(LifeSiteNews) — The disappointing election results in Virginia last night show that Governor Glenn Youngkin’s decision to cast a moderate image on abortion does not work. Virginia Democrats regained the House of Delegates and maintained a majority in the Virginia Senate.
The results came after the Republican governor spent $1.4 million on ads that told voters he effectively supported 97% of abortions and sought only a minimal 15-week limit. The ad explicitly argued he did not want a broader prohibition on abortion.
But, of course, the ad and the messaging around his position failed – voters who support abortion were going to vote for pro-abortion Democrats all along. And pro-life voters may have been dissuaded by Youngkin’s weak stance on abortion, which stood as a proxy for what Republicans would do if elected last night.
My former employer, for whom I ran election outreach in the 2019 Virginia elections, noted this as well.
“As we’ve seen in other Republican led states, like Florida, defending life is a winning issue – but only if you commit to the cause,” Kristan Hawkins stated on behalf of Students for Life Action. “The 15-week ‘moderate’ milestone that keeps being pushed forward has no appeal to the core Conservative, Republican voter that was needed to turn out to win tonight. Offering a position that allows more than 9 out of 10 abortions to our voting base and expecting them to show up for the half measure is nonsense.”
Conservative commentator Matt Walsh made a similar observation about the disappointing election results for the pro-life cause, including in Ohio, where a “right” to abortion was put into the state constitution. “The idea that conservatives should moderate on abortion is not some brilliant new insight,” The Daily Wire host wrote on X. “It’s the same thing the Republican Establishment has been saying my entire life. Just like my entire life the Republican Establishment has been losing pitifully, failing to lead, failing to move the ball, while blaming social conservatives for their own failures every step of the way.”
“A lot of you are falling for one of the Establishment’s oldest tricks,” he wrote.
The weak abortion stance also put pro-life Republicans in a bind – they might have wanted to run on a platform of protecting all preborn babies, but then the media could paint them as out of touch with their own governor. So, they would have to moderate their position, which would lose them pro-life voters and probably not win over pro-abortion voters.
As previously noted, the prohibition would save, at most, a few hundred babies a year from abortion. It also included rape, incest and “life of the mother” exceptions, a loophole that can be exploited to include basically any abortion. Abortion is the direct killing of an innocent preborn baby – a whole, distinct, living human being – in the womb and violates a human being’s fundamental right to life.
The Youngkin of 2023 forgot the lessons of his 2021 gubernatorial campaign, when the centrist country club Republican decided to lean into cultural issues such as parental rights and against transgenderism and he earned a surprise victory. He painted himself as a stark contrast to his opponent in 2021, who supported the LGBT agenda and opposed parental rights in education.
Fighting for a complete abortion ban is the moral stance, and that alone is a good enough reason.
But Youngkin’s proxy losses on Tuesday night show that supporting only minor limits is a political loser. Voters want bold leadership and bright lines, and Republicans should deliver that for them on the issue of abortion.