The following comes from a March 21 Washington Post article by Charles Camosy:
Things don’t look good for the GOP’s future. Yet if Democrats act strategically, they can pick up some of the crumbling pieces of the GOP’s coalition, starting with antiabortion citizens. These voters began joining the Republican coalition after the 1979 formation of the “Moral Majority” group, and as of 2012 made up two-thirds of the Republican base. If Donald Trump does wind up storming the party, his shaky record and flippancy on abortion will leave these longtime GOP voters in a precarious position.
Many pro-lifers were already frustrated with a party that merely goes through the motions and lacks a coherent plan when it comes to protecting prenatal children from violence. After last year’s conservative-led effort to defund Planned Parenthood failed, Rev. Patrick Mahoney, director of the pro-life Christian Defense Coalition, charged Republican congressional leadership with the “betrayal” of “the pro-life community that helped elect them”; and when Republicans yet again failed to pass antiabortion legislation last year, conservative commentator Erik Erickson declared that “the pro-life movement must stop being whores of the Republican party.”
Democrats can make a home for these stranded voters. Opening a big tent to pro-lifers would not only offer a hospitable climate for Democrats who value a “whole life” ethic, which weaves together common Democratic concerns like care for the impoverished and elderly with an equal interest in the unborn; it would also put them in a good position to win the next generation. Millennials and Latinos, after all, are trending more antiabortion than any other young generation in recent U.S. history. Only 37 percent of young people think that abortion is morally acceptable — while 54 percent of Latinos think abortion should be illegal in all or most cases.
Recent historical research on the progressive roots of the pro-life movement in the United States suggests a Democratic coalition with space for pro-lifers wouldn’t be a novel phenomenon. As Kristen Day, president of Democrats for Life, reminds us: In 1976 there were an astonishing 125 antiabortion Democrats in Congress. Today there are three. Jim Oberstar, who was a Minnesota congressman, used to say that pro-lifers didn’t stop sending people to Congress, but rather “they just stopped sending Democrats.”
And, because roughly 20 million Democrats identify as antiabortion, it’s possible that inviting antiabortion Dems back into the fold could also reinforce the party’s numbers by heralding the return of the so-called missing pro-life Democrats, along with current Republican voters who might cross party lines.
Several new phenomena are unfolding in U.S. politics, and if Democrats hope to avoid further losses in uncertain times, they must return to Howard Dean’s 50 state strategy and run the best person to fit the district, which in many locales means antiabortion Democrats. Given the crumbling of the GOP coalition, the voters are there for the taking.