Updated: Jan 25
The last election was certainly a big disappointment for Republicans. The predictions of the GOP picking up 25 or more seats in the House and taking control of the Senate didn’t materialize.
A big reason for the unmet expectations was that single women and young people turned out to vote against Republicans because the Supreme Court overturned Row vs. Wade and Casey vs. Planned Parenthood.
I have always been an unwavering supporter of life. But I have come to the conclusion that conservatives need to find a better way to talk about abortion.
The Democrat Party’s official position is that a woman should be able to get an abortion, for any reason until the very moment of birth. It doesn’t matter if the baby’s heart is beating, if its brainwaves are active, whether it can feel pain, or is viable outside of the womb. Even worse, many Democrats support allowing babies to die who survived botched abortions. These are horrific positions, which forces one to question the humanity of the people who hold them.
But when asked about abortion, the Democrats never talk about their actual positions. Instead, they answer that “women should make their own healthcare decisions”. Never mind that over 99.5% of abortions have nothing to do with healthcare, including saving the mother’s life. The Democrats have found a simple message about abortion that sounds comforting and caring. And it works for them, by obfuscating their real, monstrous positions.
Conversely, the conservative messaging around abortion can sound harsh and scary to people who don’t understand the real issue. The Democrats know this, which is why for example that people in the 13th Congressional District were inundated with attack ads showing Bo Hines repeating that abortion is “murder” over and over. Hines is not alone. Our own poor messaging about abortion allows Democrats to misrepresent the views of the vast majority of conservative candidates.
The Democrat’s messaging discipline extends far beyond abortion. At any given time and for any given issue, every Democrat uses the same exact language to get their message across to the public. An old marketing rule of thumb states that people need to hear a message three times before it starts to sink in. It’s obvious that someone or a team of people somewhere in the Democrat establishment is in charge of messaging and message discipline. They understand how it works and they are good at it.
Unfortunately, conservatives are all over the map on messaging and language at any given time and for any given issue. This enables Democrats to twist and distort our real views. Worse, it sometimes results in conservatives making catastrophic blunders that cost them elections. Who can forget Congressmen Todd Atkins (R-MO) stating that “legitimate rape” rarely causes pregnancy, while trying to explain his own position on abortion? This gaffe was widely blamed for costing him the Senate race against Clair McCaskill.
When I was VP of Engineering at a large technology services company, I had to go through media training. A big part of the training was how to stay on message in front of the press and the public. Does the Republican Party offer training like this to candidates, campaign workers, and volunteers who have contact with the media and the public? I haven’t seen it. Training about how to stay on message is critical for success. But we also need to develop a compelling message about abortion that conservatives can consistently deliver.
I’m a technology guy, not a marketer. So, I am not the right person to come up with the magic message about abortion. But I do know that we need to change our approach of simply repeating that “it’s murder”, with all the negative connotations about the punishments that may ensue for mothers who seek an abortion. Instead, let’s figure out a positive message about abortion that celebrates the life and all the joys that result when a new baby is brought into the world.
Conservatives are right on the issues. Our position on abortion is no exception. But we need better messaging and message discipline about our views to reach new voters so we can make America and North Carolina better for all.
Eric Blankenburg is a husband, father of four, technology guy, U.S. Air Force veteran, and left coast refugee. He is a lifelong conservative and “disgruntled” Republican, who has sought ways to help the GOP live up to its values. When Eric is not working or spending time with his family, he likes to write about a variety of current issues. Eric will be a regular writer for Liberty First Grassroots (LFG). Look for future articles for your library as an LFG activist.