Friday, October 14, 2016

Realignment for Pro-Life Victory

Foreword: I do not write today to change how you will vote on November 8. Go for it. Vote your conscience. God bless you. If you think you can't read this without interpreting it as voting advice, then please stop right here, bookmark the page, and come back to it November 9 if you don't drink a cup of hemlock that morning. It's already November 9 in my heart, so I write this entirely from that perspective.

I am pro-life.

That sentence has shaped my politics for my entire adult life, and I make no apologies for that. Other political questions are important, but this is the only political issue that kills the population of Elizabeth, New Jersey, every day (approximately 125,000 people). This is the only political issue that involves a taxpayer-funded organization butchering up people and selling their parts for experimentation. This is the political issue for which, when God's judgment falls upon our nation, we will have no choice but to acknowledge that it is just.

My pro-life convictions have shaped my politics, as I said above, for my entire adult life. The 2016 elections have changed that, if at all, only by intensifying it. I will be voting third-party this year, and I will be doing so not in spite of my pro-life convictions, but because of them. I write that not to change your vote but to explain mine.

My Objective

My objective is that abortion-on-demand be illegal in every corner of the United States of America unless the baby poses a biological threat to the mother's health. For me, what it means to be pro-life is that the reversal of Roe v Wade is only the start. After we set aside juridical fiction in favor of the Constitution, each state will be free to determine its own abortion law. I'm not satisfied with that. I want an amendment to the United States Constitution saying something to the effect of "No state shall make or enforce any law abridging the right of every human being from the moment of his or her conception to live."

Do you think that's crazy? Do you think I'm dreaming? The abolition of slavery was once such a dream, and now look where we are.

Part of why that goal may seem crazy to you is that in my lifetime we've elected Reagan, Bush, and Bush, who have in turn nominated several Supreme Court justices, but we are farther away from protecting the legal rights of the unborn today than we ever were before. Why is it that every election Democrats win seems to turn out to give more protection to the abortion lobby, while every election Republicans win seems to, at the very most, maintain the status quo? Some frustrated voters seem to think it is because Republican elected officials lack pluck, sagacity, drive, or (worst of all) sincerity when it comes to pro-life causes.

What they really lack, I think, is votes.

Republicans win the White House occasionally. The GOP sometimes controls the House, sometimes controls the Senate, sometimes controls both, sometimes controls neither. But when a Republican moves into 1600 Pennsylvania, only some of the votes that put him there were pro-life votes. Others are country-club Republican votes from the Chamber of Commerce wing of the GOP. When the GOP controls the Senate, it's always with razor-thin margins that count on people like the former Senator Olympia Snowe who are not pro-life. Some pro-life Republicans win in pro-choice districts by minimizing their pro-life stance, which makes it hard for them to take controversial pro-life stands once in office. A GOP majority doesn't always mean a pro-life majority. We don't make forward progress primarily because we don't have the votes at the federal level.

OK. Up to this point, you probably already knew all of that. But here's something maybe you didn't know: One reason we don't have enough votes is because in every election a number of pro-life votes go to the Democrats (a YUGE number this year). The best hope for the pro-life movement to go forward is to get all of the pro-life people in the United States of America together on the same page so that the true strength of our movement will be counted.

Now, as I said before, my pro-life convictions shape my politics. This is the number-one priority for me. I'm prepared to put every other single last thing aside in order to win on this issue. That's why it breaks my heart so much to see the pro-life movement being thrown into the trash in favor of building a wall on the Mexican border. Here's how that's happening.

Let's Plug the Leak

The latest data from Lifeway Research shows that fewer than half of those Americans who hold Evangelical beliefs will actually vote for Donald Trump. A large percentage of this voting bloc will hold pro-life convictions, even though only 4% list abortion as the top factor driving their votes (Note: I realize that another sizable contingent of the pro-life movement is Roman Catholic). It's safe to say that the vast preponderance of these Evangelical Christians hold stronger pro-life convictions than does Donald Trump. The low prioritization of pro-life convictions among the electorate may reflect the fact that neither of the candidates care about protecting unborn life, anyway. It's hard to tell a pollster that pro-life convictions were the primary factor shaping your vote when there are no pro-life candidates on the ballot.

