These are not good numbers for a party that is hanging on by a cultural divide thread.
According to research from a YouGov/HuffPost poll published Friday, 52% of Americans polled view the attack in which Robert Dear killed three people at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs last week as an act of terrorism.
The news gets worse for Republicans, because although there is a partisan divide noted in the analysis of the poll, with two-thirds of Democrats saying it was terrorism and a full half of Republicans say that it was not a terrorist attack, Independents side with calling it a terrorist attack 50% to 32%.
If you don’t live under a rock, you’ve seen the conservative claims that killing people who are performing or supporting or getting an abortion is a legitimate form of protest. While those people are most likely outliers for the anti-abortion crowd, the violent, bloody rhetoric and lies perpetrated by elected officials about Planned Parenthood can’t be denied. It is mainstream and it has a big old “R” branded on its forehead.
That’s not a great position to be in when a party is clinging to alleged moral superiority as a lifeboat.
Republicans might have left things as they were, with public opinion shifting gradually toward various ways of limiting choice (even while supporting choice as an overall value) according to polls over the last decade. But instead they chose to try to double down and use anti-abortion beliefs as a get-out-the-vote tactic, not only encouraging but elevating crack pot conspiracy artists calling themselves journalists, as they violated laws and ethics in an attempt to smear abortion providers.
While these tactics worked for a while and they certainly aren’t helping the general perception of abortion providers like Planned Parenthood, there’s another, more politically dangerous side to this story.
The poll showed that 49% of Americans believe that the actions of anti-abortion groups encourage violence. Only 27% say they don’t think this is so. The analysis pointed out that there is divide on this even among Republicans, “37% of Republicans believe that the actions of anti-abortion groups encourage violence while just under half (47%) say that their actions do not encourage violence.”
Following the Republican cabal’s televised false attacks on Planned Parenthood, which included deceptively edited videos and false graphs, a Planned Parenthood in Thousand Oaks, California burned in what authorities investigated as an arson attack. The same clinic had been attacked weeks earlier. This is but one example of the ongoing violence aimed at abortion providers and doctors.
Republicans have hung their hats on playing off of the resentments of the fading white male dominance. Abortion is just one piece of that puzzle, as it represents women’s freedom to choose their own destiny and have full agency over their bodies and full personhood rights. Abortion was the one area where Republicans were making headway, but once again, playing to extremists by pushing known lies and jacked up rhetoric meant to incite blind rage has backfired politically.
Innocent people have been murdered due in part to this inflammatory rhetoric and lies the U.S. Congress continues to elevate. These facts are proof that the alleged “pro-life” movement is not about protecting actual life.