Skip to comments.How One Republican Primary Race Showed The Strength Of Trump’s Pro-Life Power Play
Posted on 03/10/2020 9:30:04 AM PDT by Kaslin
The highest-ranking Republican woman in the House won her toughest primary in 20 years by abandoning her pro-choice positions for pro-life votes.
Less than two decades ago, President Donald Trump described himself as pro-choice in every respect. Hes now the most pro-life president in modern history, rolling back Obama-era abortion funding, and nominating conservative Supreme Court justices. Critics and conservatives alike remain skeptical that he is personally pro-life, yet pro-lifers offer him fervent support due to his policies. However transactional his evolution on the issue seems, it may be having a broader effect down the ballot.
Rep. Kay Granger is the highest-ranking Republican woman in the House, and represents the 12th district of Texas, which encompasses half of Tarrant County, the most reliably red, urban county in the Lone Star state. Republicans were shocked when Tarrant country flipped blue in the 2018 Senate race, voting for Democrat Beto ORourke over incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz.
Its surprising then, that Grangers primary opponent this election cycle was not someone looking to appeal to the growing number of moderate, suburban voters in Fort Worth, the 13th largest city in the United States, but someone even further to her right. Chris Putnam, who was backed by the conservative Club for Growth, ultimately lost to Granger on Super Tuesday, with 42 percent of the vote to Grangers 58 percent, but gave her her toughest primary race since she took office more than 20 years ago.
Putnam accused the incumbent of not being aligned with Trump, even though Granger earned Trumps endorsement. He called her too Washington, and hammered on her a boondoggle construction project on the Trinity River just north of downtown Fort Worth. Residents have complained about its overrun budgets and missed deadlines for years. Lastly, Putnam put the spotlight on Grangers history as a pro-choice Republican.
After her tenure as a popular mayor of Fort Worth in the early 90s, Granger was recruited by both Democrats and Republicans to run for the open House seat in 1996. Despite voting for several pro-choice bills in the early 2000s, including a vote against the Mexico City Policy that prohibits funding for abortion internationally, it never seemed to be an issue for conservative voters of her red district, who voted for her 12 terms.
But as Democrats moved the line from safe, legal, and rare to #ShoutYourAbortion, the issue moved to the front of the culture war, forcing politicians to move out of grey areas. In the same way there is no longer room for pro-life Democrats in their increasingly progressive party, Trumps GOP is increasingly hostile to pro-choice Republicans, a label Granger gave herself in a 2007 MSNBC interview. Putnam used the MSNBC clip in attack ads against Granger, and the pro-choice Republican charge became a problem for Granger in the tight race.
Can you trust Kay Granger to stand for your values?
Whether she saw the writing on the wall, or decided to take page out of Trumps transactional politics playbook, Granger was able to tout enough of a recent pro-life record to earn the endorsement of the pro-life groups like Susan B. Anthony List and National Right to Life. In January 2019, Granger motioned to remove language from a House appropriations bill that would provide funding to international abortion advocates and eliminate the Mexico City Policy, the very same pro-abortion policy she voted for a decade prior. Grangers campaign did not return request for comment.
When asked about endorsing Granger despite her pro-choice past, a Susan B. Anthony List spokesperson pointed me to an op-ed about their endorsement that highlights how the pro-life movement is made up of people who have had their hearts and minds changed on life.
Other groups like Texas Right to Life endorsed Putnam, saying Granger is an inconsistent vote for pro-life policies, and quoted Granger describing abortion as a situation that a woman makes a decision with her own self and her own physician and her own family.
At a February candidate forum event in Fort Worth, when Granger was pressed on the issue, she said she has evolved and changed, just like President Trumps position has changed. A Granger campaign mailer touted Trumps 100% pro-life endorsement of the congresswoman.
A veteran campaign operative in Fort Worth, unaffiliated with either campaign, told me Granger doesnt come from an ideologically conservative background, another similarity to our reality star president. Shes not an intellectual, shes always just focused on getting things done. But now, for the first time a challenger is questioning her ideological credentials on abortion, the person said. Like Trump, she has a mixed record on the issue. But she also has something her challenger doesnt Trumps endorsement. The question in this race could come down to: does abortion Trump Donald, or does Donald Trump abortion?
Its difficult to prove what exactly gave Granger an edge over her more Trumpy opponent, but its fair to say her mixed record on the issue, just like Trumps, did not wipe out all her support when she promised to hold a strong pro-life stance going forward. As both parties move further apart on the issue, Trumps willingness to go to the mattresses for the pro-life movement is an approach that not only aids him politically, but other candidates whose hearts and minds have changed on life.
Tarrant County this year will stay Red in November.
In this case the thing needing to be done is getting Kay Granger reelected.
I associate Club for Growth with open Borders
Trumps coattails will help her do it later this year. Would be shocked if TX doesnt go for the President.
I always saw Granger as a Kay Bailey Hutchison mini-me.
Good to see she is evolviing.
One of my major reasons for being late to the Trump party is that I doubted his pro-life conversion. I no longer do. Or more accurately, I know longer care. His personal thoughts are irrelevant in the face of his actions, which have been more pro-life than any president before him.
As do I
If there was ever a president who lets his actions speak louder than his words it’s Donald J. Trump!
“Less than two decades ago, President Donald Trump described himself as pro-choice in every respect. Hes now the most pro-life president in modern history...”
I don’t believe this is as uncommon as the author would have you believe. I was ambivalent at best on abortion when in my twenties and probably would have seriously considered full support for a girlfriend with an unwanted to have one at that time.
Now, decades later, I abhor the practice am adamantly pro-life and find it hard to believe that I actually believed as I once did.
I don’t know Trump’s personal views on abortion or on guns, but I know his political position. His stance is that he will keep his promises to his voters to the greatest extent possible, and he has delivered on that almost 100% (occasionally reluctantly but almost always delivering, eventually when possible).
She say it, but she doesnt mean it.
“Republicans were shocked when Tarrant country flipped blue in the 2018 Senate race, voting for Democrat Beto ORourke over incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz.”
This is because ol’ Ted ran a crap campaign and took voters for granted. He got started late, his message was basically “I’m Ted Cruz, I’m a Republican, vote for me!” and he did stupid things like charging supporters for yard signs and other campaign materials. Tarrant County voted GOP for all statewide offices, IIRC, so the problem wasn’t that Tarrant went blue but that Ted sucked.
Once elected, a president serves and echoes the beliefs of the people who elect him. His personal beliefs are irrelevant.......He's a representative of the people, not his self.
Kay Granger. Interesting.
Glad she’s flipped
Granger has voted pro-life during the past decade or so, as have most other erstwhile “pro-choice” Republican Representatives. That being said, most of the abortion votes on the floor are on items on which almost every GOP House member agrees. I’d rather have a more conservative member from Granger’s district, but it’s not a big priority for me.
It cracks me up whenever a pro-abort says the decision is between the woman and her doctor. The doctor theyre referring to is an abortionist. He makes anywhere from $300 to $15,000 per abortion and isnt beholden to rules or regulations from insurance companies. Hes the only physician I know of that actually kills human beings on purpose instead of saving or healing them per the Hippocratic Oath he swore to obey.
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