By Jonathon Van Maren
It’s been twenty-two days since Donald Trump was elected the president of the United States, and it appears that the progressive meltdown may have some real staying power. The media is doubling and tripling down on their discussions of racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and a host of other hatreds apparently afflicting those who turned up to vote for the Trump-Pence ticket. Many journalists are warning loudly against “normalizing” Trump, but they don’t appear to have realized that they already threw every label they had at him, and Teflon Trump walked away without a scratch. If they want to effectively oppose him, they’re going to need a new strategy. Until then, nobody is listening. It’s almost as if they’ve become a Basket of Ignorables.
It’s easy to understand why the shock and denial have lasted for so long. The situation is in some ways ridiculous. Hillary Clinton spent decades carefully plotting her path to power, expanding her resume, networking with the right people, purchasing residences where she wanted to run for political office, and ensuring that the Democratic National Committee was simply one of the Clinton Machine’s many tentacles. But across town from her New York residence, a trash-talking billionaire with no political experience and legions of political liabilities woke up in his Tower, yawned, shuffled into the bathroom, and thought to himself, Huh. Maybe I should run for president. And with that, decades of Hillary’s hard work and ambition were flushed down the toilet. One can only imagine the bitterness and rage that must accompany Clinton’s imagining of such a scenario.
No camp in the Clinton coalition was more rocked on Election Night than the abortion activists. Hillary had gone all in for the abortion industry, and they had gone all in for her. The Democratic National Convention was an abortion infomercial, with a particularly sickening moment being the wild cheering of the crowd in response to Illyse Hogue of NARAL Pro-Choice America announcing that she’d had an abortion when she was younger. Hogue, you may remember, was photographed at Clinton’s headquarters on Election Night looking tearful and crushed.
Stephanie Schriok of Emily’s List, which works to elect abortion-supporting politicians, also gave a bizarre speech accompanied by a strange, pasted-on smile. Schriok emphasized the importance of this presidential election, and claimed Hillary Clinton’s opponents were staging their “last stand” against progress. If they win, she warned, “they’ll erase every ounce of progress we’ve dared to make.” The throwbacks who opposed her abortion agenda, Schriok announced, were “panicking and desperate.”
The panic and desperation, it seems, is now running wild on the other side. Rachel Maddow of MSNBC invited Planned Parenthood’s Cecile Richards—who had also been invited to speak at the Democratic National Convention—on her show after the election to ask if there was a “Doomsday Plan.” Maddow asked Richards point blank: “Do you think Roe v. Wade is at risk?”
Richards nodded grimly. “Absolutely. I mean, I think that Roe vs. Wade was on the ballot in this election. I know that Mr. Trump has said that in his acceptance speech that he was going to govern for all Americans – not just ones that voted for him – and I hope that includes women.”
Attempting a bit of beleaguered bravado, Richards attempted to assure Madow that Planned Parenthood would be “fighting for a Supreme Court justice who supports [abortion rights] for women.” Maddow would not be consoled, responding glumly, “I don’t think you’re going to get a Supreme Court justice who supports this right for women.” And with Trump’s consistently pro-life cabinet picks, we can all be a bit hopeful that Maddown’s Doomsday Scenario may actually materialize.
What’s been interesting is that while everyone has been watching Donald Trump’s cabinet selections and Twitter feed, abortion activists have been responding to the reality that they have wasted tens of millions of dollars trying to elect Hillary by moving to take over the Democratic Party for good. With the position of Democratic National Chairwoman about to be vacated for the second time within a year, both Stephanie Schriok of Emily’s List and Illyse Hogue of NARAL Pro-Choice America have indicated that they may run for the position. With Hillary’s failure to protect the abortion industry, abortion activists seem determined to ensure that their influence grows and solidifies, especially with the musings on some left-wing talk shows that the culture wars may have hurt the Left and a growing pro-life consensus threatening their rhetorical grip on the abortion issue.
Illyse Hogue’s DNC platform is angry and up front, promising a return to radical pro-abortion activism—as if that had ever stopped—and a commitment to address the “rigged system” that has apparently been produced by rampant voter suppression and the horribly unjust Electoral College system. Contemplate that for just a moment, if you will—a woman who told the story of her aborted child with a smile on her face to loud cheers wants to ensure that the Democrats never, ever waver in their support of the industry that removed her inconvenient son or daughter.
Conservatives and pro-life activists have every right to sit back and enjoy the catharsis that has accompanied the tantrums of abortion activists, celebrities, and condescending media figures they were forced to endure lectures from for eight years. But it’s important that we keep an eye on the grassroots efforts of abortion activists who are determined that next time, they will slither back into power and never leave. Richards, Hogue, Schriok, and all the rest—they’re down, but not out, and the pro-life movement must make the most of this four-year opportunity as the abortion activists plot in the wilderness.