The big wild card issue heading into the 2020 election is abortion because of how radical Democrats have become on this issue.
Opposition to abortion is the issue that elicits the greatest voting passion for many Americans.
This is for good reason. The question of when life begins is of profound importance. To believe that a baby is alive and not worthy of protection is unconscionable. Life itself is the first of the inalienable rights articulated in the Declaration of Independence, and protecting life is not an insignificant step in providing the blessings of liberty to our posterity as enshrined in the Constitution.
For years, Democrats attempted to maintain the myth that life doesn't start until birth, which can be described as the Pete Buttigieg "breath" standard, although plenty of Democrats support going even farther to denying protection of life even after birth.
That myth was shattered by the widespread availability of ultrasounds. It is simply not possible to view a second-trimester ultrasound and not realize that it is a human life.
But even as it became increasingly obvious that unborn humans are alive to more and more Americans, Democrats staked out increasingly radical positions.
The "safe, legal, and rare" language that Democrats used in the '90s has given way to the current Democrat platform of abortion on demand up to and even after birth. Abortion is portrayed no longer as a tragic choice, but as something to be celebrated.
The only Democrat candidate still running who sanctions any restrictions on abortion is Tulsi Gabbard, who believes that it should be illegal in the third trimester.
Gabbard rolled the "safe, legal, and rare" language back out for third debate. Interestingly, Dr. Leana Wen, the recently fired president of Planned Parenthood, used that same language.
When even the former president of the nation's most evil organization calls out Democrat extremism, they have reached the point of complete spiritual bankruptcy. The party has become the spiritual progeny of tribal societies in the Bible that sacrificed their children to false gods. Wen was almost certainly fired for not being radical enough.
While I applaud Gabbard for trying to warn their fellow Democrats that their depravity is not likely to be rewarded at the ballot box, her "safe, legal, and rare" position is illogical. If abortion does not take a human life, why should it be rare? And if it does kill an innocent life, how can it be legal, let alone unrestricted?
Based on the "celebrate abortion" position of today's Democrat standard-bearers, one would think public opinion had shifted substantially in favor of abortion from when previous Democrats tried to triangulate the issue, pretending to personally be against abortion while gleefully nominating judges who opposed all restrictions on it.
But public opinion has actually moved toward the pro-life position, which is not surprising, considering that the public has a much clearer understanding of when life begins.
When Bill Clinton was elected while still treading carefully around this issue, support for abortion under all circumstances was around 34%. Today? It is at 25%. In 1992, 15% of people believed that abortion should be illegal in all circumstances. That number is around 21% today. If anything, these polls likely underestimate disgust for unrestricted abortion since they are inevitably taken and framed by liberals.
Democrat media mouthpieces understand this all too well. This is why there was no mention of abortion in the second Democratic primary debate and the moderators immediately pivoted away from the issue when Kamala Harris brought it up unprompted during the last debate. They could not risk losing control of the framing of the issue.
But, they also couldn't completely ignore the issue after the criticism from the second debate. So they carefully injected it deep in the debate, which was also likely a strategic choice to ensure that few people were still watching.
The candidates substitute benign phrases like "reproductive health care" for abortion, even as abortion is the very antithesis of health care, since one of the participants is always left with zero health.
When the moderators finally asked the question, they treated it like handling a two-headed shark, because they knew it was dangerous. They asked, "As president, how would you stop recent state laws that have banned abortion after six or eight weeks of pregnancy?" A far more useful question, although one that never will be asked by the dishonest media, would have been, "Do you favor any limitations on abortion at all?"
Gabbard did a public service by making it obvious that the answer for all the other abortion-enthusiasts on stage was a resounding no.
This position is beyond extreme. A baby can be born and survive around 21 or 22 weeks of pregnancy. Yet every Democrat on stage is cool with killing them long after this point.
In their descent into depravity, this has become the single most important issue to the Democratic Party. The proof is in the judges. The single biggest test the Democrats are promising to enforce on judges is support for abortion on demand. That the same activists who would ensure this position are happy to fully gut the Constitution is a bonus, but the core issue is always abortion. The issue is so important that the candidates are fantasizing about court-packing schemes.
Democrats have made this dangerous shift to satisfy their most strident pro-abortion zealots. They fear Planned Parenthood, which is at least partially a Democrat extortion racket that turns taxpayer dollars into contributions to elect pro-abortion Democrats. This year, they've pledged $45 million to the effort.
The good news is that pro-abortion groups are too obtuse to realize the damage they are doing to Democrats. NARAL Pro-Choice America announced that it will host a presidential forum on abortion in January in Iowa, which, while revolting, is great news for President Trump. The idea of the Democrat candidates standing on stage and shouting their unmitigated enthusiasm for killing unborn babies is one giant in-kind contribution to his re-election.
This issue is particularly dangerous when considering some of the minority voting blocs that the Democrats take for granted. If they lose even a small percentage of the votes they are counting on from these Americans, they will get wiped out.
In particular, many Hispanic Americans, particularly those who are Catholic, find abortion morally repugnant. Abortion has also been devastating to black Americans, with more than 19 million black babies aborted since the Roe v. Wade decision. This is not surprising, since abortion's evil intent was influenced by the eugenics movement and revolting racist Margaret Sanger, perhaps the one person whose monuments leftists have shown no interest in removing from the public square.
Republicans should not allow the media blackout on this issue to stand, which means they need to start using the tools available to them to effectively cut through the media to communicate Democrats' abortion radicalism, such as through use of social media and paid advertising, especially in communities with high populations of Hispanic and black Americans.
The media will do everything in their power to keep voters in the dark on just how extreme the Democratic Party has become on this issue and the tremendous damage it is doing to America. It would be a mistake to allow them to succeed.
Fletch Daniels blogs at deplorabletouchdown.com and can be found on Twitter at @fletchdaniels.
Image: Nogwater via Flickr (cropped).