In your view is the fact that Rudy has come this far a marker of ideological erosion in the Republican Party’s predominately social conservatism?
Or is “Rudy” merely happenstance, an individual, statistical artifact of the Darwinian processes of
politics? That is, there being no larger significance to his candidacy?
There have always been a substantial number of Republican primary voters who are pro-choice, and there have always been a substantial number of Republican primary voters who are pro-life but do not consider abortion one of their top issues. So I think it was always possible, under the right circumstances, for a pro-choice candidate to do well in the Republican primaries. (If Colin Powell had run in 1995-96, for example, he would have done well and may have won.)
But the actual pro-choice candidates who ran were duds. Either they were unimpressive, or they tried to make their pro-choice position the basis of their run. Giuliani is impressive in many respects, he has not tried to play up his support for legal abortion, and he benefits from a crowded field. If he wins, I think it will cause the party to become less pro-life; but if he wins, it won’t be because the party has become less pro-life.