Obama, McCain and abortion

Analysts: Will the issue help each reach his base -- but also alienate the middle?

By Lynn Harris
May 28, 2008 6:00PM (UTC)
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Reuters today engages in a bit of campaign game theory, positing that while likely opponents John McCain and Barack Obama "must be careful" with the still-hot potato of abortion rights, both "may need the issue to stir their party's bases."

For McCain, his "unflinching opposition to abortion rights" (Told ya!) may be the "ace up his sleeve in his bid to woo disgruntled conservative Christians."


Surveys by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life have found that among white evangelicals ages 18 to 29, 70 percent (versus 55 percent of their elders) support making it more difficult for women to get abortions. (So far, so good.)

But! "But his trump card with evangelicals could be a joker [block that metaphor!] if he plays it badly in his bid to woo centrists and independents," notes Reuters. Get carried away, and the center figures out that the man behind the curtain is no "moderate" at all.

Does that help Obama? Sure. It's one way to lure the "angry army," ha ha, of female Clinton supporters.


But! Not all of them are not supporters of abortion rights. Double but! They may -- especially given their initial support for Clinton -- be more focused on the economy and healthcare in general.

Analysts suggest that both sides could wrap the issue into a conversation about the Five Horsemen of the Apocalypse Supreme Court.

Well, this analyst also thinks Obama could really [unblock that metaphor!] up the ante by expanding the conversation not only to the preventable causes of abortion -- this is where he has demonstrated appeal to abortion opponents -- but also to all of reproductive justice. Not only to avoid having to say "smashmortion" over and over but because that's what the issue is really about.


Now, is America actually ready to have a gray-area, beyond-pro-vs.-anti conversation about this issue? That's a whole different high-stakes game we'll have to see played out.

Lynn Harris

Award-winning journalist Lynn Harris is author of the comic novel "Death by Chick Lit" and co-creator of BreakupGirl.net. She also writes for the New York Times, Glamour, and many others.

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2008 Elections Abortion Barack Obama Broadsheet John Mccain R-ariz.