The Corner

Elections

Virginia Shows Conservatives Don’t Need to Shy away from Abortion

Democratic nominee for Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe looks on as he addresses supporters during his election-night party and rally in McLean, Va., November 2, 2021. (Leah Millis/Reuters)

I am regularly informed by liberal commentators that pro-life positioning is disastrous for Republican candidates. So it shouldn’t be overlooked that Terry McAuliffe not only leaned hard on the issue in Virginia — devoting as much TV time hitting Glenn Youngkin on the issue as he did any other — but ramped up ads focusing on abortion down the stretch. While the imperious tone and authoritarian school policies, an underperforming economy, and a bumbling president were probably the driving issues in the race, a CBS poll found that abortion was among the top factors for 58 percent of Virginia voters.

McAuliffe certainly thought that it mattered. His champions at the Washington Post, Paul Waldman and Greg Sargent, argued that the contest, on the heels of the Supreme Court taking on Texas’s pro-life law, was “our first big test of the new politics of abortion.” Well, a CNN exit poll found that while 86 percent of McAuliffe voters wanted abortion to be legal in all cases and 64 percent in most cases, 88 percent of Youngkin voters thought the procedure should be illegal in all cases and 84 percent in most cases. This mirrors other polling on abortion, which has long shown that while most don’t want to ban abortion outright, they don’t support the Left’s position that the procedure should be legal in all cases until crowning. There are strong moral and rational arguments to be made against that kind of barbarism. But, at the very least, McAuliffe and his allies continually amplified Youngkin’s position — opposition to abortion in all cases other rape, incest, and to save the life of the mother — and yet it didn’t seem to do any damage.

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