The Abortion Albatross
by Carl Anderson
c. 2008 Religion News Service
Abortion has been an albatross around the Democratic Party's neck since at least 1980, helping to keep it out of the White House for all but eight of the last 28 years.
Will 2008 be any different?
Once again, the Democrats have tied their fortunes to abortion rights, hoping to compensate with a historic outreach effort to Catholic voters. But this may simply lend empirical support to Einstein's adage that insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
Let's start at the end of the 1970s, when the abortion lobby's influence over the Democratic Party grew quickly in the decade following Roe v. Wade. That influence doomed the candidacy of a strongly pro-life Sargent Shriver in 1976, and produced a platform plank that year that opposed any effort to overturn Roe.
When it became clear that pro-life candidates would lose financial support and even become targets in Democratic primaries unless they switched sides, most of them did. But the party paid a heavy price.
Catholics, once among the most reliable members of the Democratic coalition, took a hike in 1980 and gave Jimmy Carter only 42 percent of their votes. Putting pro-choice Catholic Geraldine Ferraro on the 1984 ticket only accelerated the erosion, leaving Democrats with just 39 percent of Catholics.
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