One of the favorite tactics for both major political parties is to paint opposing candidates as extremists. This is particularly true when it comes to presidential candidates; if you don’t recall, every Republican candidate since Ronald Reagan has been painted as a bigot by Democrats. But whether or not the people fall for the extremism play is usually based, at least to some degree, on reality.
That may not be the case in the 2020 election as both media and the expressions of the people seem to be favoring extremism as a reality rather than just a label. The President is a far-right bigot in the eyes of Democrats while every Democratic candidate (with the possible exception of Joe Biden) is a far-left socialist in the eyes of Republicans. Meanwhile, mainstream media is engaged in confirmation bias to appease their audiences. One need only look at coverage of the Mueller report to see how this is unmistakably true.
On the issue of abortion, the Democratic candidates have made no attempts to appeal to the middle. As each is either asked for or volunteers their perspective on abortion, invariably they are pushing no restrictions whatsoever. This is a far cry from the days when the Clintons thought abortions should be safe, legal, and rare. Today, abortions are to be embraced as far as Democrats are concerned, and any attempt to push for adoption or to fight for the rights of the child in the womb is considered bigoted. One by one, every Democratic candidate is adopting abortion extremism as their stated stance.
But President Trump did something yesterday that makes sense from a political perspective. I may disagree with his stance, but it’s a winning strategy for his reelection campaign. He said he is pro-life with exceptions for rape, incest, and the life of the mother. This stance was once considered to be an extreme position for the right, but with the Alabama abortion bill removing exceptions for rape and incest, the President has the luxury of being closer to the middle than any of his opponents (again, with the possible exception of Biden – we’ll find out soon enough).
Thankfully, the President of the United States has very little they can do when it comes to abortion other than pick pro-life judges and act as the leader of their party. Executive orders on abortion would be certainly struck down regardless of what they say, so it comes down to ideological purity. With Democrats taking on abortion-on-demand as their stated radical stance, it’s hard to argue that the President is the extremist when even he doesn’t directly support the Alabama bill. He didn’t call it out, but by stating his personal position he established that he’s not as far to the right as the Democrats are to the left.
Today, the Democrats must embrace their primary voters, many of whom are the radical progressives “shouting their abortions” and pushing for a socialistic Dystopian future for America. Meanwhile, the President has the luxury of being more pragmatic with his approach since he’s already in general election mode. He doesn’t need to appeal to his base very much because they either stand behind him out of adoration or they fear the Democrats too much to consider going against him. Even most #NeverTrumpers are having a hard time reconciling their hatred for the President with the current batch of hardline hyper-leftists vying for the Democratic nomination.
We can argue the nuances of being pro-life and having exceptions, but as long as the Democrats are all onboard for on-demand abortions, the President’s less extreme stance on abortion will help him next November.