538 on Anti-Abortion Efforts

Their headline: “Here’s Why The Anti-Abortion Movement Is Escalating.” The article then describes in detail specific restrictions in various states. This is the most extensive catalogue of such changes I have seen. But as far as explaining “why” such laws are escalating, 538 is missing the forest for the trees.

These are efforts to appeal to evangelical leaders and their flocks, yet the reporter completely ignores this. Trump and the Republicans are deeply dependent on the evangelical vote, and abortion is the most important wedge issue for evangelicals today. Nearly a century ago, alcohol – demon rum – occupied the same position for their fundamentalist ancestors. This led to Prohibition, as politicians catered to their wishes while passing tariffs and other laws to serve big business.

Abortion is the same type of issue. Evangelicals and Fundies need something to attack. It can be evolution, alcohol, Hollywood, climate change, or other issues that have little or nothing to do with what Jesus preached. Evangelicals and Fundies are not driven by Jesus’ central message to love your neighbor as yourself. They need something to hate. Today, abortion is their key issue.

By passing various anti-abortion laws, Trump and the Republicans solidify their hold on the evangelical vote. Furthermore, they are buying these votes very cheaply, since the politicians don’t really care about these issues. Not very long ago, Trump was all for women’s right to choose, and almost certainly funded abortions that he and his kids were personally involved in.

As far as the Republican leadership is concerned, the key issue is delivering value to their sponsors – big business and the rich. By passing anti-abortion bills, they gain the support of the evangelicals, which they need to pass tax bills, deregulation, subsidies for the coal industry, etc. Most evangelicals oppose tax cuts for the rich, but they vote how their leaders tell them to, and their leaders, like Franklin Graham and Jerry Falwell, are all for tax cuts for the rich. By delivering red meat to the evangelicals, Republicans can better serve Mammon. That’s the real story, but 538 gets lost in the details.


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