Gaski: The GOP and the Abortion Trap

January 29, 2024

by John Gaski, Ph.D. 

Clearly, the Republicans need emergency repositioning guidance on the third-rail issue of abortion to neutralize or at least minimize its electoral damage. This is not a “re-branding” matter; nearly all media talking heads and editorial writers misuse that term when they mean repositioning. Bad strategic positioning does cause brand perception problems, but the positioning is the underlying fault. So, here is a primer on what Republicans can do through messaging to prevent getting swamped again, especially in 2024, by the single-issue pro-abortion vote — primarily that of American women.

● Some say Republicans should pivot to a posture of the “party of women,” mothers in particular. Fine, but this gambit might be worth only a few public opinion basis points because those with true, wholesome devotion to women and mothers already tend to be Republicans or conservatives. The Repubs need much stronger ammo.

● Therefore, emphasize in public communication that the Republicans, not Democrats, occupy the mainstream position philosophically on abortion by U.S. and world standards, e.g., a window of 15 weeks or so along with rape/incest/life-of-mother exceptions. (So, how can Repubs have been losing on the issue if they align so well with the American public? The pro-abort side is far more motivated and intense, especially now with the overturn of Roe vs. Wade. The leftward-biased media have also played a role.)

● This moderate extant Republican positioning can be driven home Socratically by allowing the relevant audience to reach the same conclusion on their own (ostensibly) via leading questions, such as: “How about if we adopt the permissive abortion policies of the Western European countries, or Russia? Would that be OK?” Then hit the doubters with the surprise gut-punchline that the United States already has much looser abortion laws than most of those nations!

● Help the pro-abortion female populace to see that the Democrats are insulting their intelligence with a campaign of phony fear. The Dems, in fact, have been terrorizing American women for decades over abortion. To rebut, remind abortophiles that the issue is already dead at the federal level because of the Dobbs decision — thus should not even be a factor in a presidential campaign. Specifically, it would be nigh impossible for a Republican U.S. president to get 60 Senate votes to pass an abortion restriction of any kind (because the Democrats accept no less than unrestricted abortion access up to, and beyond, the time of birth).

● Again for communication impact, try something like this: “Post-Dobbs, there actually is an increase in the number of abortions in the U.S. Any woman in this country can now obtain an abortion at any time of gestation, although some would have to travel to a no-restriction state. Is that not enough for you? It is time for you ‘pro-choice’ women to celebrate your victory on the issue and collect your chips. The Dems are trying to propagandize and manipulate you into a misunderstanding.” (No one likes to be manipulated into misunderstanding.)

● Then, to punctuate the political spin, this poignant device could yield bonus impact: “Cheer up, ladies. You and your daughters can now kill as many of your unborn babies as you want. Isn’t that the outcome you always sought? (And when we refer to your daughters, we mean only the ones you, yourselves, did not murder by having them aborted.)”

What, you don’t like this one? A violation of “how to win friends and influence people”? Maybe, but more a matter of tough love and effective irony, and also a contrast with how Democrats talk down to women. Of course, when brainstorming for new insights, not every idea is a sure winner, but that is the primitive stage of strategic revision Republicans are in—whether they realize it or not. I urge readers to improve on my offerings, but drastic new language does appear necessary.

Actually, the sensible dual-track subtext message for this last entry is: 1) Your side has won, the national issue is largely gone, and no longer is there reason to vote against Republicans on a pro-abortion basis; 2) maybe it is your abortion position that has been too extreme all along, and the Repubs are the moderate and mainstream side. (Note: None of these tactical suggestions implies lessened opposition to the abortion holocaust. They merely constitute a parallel campaign of diversionary public relations cover.)

Overall, it is past time for radically revised Republican and conservative rhetoric on the abortion controversy. The author invites even more novel input. Indeed, the present trajectory will not only continue to fail politically but will literally doom our nation. How? One more national-level win by the Democrats to consolidate their oppressive power means a permanent leftist dictatorship imposed on the United States, especially with millions more Dem voters surging into the country illegally. (Recall the nature of every leftist dictatorship in world history.) Need evidence to support this grim forecast? Just look at the rapid progress toward repression and national destruction over the last three years. Heaven help our land. The preceding may be some of the human-level help it also needs, and is proffered in that spirit. 

John Gaski, Ph.D., an adjunct scholar of the Indiana Policy Review Foundation, is a long-time registered Democrat and long-time registered Republican — sequentially and intermittently, not simultaneously ― which should dispatch any suspicion of partisanship. Dr. Gaski is author of The Language of Branding (Nova Science, 2011). His primary research specialization is social and political power and conflict.


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