobias’ group added that “contrary to the Biden administration and the Democratic Party, President Trump throughout his presidency championed policies designed to safeguard the lives of both unborn children and their mothers from unlimited abortions.”

Not everyone was thrilled with the move, though.

“The idea that all human life from conception until natural death deserves protection has become nearly foreign to the party proper,” noted Laura Beth Kirsop, a pro-life political operative from the South Carolina Upstate. “The updated language demonstrates that, within the Republican Party, abortion is primarily an issue to be used and abused for politicized and pragmatic reasons: to garner conservative votes or to persuade less conservative constituents to palatable moderation or compromise. While I fully believe that there is a time for open discussion on the best means to saving the most life with the resources we have, the writing of the party platform, to which we hold our leaders accountable, is not that time. It ought to be an uncompromising document — especially on life or death issues for our most vulnerable. This new language is greatly disappointing.”

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RELATED | SOUTH CAROLINA’S ABORTION DEBATE

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GOP stalwarts were also miffed by the process which led to the sudden policy shift.

“The document — which was whittled down from 66 pages in 2016 to 16 pages this year — was developed behind closed doors and hastily presented to and approved by delegates in just a few hours Monday morning,” Megan Messerly and Irie Sentner reported for Politico.

According to Messerly and Sentner, one GOP delegate told them party leaders “didn’t even give us a chance to read it before we voted on it.”

Hmmm …

I’ve made my personal position on the abortion issue abundantly clear over the years. I believe life to be the  “indispensable liberty” and have long argued if we cannot protect it, then “none of the other rights really matter that much.” Having said that, I acknowledge the political utility of Trump’s retreat – although I believe he is deluding himself if he believes it will lessen either the ferocity or effectiveness of the left’s attacks on him.

I’d also love to have someone explain to me the cognitive dissonance of South Carolina GOP primary voters expelling three female senators for their retreat on abortion – but giving Trump a hall pass on the issue.

Anyway, irrespective of my personal beliefs – or my best political analysis of the issue – FITSNews remains committed to covering abortion fairly, especially at the state level where the issue is being decided.

And certainly this media outlet’s open microphone is available to all perspectives … pro-life, pro-choice and all points in between.

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    ABOUT THE AUTHOR …

    (Travis Bell Photography)

    Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina and before that he was a bass guitarist and dive bar bouncer. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and eight children.

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    5 comments

    Nanker Phelge July 9, 2024 at 2:32 pm

    The only ideology Trump has is self-preservation and self-enrichment. He will sellout anyone and anything to achieve those goals.

    Anybody who thinks otherwise or is surprised by this is a world class sucker.

    Reply
    River Top fan July 9, 2024 at 3:52 pm

    TDS

    Reply
    Frank July 9, 2024 at 4:31 pm

    Trump never cared about abortion. Hell, he has probably paid for a few himself. He just uses abortion for political reasons, so whatever benefits him, that’s what he will say. There is no need to vote. Trump will be sure his position benefits him, and if he is wrong he will change his position and swear he never changed. He is after all the consument conman.

    Still no comment from this blog about Trump’s name being all over the released Epistein files.

    Reply
    CongareeCatfish Top fan July 10, 2024 at 10:13 am

    The Tenth Amendment has been the most ignored and subrogated amendment of the Constitution since the beginning of the New Deal, mostly under the rubric of a bastardized, ever-expanding interpretation of the Commerce Clause. The Hobbs decision reversing Roe is hopefully the beginning of the pendulum swinging the other way. But the hard core pro-lifers need to recognize that just as the Tenth Amendment does not permit the Supreme Court to distill amorphous, historically dubious rights for the left-wing, at the same time it does not permit the creation of a national statute banning abortion. Lindsey Graham knew better; he gun- decked the GOP for selfish political reasons. While I would like to see the nation eventually pass an amendment [not a statute] banning abortions in all cases except rape, incest and bona fide life of the mother cases, that is probably still a decade away. There is still more persuasion to do. The pro life fight has accomplished a huge win with Hobbs – don’t screw the rest of us who are still anti-communists and don’t want the Marxist Democrats to gain power in the House and Senate and hamstring Trump for 4 years. It took 80 years and a war to end slavery. Be patient and grateful for the progress being made- don’t push away independents who still want an early first trimester availability so that the Democrats just end up in power anyway and we lose on everything.

    Reply
    River Top fan July 11, 2024 at 8:29 am

    “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. How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them!”
    ??Psalms? ?139?:?13?-?17? ?

    Reply

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