Instead of throwing every ounce of effort and a competitive amount of dollars into keeping the Wisconsin Supreme Court controlled by conservatives, the RNC, the messaging and fundraising arm of the Republican party, preoccupied itself with national issues and 2024 messaging. Then, Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel had the audacity to claim it was the Republican candidates’ fault for failing to adequately address abortion during his campaign.
“When you’re losing by 10 points, there is a messaging issue and abortion is still an issue,” McDaniel said on Fox News this week.
Up McDaniel’s Fox hit, the RNC was largely silent on the Wisconsin race. It was only after former state Supreme Court Justice Dan Kelly, a Republican, lost in a landslide to Judge “No Jail” Janet Protasiewic that McDaniel finally spoke up about the race.
“We can’t allow the Democrats to define Republicans and put millions of dollars up in lies, and you have it go unanswered. Because the lies become the truth if they go unanswered,” McDaniel explained. “We have to put the Democrats on the defense on this issue. Talk about the fact that they support gender selection abortions and due date abortions.”
McDaniel’s response isn’t just tone-deaf; it’s a poor attempt to explain why RNC support for the GOP candidate faltered during one of the most expensive and heated state supreme court races in history. Only using defensive talking points to address Democrats’ abortion lies severely undersells the resilience and efficacy of the pro-life movement and will only get Republicans so far.
As the chairwoman accurately noted at the conclusion of her interview, voters will keep abortion at the top of their polls for years to come.
“This is not an issue that’s going away for our party in a post-Dobbs world and we can’t put our head in the sand and think it’s going to, heading into 2024,” McDaniel said.
What she failed to address is that for the GOP to be successful in this endeavor, pantywaist Republicans’ noncommital approach to abortion must go.
If the RNC is serious about addressing abortion, it will stop complaining and blaming GOP losses on a lack of effective abortion messaging and start engaging voters with enticing and communicative education about pro-life policy.
The Supreme Court’s Dobbs v. Jackson decision changed the landscape of the abortion debate forever but that didn’t hinder the pro-life movement from keeping its messaging and legal resources fresh. Republicans, on the other hand, are still trying to dance around abortion instead of using the momentum of the end of Roe to advance pro-life priorities.
During the 2022 elections, many of them, like Mehmet Oz, tried to run away from communicating solid support for the pro-life agenda. He paid the price for his silence and other incompetencies with a big loss.
Republicans like McDaniel were made well aware that avoiding abortion during the midterm campaign cycle was a blunder when Kansans voted to reject a pro-life amendment to their state constitution the August before the election. It became even more clear when the red wave that so many GOP insiders inaccurately predicted turned into Republicans, many who took a non-stance on abortion, barely winning back the House.
Republican politicians who boldly went on offense by passing pro-life legislation and allying themselves with grassroots activists for the unborn, however, successfully warded off legal and political challenges and smears from the Biden administration and corrupt corporate media in the Fall of 2022. As a result, they were rewarded with double-digit victories.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, who signed protections for unborn children with detectable heartbeats into law in 2019, accrued 25.6 percent more of his state’s votes than his pro-abortion opponent. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, similarly, won his state by a whopping 19.4 percent mere months after he signed legislation outlawing abortions starting at 15 weeks gestation.
Just a year and a half after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed his state’s heartbeat abortion ban into law, he won reelection by 11 percent. With a 7.6 percent lead, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, who rubber-stamped a heartbeat law since his last election, kept his seat from preborn heartbeat denier Stacey Abrams.
If it wasn’t clear before, it is now. The best way for the GOP to harness pro-life momentum for future elections is to ask the D.C. outsiders doing pro-life work on the ground to help craft messaging.
Most Americans support publicly funding pregnancy centers. If Republicans consulted pregnancy centers about messaging, they would be better equipped to communicate the wide-ranging police solutions pro-lifers offer to a clearly receptive public. The organizations smeared by the corporate media and Democrats as “fake clinics” actually serve millions and save thousands of babies’ and mothers’ lives a year. Republicans automatically put themselves at a disadvantage if they fail to convey that.
Shortly after the 2022 election, Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America said in a statement that “The approach to winning on abortion in federal races, proven for a decade is this: state clearly the ambitious consensus pro-life position and contrast that with the extreme view of Democrat opponents.” Republicans and Republican strategizers who don’t take this advice to heart are fools.
Over and over, the propaganda press and their allies in the Democrat Party lie about the physical and emotional harms of abortion. They also lie about Republicans’ pro-life position to try to justify Democrats’ radical aim to legalize unregulated abortion through birth.
Republicans like McDaniel and even former president Donald Trump buy into these lies when they pretend that Republicans are incapable of skillfully handling the “abortion issue.”
American voters are on the side of limited abortions and funding pregnancy centers. If McDaniel, the RNC, and future Republican candidates are wise, they will harness this public support to fuel future GOP victories.