There is a lot of talk about the economy in this election. It overshadowed the content of the Presidential debates. Even when asked about foreign policy, the candidates, especially Romney, shifted the discussion to the economy’s anemia. Every time an employment rate update hits the news, both sides try to spin the numbers to their advantage. From all appearances, this election will be won or lost depending on who Americans believe to be the most competent in handling the finances of the country.
While that will certainly factor into the decision for many voters at the polls, I do not believe that economic policy is what is driving this election. Instead, I would argue that the underlying foundation for each American’s vote is a civil rights issue, and I believe that issue is abortion. Even though both candidates have been sort of mum on abortion this cycle, it is, nevertheless, the elephant in the room in most voters’ minds–including mine.
It is no secret that the Republican platform, as it relates to the unborn, is more pro-life than the Democratic platform. I think that both parties take their stance on this as a given. Their positions are polar, and it seems, they are permanent. This is THE civil rights issue that is on the majority of voters’ minds, one way or the other.
If you believe that personhood begins at conception, your odds of voting democratic in this election plummet. If you believe that the rights of a woman trump those of a fetus, then your likelihood of voting Republican plummet as well (to reiterate: odds. There are exceptions). I believe this single issue gives us more ‘confirmation bias’ than any other issue currently at play in American politics.
Let’s take the unemployment rate. I think it is currently at 7.8%. We are due for an update in a couple of days, but let’s grant for the sake of argument that this is true. I ask you: Is that good? Does that mean that 92.2% of Americans have a job? What if it is worse and only 87% of people have a job. That means that at least 87% of Americans who can work are currently working. It does stink for 8-13% of Americans. I understand that. But really, do you understand Obama’s or Romney’s plans good enough to be certain of the best candidate for getting and keeping you employed?
Here’s another thought experiment for you. If tomorrow, President Obama said, “I have had a change of heart. Like a conversion experience. I now believe that personhood, and all the rights of personhood, begin at conception. I am going to do all I can to ensure the rights of Americans still in the womb as President of the United States.” Would that have an effect on your vote? Major or minor? What if Romney came out with the opposite statement. That is, he announced, “I believe that a woman has the right to determine what to do with her own body. I now believe that abortions should be safe and legal for a woman who wants one.”
Whether or not the candidates are talking about abortion during the debates or on the campaign trail; abortion is the largest issue on the minds of many Americans, especially evangelicals. And rightly so. I would go so far as to say that if the Republican party became Pro-Choice, it would be the impetus for creating the first viable 3rd Party in American history.