I know, I know, at this highly polarized moment someone is going to want to come on here and say how fervently pro-life Donald Trump is and accuse me of being misinformed. Before you do that, just go read his acceptance speech. Go read his stump speech. Go read his Twitter account. I know people with laryngectomies who are more vocally pro--life than Donald Trump is. The point here is not whether you think he can be pressured into acting pro-life, and I'm not trying to change your vote. I'm simply trying to point out that even if you think Donald Trump is inwardly pro-life, you've got to admit that he hasn't campaign on the basis of that hardly at all (if any).

That is a big reason why he is getting so shockingly few Evangelical votes.

Now, 15% of those Evangelical voters remain undecided, and it is possible that those voters will break more for Donald Trump than for any other option in the end, but still, if this poll is accurate, millions upon millions of pro-life votes will go to Hillary Clinton in this election cycle. Why is that? We're leaking pro-life votes to the pro-death, pro-abortion, pro-carve-em-up-and-sell-their-parts Democrats. Where is that leak, and how do we plug it?

The Lifeway survey has the answer for us.

The GOP has managed to consolidate only one portion of the Evangelical vote—the WHITE Evangelical vote. Ethnic Evangelicals agree with you about Jesus, agree with you about the Bible, agree with you about the sanctity of life, agree with you about the Golden Rule, and agree with you about serving the widow and the orphan. The broader Evangelical vote is the voting bloc most reachable on the pro-life question, and the major pro-life strategy up to this point (support the GOP above all else) has been utterly unable to unite the pro-life movement among Evangelicals. Why could that be?

In the Donald Trump candidacy, we get a chance to see the reason why. Black people are not going to vote for Donald Trump. Hispanic voters are not going to vote for Donald Trump. The George W Bush presidency was an exercise in trying to draw Black and Latino voters into the GOP and largely failing; The Donald Trump candidacy is an exercise in trying to drive Black and Latino voters out of the GOP and largely succeeding.

But consider for a moment what it would mean to have all of these Evangelical voters united in the support of life. It would mean comfortable pro-life margins in both houses of Congress. It would mean a greater moral authority behind the pro-life movement. It would mean a softening of the Democratic Party's hardline advocacy of abortion as they panic over losing a once-reliable base (if Black Evangelicals were to bolt from the Democratic Party in favor of Life, they would become more politically powerful than they have ever been in the history of this nation). Remember, we're talking about doubling the pro-life vote, here. That's major.

If you are aware of these numbers and aren't doing anything to try to plug this leak and take these Evangelical pro-life voters away from the pro-death Democratic Party, I question how serious you are about ending the Holocaust of abortion.

A Pro-Life Realignment

As I said above, when I say I'm pro-life, I mean that I'm willing to set aside my political opinions about a wide variety of other matters in order to advance the pro-life movement. I think it is that important. What is it going to take?

This much is clear: It's going to take telling anti-minority elements in the GOP to take a hike. It's going to take our repudiating forcefully any political candidates or leaders who cultivate anti-minority sentiments in this nation. Now, those are the right things to do anyway, but they're all the more important because those people are utterly responsible for giving away half of the Evangelical vote to pro-abortion candidates like Hillary Clinton.

Whatever it takes, I'm prepared to do it. That's how pro-life I am.

Ann Coulter has a different set of priorities. In this election cycle, she infamously tweeted: "I don't care if Donald Trump wants to perform abortions in the White House after [his] immigration policy paper." For Ann Coulter, if saving the lives of 30 million babies every year is of any importance at all, it's a whole lot less important than dragging Abuelita out of her house in the middle of the night and shipping her off to Mexico in chains. It's a whole lot less important than sending the Green Berets to locate the five-year-old girl whose dad signed up with ISIS, line her up against a wall, and execute her. The Green Berets would object to such a war crime, because they are men of honor, but Trump guaranteed us that he would force them to do it over their objections (and then, of course, in Trumpian style, flip-flopped and issued a maybe-retraction). For the Coulters and Trumps, everything else is more important than the pro-life cause. For me, nothing is more important.

