This morning, Jamelle Bouie at The Plum Line blog wrote, GOP Isolated on Abortion, Too. It notes that overall, Republican voters are pro-choice, but the party is aggressively anti-choice. The newest NBC/Wall Street Journal poll (PDF) shows that 70% of the nation support upholding Roe vs. Wade. In all, 89% of Americans believe that abortion should be legal in at least some circumstances. (But read my article about people who believe in “exceptions,” On Hating Women.)
So what’s going on here? Democratic voters overwhelmingly support abortion rights. Republican voters support them, but are more divided. Why is the Republican Party so out of touch with their own voters?
You could ask the same question of the Republicans about guns. The vast majority of Republican voters are for universal background checks. The vast majority of NRA members are for universal background checks. But the Republican Party and the NRA itself? Not so much.
Bouie thinks what is really going on is that the Republican base is keeping their elected officials more conservative than the Republican voters as a whole. There is much to this, but I don’t think it is the heart of the matter. The majority of voters can be easily manipulated. So it is one thing for people to calmly be asked if they think women should be allowed the right to abortion. It is quite another to ask them if they want to vote for that guy who is in favor of killing babies! The same goes for guns: there is a big difference between universal background checks and, Obama is taking your guns away!
In the halls of Congress, the Republican constituency is not really the people who voted for them. (And yes, the same thing can be said to a lesser degree about the Democrats.) Their real constituency is big business. So the Republicans get the prols to vote on guns and fetuses. And understand: these people get a return on their investments—just look at the Supreme Court! But to the Republican elite, this doesn’t matter except that it allows them to stay in power. They’re primary concern is to continue to funnel welfare checks to the richest people in the country.
Whitecat over at the Denver Post put this up: