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Slippery Slobe

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« on: December 28, 2004, 11:03:36 AM »
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vmersich

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Re: Democrats Weigh De-emphasizing Abortion as an Issue
« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2004, 11:12:51 AM »
I love the stats listed below your face.  Everyone else calls their PS good or strong or, in some cases, amazing.  I hope your riskiness doesn't hurt you everywhere, but I doubt it will.

I am unsure as to whether this is a smart long-term strategy for the Democrats.  I don't think I have much to say about it, except that I worry that in 20 years, the vast majority of people will be pro-choice.  The party's base seems pro-choice as well (this is all anecdotal, of course).  I don't think concession is the way to go for the democrats, either.   

The ZAPINATOR

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Re: Democrats Weigh De-emphasizing Abortion as an Issue
« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2004, 11:28:15 AM »
I think you're wrong.  I think the pro-choice movement has gone as far as it's going to go.  A substantial number of people are pro-choice, but even they are uncomfortable with it and don't really like it.  It's more that they feel its a necessity.  I really don't think this is the issue to be trying to win elections with for pro-choicers, simply because it's a really tricky subject and it's hard not to come across as immoral or inconsistent.  It's possible, granted, but it's hard.

Then again, the Republican party embraces pro-choice Republicans (look at Arnold) so the Democrats would be shooting themselves in the foot if they didn't welcome pro-lifers like me into the party.  There are a number of people who agree with several key Democratic ideas, yet are strongly opposed to abortion, and for that reason cannot bring themselves to vote (or run) Democrat.

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vmersich

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Re: Democrats Weigh De-emphasizing Abortion as an Issue
« Reply #3 on: December 28, 2004, 11:40:41 AM »
It's too bad that the plural of anecdote isn't data.  I suppose that in different circles you tend to hear different things.  Of course, I would never suggest that any political party exclude those with differences.  What I meant by avoiding excessive concession was this.  The Dem party is seen by many as spineless wimps.  I think this is probably right.  Making it is a point to become more flexible on an issue which some see as the dividing issue would seem quite spineless, at least to me.  They should accept differing views, but not make it a platform point that they are doing so in this case. 

buster

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Re: Democrats Weigh De-emphasizing Abortion as an Issue
« Reply #4 on: December 28, 2004, 11:42:32 AM »
FWIW, there are certainly prominent anti-abortion Democrats; Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid springs to mind.

That said, the perception that the Democratic Party is essentially closed to those opposed to abortion certainly exists (and may be valid "on the ground" even more than in Congress).

The majority of the country, though, is "pro-choice", depending on your definition. (The majority of the country is also perfectly comfortable with limiting abortions through such measures as requiring parental notification, for example.) What people are uncomfortable with in the way you suggested, I think, is abortion itself as opposed to its legality.

Anyway, I certainly agree that it's a very difficult political issue to be aggressive about. I don't know what I think about potential Dem "concessions" on the subject.

On a related, or at least similar, note, I think that the Democratic Party would benefit more by backing off in general from supporting additional gun control measures and instead focusing on enforcement of existing laws.

(Good point about the overall Dem image, Viva.)

russian_concussion

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Re: Democrats Weigh De-emphasizing Abortion as an Issue
« Reply #5 on: December 28, 2004, 11:43:15 AM »
Too bad there isn't a political party whose platform is based on killing babies. I'd join right up.
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Re: Democrats Weigh De-emphasizing Abortion as an Issue
« Reply #6 on: December 28, 2004, 11:58:18 AM »
If the Democratic party were more lenient on abortion I am sure they would pick up another 20% of the Evangelical Christian vote at least.  I personally know dozens of Evangelical Christians who are generally left wing in regard to taxes, welfare, the Iraq War, etc., but are also pro life.

I know very many people like this too.  These are the ones I was referring to.  Heck, being a Christian, it's hard not to want to care about equality and the poor, and it's hard to really be a huge war hawk, without having a heavy heart about it.  If the Democrats came to the center on issues important to evangelicals, I feel it would be possible to cut into the Republican base.  I think, though, that the main problem then would be that the left wing of the party wouldn't want anything to do with evangelical types being under their tent.  Which would cause division in the party.