Perhaps you'll disagree with some of what I have written. Politics are good for finding where people disagree. But before I leave you, I just want to ask you to do this: After you've read the final words of this essay and after you've responded in whatever way you plan to respond, I want you to look back up at those charts, realize that the pro-life movement has been rendered ineffective in this election and torn asunder, and ask yourself whether you're willing just to accept that or whether you're prepared to take action to fix that problem. If you want to get angry at the Evangelicals who canceled out your vote, realize that they're just as angry at you, and that glaring at one another in anger is not going to save a single baby from the clutches of the abortionist.

For victory to come to the pro-life movement, a political realignment must occur in our national politics. I'd prefer for that realignment to take the form of a movement toward the Republican Party. The present state of the GOP is obviously (and this is math, not opinion) taking us in the opposite direction. A major reorientation of the Republican Party to make it more friendly to Black, Latino, and Asian Evangelical pro-life constituencies is one good way that this could move forward. As I said, that's what I'd prefer.

Or, that realignment could occur somewhere else. It is not possible in the Democratic Party. You'd be more likely to birth a pro-life movement in the executive suite at Planned Parenthood than at the DNC national headquarters. Well, actually, those are pretty much the same thing, so…. Anyway, no pro-life movement can possibly take place within the confines of the Democratic Party. Perhaps it will require the ascendancy of an issue-oriented third party like the Prohibition Party of the late 1800s and early 1900s (OK, actually, it still exists, but that was its heyday). The Prohibition Party accomplished Prohibition without ever winning the White House. That's right: They lost every Presidential election (Herbert Hoover doesn't count) and yet not a single vote for the Prohibition Party was wasted, since it entirely accomplished its objective. One way that a third party can be effective is by the way that its existence forces the other two political parties to change.

Although I'd prefer that the GOP be the party to unite all pro-life Americans, I'm prepared to align with whatever form this movement takes.


If you're planning to overturn Roe v Wade without the help of anybody but white people, how's that working for you? If you're planning to get Black, White, Latino, and Asian pro-life Evangelicals together behind Donald Trump to overturn Roe v Wade, let me know how that turns out. But if, on the other hand, you're serious about ending the horrors of abortion—serious enough to look at the numbers and take action—then it is time to contemplate what we're going to change on November 9 so that things turn out differently—better—next time.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Let's Not Miss the Most Important Point about Donald Trump's Scandalous Week

Nobody entered this week thinking that Donald Trump was sexually moral at all. The crudity and foulness of his banter about despoiling women bring absolutely no new information to the table about how Donald Trump treats women or treats his own body. These are things that we all already knew long ago.

And yet, from my friends who plan to vote for Trump, most of whom seem a little defensive tonight, I read rebuttals along the lines of "I'm thankful that my past talk about women isn't being played back" or "What about grace and forgiveness?" or even "I'm not voting for a pastor-in-chief." But—and I write this earnestly and cordially—I think you're missing the most important point.

To make my point, permit me to summarize what is, in my opinion, the best argument that can be made to appeal to people to vote for Donald Trump:

  1. Hillary Clinton will most certainly make bad Supreme Court appointments. This is an indisputable point. She promises to do so. We should take her at her word.

  2. Donald Trump promises that, if elected, he will make very good Supreme Court appointments. This also, by the way, is an indisputable point. He promises to do so. But here's the question: Should we take Donald Trump at his word?

The entire case in favor of voting for Donald Trump comes down to whether we can and should trust a promise that he has made about Supreme Court appointments. And it is at precisely this point that "character matters." What do the events of the past week tell us about how much trust we should put in Donald Trump's promises?

