Donald J. Trump is president-elect of the United States of America. Many, including me, never expected to read those words. But for many Democrats, this election result is unfathomable.
Many reasons exist for why Trump will swear the oath of office on January 20, 2017. But among them is the fact that the Democratic Party has become beholden to Planned Parenthood and the Human Rights Campaign, adopting a radical pro-abortion and anti-religious freedom agenda that leaves no opportunity for compromise.
Social conservatives supported Trump in the general election. And to his credit, Trump adopted clear pro-life and pro-religious liberty positions, seeking to justify their support.
The 2016 Republican Party platform is the most pro-life and pro-religious freedom it has ever been. But even so, it is no secret that many Christians and social conservatives were conflicted despite these stated positions. Many supported other candidates in the primaries, and Trump’s history and comments caused social conservatives who had consistently voted for Republican presidential candidates to at least hesitate to support the Republican nominee this time.
In the aftermath of Trump’s victory, it’s easy to forget the potential danger that this posed to the Trump candidacy. The pro-life vote has been a key part of the Republican constituency for decades. A Republican presidential candidate who could not depend on overwhelming support from evangelical and Catholic, socially conservative voters would likely have been doomed.
Parties are formed to win elections. Throughout our political history, when party A senses that a core constituency of party B is dissatisfied with its “natural” party nominee, party A looks for ways to compromise and peel off those voters.
For example, African-American voters shifted from Republican to Democrat as Democrats—once the party of slavery—sensed an opportunity to reach African-American voters by supporting civil rights laws. Ronald Reagan famously made inroads with blue-collar workers who had traditionally been part of the Democratic base.
Hillary Clinton might have had such an opportunity. After Trump had secured the nomination, “Never Trump” Republicans sought out third-party options. Some conservative Christian leaders openly struggled over whether to support the Republican nominee, even as the Libertarian Party failed to offer a better alternative for those concerned about the sanctity of life and religious freedom.
On almost any other issue imaginable, the opposing party candidate would seize this opening and move closer to the center to offer these voters an olive branch—perhaps a compromise position that would assuage their concerns about voting for their natural political opponent.
But this was not an option for Clinton. She couldn’t offer that olive branch to pro-life and pro-religious freedom voters even if she wanted to because Planned Parenthood and the Human Rights Campaign would never let her.
As recent as the early ’90s, Democrats at least tolerated social conservatives. While most pro-life voters identified as Republicans by the Reagan years, pro-life Democrats were still a real thing. Even in the Clinton administration, Democrats called for making abortion “safe, legal, and rare.” President Bill Clinton even signed a pro-life conscience law as well as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
But by 2016, the Democratic nominee could no longer offer any compromise. Planned Parenthood, the nation’s leading abortion provider and recipient of over half a billion dollars in annual taxpayer funds, spent $38 million advocating for its favored (Democratic) candidates this election season. Planned Parenthood even endorsed Clinton in the primaries—the first-ever primary season endorsement in its 100-year history.
So even as Americans were repulsed by its trafficking of baby parts and its numerous financial and other scandals, Planned Parenthood still wielded enough political clout to ensure that the Democratic nominee wouldn’t dare compromise in the slightest on abortion.
No late-term abortion limits, no ban on sex-selection abortions, no health and safety regulations on abortionists, no prohibition on compelled abortion coverage for churches—not even a commitment to maintaining the 40-year-old Hyde Amendment, which prevents taxpayer funds from going to pay for abortions and has traditionally received Democratic support, until this year.
There could be no compromise. Even in the third debate, Hillary Clinton could not only not offer any compromise to conflicted social conservatives—she actually defended partial-birth abortion, a horrific practice that has been banned for almost a decade.
The Human Rights Campaign, too, having secured a national constitutional right to same-sex marriage, could not permit even the mildest compromise with social conservatives.
Instead of agreeing to compromise on religious liberty concerns, it and its allies have opposed religious freedom laws aimed at protecting florists, bakers, photographers, T-shirt printers, and even pastors and churches from participating in this newly created “right” in violation of their consciences. While faithful Christians seek simply to exercise their faith, these far-left groups are demanding their personal destruction.
This is not to say that an olive branch from Clinton would have been accepted by all conservatives. Not every blue-collar worker became a Reagan Democrat, after all. Many pro-life voters would have rejected any half-measure as insufficient, especially in light of Trump’s pro-life reassurances, and the margins in states like Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Florida, Michigan, and other key states were indeed narrow.
Nevertheless, conservative Christian voters who for the first time became open to voting for a non-Republican candidate still found no interest in opting for the Democrat. Their choices were either to vote third party, write in, or simply choose “the lesser of two evils.” Clinton would not—could not—offer an olive branch to these voters.
Democrats who now wonder how they’ve managed to lose the White House, Congress, and potentially the Supreme Court have plenty of blame to go around, but the pro-abortion, anti-religious freedom extremism now characteristic of the Democratic Party should rank high up on their list.