by Steven Ertelt
March 5, 2008
LifeNews.com Note: Steven Ertelt is the editor and CEO of LifeNews.com, the pro-life news service that reaches 250,000 people weekly. Contact LifeNews.com for reprint information for this editorial.
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Mike Huckabee left the Republican race on Tuesday night after John McCain made his bid for the GOP nomination official. However, Mike Huckabee leaves the campaign knowing that he made it clear that John McCain must actively support a pro-life position on abortion to win in November.
Even as McCain wrapped up the nomination, exit polling data in Ohio and Texas showed a strong majority of Republican voters are pro-life.
Huckabee developed such a strong following with pro-life voters that only he and former candidate Fred Thompson earned official endorsements from pro-life groups throughout most of the campaign.
McCain has begun to earn backing from pro-life advocates who understand that the difference between him and Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton is another 35 years of legal abortions.
But that didn’t stop pro-life voters from sending McCain a message on Tuesday night: Don’t forget about us.
Some 69 percent of Texas Republicans said they are pro-life and want all or most abortions made illegal and a whopping 41 percent supported Huckabee – even though McCain had pretty much sewn up the nomination before Tuesday night.
Another 36 percent of the 67% of Republicans in Ohio who are pro-life backed Huckabee there.
Those votes mean two things:
First, Huckabee is a respected national face of the pro-life movement and someone who can look ahead to either a possible vice-presidential pick or another run at the presidency in 2012 if McCain loses in November.
Second, it means McCain must do more to shore up his support with pro-life voters.
He must emphasize his strongly pro-life voting record on abortion, his desire to see Roe v. Wade overturned and his willingness to veto legislation from a pro-abortion Congress that wants to public fund abortions here and abroad.
More importantly, McCain must constantly emphasize his desire for judges in the mold of the four currently on the Supreme Court considered most likely to support overturning Roe. This election year, there is no bigger battle between the presidential candidates than the kind of judges who will shape the future of abortion for decades.
Including Texas and Ohio, the number of states with a pro-life Republican majority jumps to 19 out of 24 that have voted thus far and had exit polling data.
Without those pro-life Republican voters by his side (the party’s base), McCain has no chance of winning the White House.
Previous polling data in the 2000 and 2004 elections shows pro-life voters gave President Bush the advantage he needed to capture the presidency in a close race. With another close election at hand, the same will be true unless McCain fails to build more bridges with the pro-life community.
McCain must court pro-life voters as he moves ahead to face one of two overwhelmingly radical pro-abortion candidates who want abortions legal without limits and paid for with our tax dollars.
Whether Huckabee becomes his running mate and helps him reach out to the pro-life movement or whether he selects someone else, McCain’s choice for vice-president is a good first step for him to build bridges.