One reason that several of my friends have given for trusting Trump's promises is that Vice President Mike Pence (if elected) will make sure that President Donald Trump (if elected) will do the right thing in appointing Supreme Court justices. This week has given us reason to doubt that promise because it has shown us how little respect Donald Trump has for Mike Pence. We already knew that Donald Trump wasn't enthusiastic in selecting Pence, and this week we watched as Donald Trump reacted to Mike Pence's masterful debate performance first with jealousy and then with self-serving petulance. Come face-to-face with the facts: Donald Trump doesn't view Mike Pence as a trusted advisor. Trump doesn't respect Pence. Trump sees Pence as, at best, a competitor for the limelight. Notions that a successful Trump will hand over the reins on his most lasting and consequential decisions to Vice President Pence are the stuff of fantasy.

Then came two days of released recordings in which Donald Trump has talked about his sex life. Donald Trump talks about his sex life a lot—or, at least, he used to talk about his sex life a lot, before he commenced his presidential run. That he beds women left-and-right is a point of great personal pride for Donald Trump, and a shelter to which he runs when he feels insecure (see the anecdote at the beginning of this article, for example).

Donald Trump doesn't just sleep around; this is a part of his life about which he is particularly proud of himself.

And in this week's released recordings, we hear Donald Trump talk about the lengths to which he went in his attempts to seduce a married woman to get her to commit adultery with him. He knew she was married. She knew she was married. He himself was married at the time. He took her to shop for furniture. He "moved on her very heavily."

This is what Donald Trump brags about doing. He sees this as his skill set.

Now set aside for a moment that this story was about sex. We've had some good presidents in our nation's history who were sexually immoral before, during, and after their presidencies. Put the sex part of it completely away, and what do you have? Donald Trump prides himself in his ability to convince people to do things that are contrary to their values, that break commitments that they have made, and that obligate him not one bit.

I submit to you that Donald Trump, who has previously been very clearly on the record in support of Planned Parenthood, who has previously been very clearly on the record in support of liberal Supreme Court justices, who has previously been very clearly on the record in support of same-sex marriage and men in the women's restrooms and a whole host of other positions that generally have been contrary to what you, my Donald Trump supporting friends, have always believed—I submit to you that Donald Trump is at this moment "[moving] on" YOU "very heavily."

THAT is the most important revelation about Donald Trump's character from this week. Read a page from the Donald Trump playbook and recognize what he is doing to you. He's trying to woo YOU, now, my Evangelical friends! He's making appealing promises to you. He knows what matters to you. He tells you what you want to hear. He's trying very hard to seal the deal. You are being seduced.

But Even If That's True…

"But even if that is true," perhaps someone will reply, "don't we STILL have to support Donald Trump so we can stop Hillary Clinton?"

No. We don't. People make that calculation, from what I can see, primarily when they add up the costs of a Clinton presidency without adding up any of the costs that come along with supporting Donald Trump. But supporting Donald Trump costs us some things. Here are a few:

  1. It has already cost us the presidency. Once Trump became the nominee, "President Hillary Clinton" became inevitable. Inevitable. Go to this link and check out the little graph under the heading "RCP Electoral Spread." In Hillary Clinton's best weeks and worst weeks, in Donald Trump's worst weeks and least-worst weeks, there has never yet been a single moment in this election in which Hillary Clinton has not been ahead of Donald Trump in the projected Electoral College result. Trump started behind, ran behind the whole way, and will finish even behinder.

    Let this sink in: On his best weeks, your guy has never been winning. Not for a single, solitary second.

    The one wacky conspiracy theory in this whole election that actually makes sense to me is the idea that Donald Trump has been a Hillary Clinton plant from the get-go. Few are the people I can imagine losing to Hillary Clinton in this election. Donald Trump is one of them.

    Supporting Donald Trump is something you have to do to keep Hillary Clinton from winning the presidency in the same way that standing on the beaches of South Carolina and blowing really hard out to sea is something you had to do to keep Hurricane Matthew from making landfall.

