It’s difficult to determine who ended up as the biggest loser in yesterday’s special election in Georgia’s sixth district. The most obvious choice is Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff, who, despite raising an historic $23 million in campaign funding, could not bring home the victory for his party last night.
The Democratic party itself was another dud in Georgia’s sixth. After months of spinning this race as an entirely winnable one — and a referendum on the early days of Donald Trump’s presidency — the party and its advocates are once again being forced to reexamine their strategies and their appeal to American voters.
But one outside group was dealt a particularly heavy blow in Ossoff’s stunning defeat last night: Planned Parenthood. The group’s political-activism arm poured nearly $735,000 into the Democrat’s campaign, a contribution that was topped only by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
After the results came in last night, Planned Parenthood immediately shifted the narrative, attempting to justify its obscene spending levels by portraying the race as some of kind of moral victory. This claim is an exercise in blatant goalpost-moving. Progressives, Planned Parenthood included, insisted throughout that Ossoff had the potential to turn Georgia blue. A loss does no such thing.
Planned Parenthood’s activist rhetoric was clearly lacking as well. The abortion group was the campaign’s biggest purveyor of the fiction that Ossoff’s opponent, Republican Karen Handel, had intentionally deprived women of essential health care by severing ties with Planned Parenthood when she served as a vice president for the Susan G. Komen Foundation. But Handel wasn’t the instigator of that policy change; the foundation had considered it for over a decade, largely due to Komen donors’ concerns that their gifts might indirectly fund abortion.
By tacking a $735,000 price tag onto Ossoff’s failed effort, Planned Parenthood has revealed its own futility at influencing elections. That failure underscores another important point. Planned Parenthood consistently argues that, if it were to be stripped of its federal funding, millions of women would lose “vital health care.”
If money is really so tight over at Planned Parenthood — and if American women are truly in desperate need of life-saving care that they can’t get anywhere else — perhaps the abortion-rights group should think twice before dropping hundreds of thousands on insignificant political races, whether or not those races end in bitter defeat.