Really, it's the radicals in both parties who keep the parties more of less irrelevant to the majority of typical Americans.  As long as people feel like they're voting for the lesser of two evils, that's a huge problem.  Most Americans are moderate, not at all radical.

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IrishGuyJay

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Re: Democrats Weigh De-emphasizing Abortion as an Issue
« Reply #7 on: December 28, 2004, 12:03:21 PM »
SlipperySlobe, I don't think THAT many Evangelical Christians are single-issue voters (though I could be wrong).  They would definitely pick up more votes from that demographic, of course, but based on discussions I've had, most Evangelicals are also concerned with gay marriage, faith-based initiatives, school prayer, etc.  I think the Dems becoming more lenient on abortion only will sway some of them, but I doubt it's enough to swing a whole lot of them.

Buster is right about there being many anti-abortion Democrats.  The problem is perception.  I can't tell you how many people I spoke to during the campaign this year who thought that Kerry was in favor of legalized partial birth abortion in all cases.  (He says) he would have voted for the ban had there been an exception for the mother's health, I believe.  But the media seems so dead set on condensing everything to sound bites and pitting pro-this vs. anti-that that it perverts the voter education process.

(Note: I think Kerry was a tool and I'm not blaming his loss on the media - just using an example).

The ZAPINATOR

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Re: Democrats Weigh De-emphasizing Abortion as an Issue
« Reply #8 on: December 28, 2004, 12:10:00 PM »
The majority of the country, though, is "pro-choice", depending on your definition. (The majority of the country is also perfectly comfortable with limiting abortions through such measures as requiring parental notification, for example.) What people are uncomfortable with in the way you suggested, I think, is abortion itself as opposed to its legality.

Really, as pro-choice goes, there are a lot of people such as myself who consider ourselves pro-life, yet who favor legal abortion in special cases.  So this inflates the pro-choice numbers artificially.  Of course I think there are situations where it is unavoidable... I just don't think it should be on demand.  Does that make me pro-choice?  Probably on paper, when a pollster asks me "do you believe that any abortion should be legal?".  Now, I think everyone here would consider me pro-life; I certainly consider myself to be.  But for the purposes of polling, I'd probably come across as leaning moderate, somewhat pro-choice.

I know you make a valid point.  But it does depend, as you said, on how pro-choice is defined.  I think that on a fundamental level of principle, this country is pretty staunchly pro-life, with a sizable pro-choice contingency.  When it comes to exceptions and such, when abortion needs to be legal in special cases, I think you'll find that these same basically pro-life people have a "nuanced" position on it (all but the most extreme people).  Nobody wants to see a woman die just because she was pregnant (life of the mother), and nobody wants to see young girls raped by their uncles bleeding to death with coathangers in dark alleys.  Yet, there's certainly the overall point, which is not overcome by the exceptions: those same people are against abortion on demand, and especially against it when the statistics show (as they do) that the privilege is being grossly abused.

There are grey areas in abortion, like everything, which would make me somewhat pro-choice on paper.  Does that mean I'd vote for a Democrat who wants to protect the privilege of abortion on demand?  Not so much.  

ZAP

buster

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Re: Democrats Weigh De-emphasizing Abortion as an Issue
« Reply #9 on: December 28, 2004, 12:21:08 PM »
fair enough

I think, however, that you may overestimate the number of people who truly support "abortion-on-demand". What I mean to say is that I suspect that the "mainstream" Democratic voter's position is closer to yours than it is to that of the most ardent abortion-on-demand-ist (for lack of a better term).

Anyway, it certainly does boil down to definitions, which is precisely the problem. Instead of discussing the desirability of specific policies we get collectively bogged down in the sound-bite game to which IrishGuyJay referred.


Really, as pro-choice goes, there are a lot of people such as myself who consider ourselves pro-life, yet who favor legal abortion in special cases.  So this inflates the pro-choice numbers artificially....