  2. Congratulations! You've lost the Senate for us, too! As Donald Trump's presidential campaign crashes and burns, the casualties include all of those senatorial candidates who knew that they shouldn't endorse Donald Trump and didn't want to endorse Donald Trump but were forced to do so by people who demanded "party loyalty" and made incendiary threats. And as of today, Democrats feel pretty confident that they're going to take back the United States Senate.

    Don't let the significance of this slip by you. We faced the frightening prospect of Hillary Clinton making Supreme Court nominations. We reacted to that prospect out of fear. What has that gotten us? It has gotten us Hillary Clinton making Supreme Court nominations now to be confirmed by a Senate controlled by Democrats. We acted as though with Hillary Clinton running for the Presidency we had nothing to lose. As it turns out, we had quite a bit to lose. We're learning that lesson because we're losing those things now. And if we manage not to lose the Senate, the only way we will hold onto it is if our senatorial candidates can successfully denounce Donald Trump and distance themselves from him.

    Democrats, by the way, are now speaking openly about trying to take the House of Representatives, too. This is just a train wreck.

  3. The GOP is losing every numerically-growing demographic in our electorate, too. This week I've read this blog post from Dwight McKissic. Now, I'll be 100% forthright here—Dwight and I are on different pages politically, and he has done something I could never do: publicly pledged his vote to Hillary Clinton. I'm, I think, quite a bit more of a Republican than Dwight is. But here's the thing:

    The GOP can't win without winning over some people who are less of a Republican than I am. Otherwise, the numbers just do not add up. With Dwight you've got a man who has been a Republican-voting black preacher. Do you realize how much courage that takes? Do you realize how rare that makes him? The numerical viability of social conservatism depends upon making men like Dwight less rare, not more rare. Donald Trump has moved the demographics of the Republican Party in the wrong direction.

    What's more, Dwight McKissic is, by several orders of magnitude, more my brother than is Donald Trump. Dwight and I are both believers. Dwight and I are both pro-life. Dwight and I are both pro-natural-marriage. Dwight and I are both pro-religious-liberty. Donald Trump never even claimed to be any of those things until he "moved on [Evangelicals] heavily." I know for a fact that Dwight has these convictions; I'm pretty sure that Donald Trump has none of them. If you force me to decide whether I am more at home with the politics of Dwight McKissic or the politics of Donald Trump, I'm going to choose Dwight McKissic every time.

    And Dwight is now a Democrat.

    But I don't think Dwight has to be a Democrat. I think a very strong political party could be formed if someone were to unite Evangelicals Black and White with Hispanic Roman Catholics and other elements of the American electorate who are basically pro-family, pro-life, and pro-natural-marriage. In fact, some significant portion of other immigrant populations from regions of the world that are more traditional in their moral values could also become loyal voting blocs for such a political party.

    The GOP's chances of ever being that political party go down with every passing day that the party supports Donald Trump. Donald Trump could never be a part of any political party even remotely like that. Donald Trump's voting bloc doesn't have children above the replacement rate. When you pledge your vote to Donald Trump, defend the bile that he spews forth, and repeat his talking points, you make it harder for the GOP ever to do what it must do to survive.

    There are, I have discovered by briefly coming onto the radar screen of some of the darker neighborhoods of Twitter, some people who would rather be in a losing political party gathered around racial purity than in a winning political party gathered around ideological conviction. I know that you, my friends, are not those people (or else we wouldn't be friends). But I think that you're being seduced into just that kind of a political party, and I hope that you'll stop, look around, and not be fooled.

Donald Trump says of his seductive efforts, "When you're a star they let you do it. You can do anything—whatever you want." Trump has certainly turned on his star-power in his efforts to seduce Evangelicals. Will we let him do it? Can he do anything—whatever he wants—and still count on our political support?

Well, not me. Never me. #NeverTrump.