About those deeply held moral views

In 2022, a proposed abortion ban failed by 18 points in conservative Kansas. So what happened after Republican voters realized that anti-abortion politics threatened their electoral prospects?

So what do you really care about? The lives of unborn babies, or tax cuts for the rich?



41 Responses to “About those deeply held moral views”

  1. Gravatar of dtoh dtoh
    29. October 2022 at 17:57

    I think for a lot of conservatives, the issue was not abortion per se, but whether the courts could make up new rules for which there is no constitutional or statutory basis.

    IMHO, the only reason we have had the abortion debate is because the Supreme Court arrogated the prerogative of the voters and legislatures. Opportunistic politicians could appeal to the radical fringes on both sides because the average voter knew that under Roe v. Wade, the rhetoric would have no impact on either abortion rights or abortion restrictions. Nobody cared or believed what the politicians said except people on the fringes and media pundits who enrich themselves by ginning up controversy.

    Now that the people and their elective representatives get to actually decide, the proponents of both no abortion and unlimited abortion will find their political careers quickly terminated because in most States, there is very limited support for either of those extreme positions.

    I suspect that within 5 years, we will have reasonable abortion rights and restrictions in 48 or 49 States and no one will be talking about this issue.

  2. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    29. October 2022 at 18:38

    dtoh, You said:

    “I suspect that within 5 years, we will have reasonable abortion rights and restrictions in 48 or 49 States and no one will be talking about this issue.”

    I suspect you are wrong. In any case, your comment has no bearing on this post.

  3. Gravatar of Michael Sandifer Michael Sandifer
    29. October 2022 at 19:28


    Even if one accepts that the legal rationale for the Roe decision was weak or non-existent, as even many good legal scholars on the left and in the middle do, it doesn’t mean that the rationale cited for repeal was sound. Most legal scholars think it was not.

    It also doesn’t mean that there aren’t much more reasonable Constitutional rationales for guaranteeing unrestricted rights to abortion.

  4. Gravatar of George George
    29. October 2022 at 21:50

    Planned Parenthood is a eugenics program to depopulate/control the black race in particular, and American lives in particular.

    Founded by eugenicist Margaret Sanger.

    Define DC insider term ‘T-Wash’.

    Democrats use taxpayer money to fund Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood then ‘washes’ the money as political donations to fund Democrat Party politicians.

    Site owner blinded by op mockingbird narrative of ‘women’s right to choose’, praxis becomes consistent with defending and accepting the anti-black eugenics organization.

  5. Gravatar of George George
    29. October 2022 at 22:37

    I wonder how long before site owner realizes that a major source of ‘woke’ narrative is being pushed/funded by the CCP and Soros NGOs as weapons against the Republic.

    The cognitive dissonance should be fun.

  6. Gravatar of Sara Sara
    30. October 2022 at 00:11

    It should be obvious that people in urban wichita, working for MNC’s, have very different values then rural farmers. The answer to this clash of culture is not to use Washington or some international organization as a bludgeoning stick, or use Mill’s tyranny of the majority which you attempt to do above in Kansas, the answer is to permit compromise between state reps representing different districts, and to reach that compromise without external actors intervening in said affairs. Y

    You, and the globalist movement, is attempting to force these people to kneel before you, presumably because you feel that you have a superior sense of morality or intelligence, and that these people are backward and need to be saved by your superiorness.

    I find that to be, not just arrogant, but VERY tyrannical.

  7. Gravatar of dtoh dtoh
    30. October 2022 at 00:22

    Michael Sandifer

    “It also doesn’t mean that there aren’t much more reasonable Constitutional rationales for guaranteeing unrestricted rights to abortion.”

    And I’m sure there are “reasonable” rationales for why the Constitution guarantees unrestricted rights of the unborn.

    If you let people in power just make things up as they go along, the rule of law will crumble and civilization will crumble with it.

  8. Gravatar of Michael Sandifer Michael Sandifer
    30. October 2022 at 06:29


    The implication in the abortion restriction argument is that mothers, who typically have a natural incentive to do what’s best for their children, and doctors, who are the only experts we have and have examined the patients, will more often make decisions that are bad for their families than politicians that develop static government laws.

    Defend that.

    The implication that too many mothers will choose to “murder” their babies, aided and abetted by countless doctors who are presumed to be deficient in personal and professional ethics is laughable.

    Of course, doctors and mothers will make mistakes, but the idea that politicians through the legislative process will produce better solutions on average is silly.

  9. Gravatar of dtoh dtoh
    30. October 2022 at 08:11

    Michael Sandifer,

    Very few people support abortion rights up until birth regardless of what the mother or doctor thinks. You may feel differently. If so convince people you’re right and get them to adopt a law or constitutional amendment to guarantee that right. Based on your arguments, it sounds like you would also support infanticide if the mother and doctor agree so maybe you could convince people that’s a good idea also.

    Either way though, nobody (including the Supreme Court) should just make shit up (rights OR restrictions) and impose it on others. That’s the very definition of tyranny.

  10. Gravatar of Michael Sandifer Michael Sandifer
    30. October 2022 at 08:33


    I didn’t see a defense of abortion restrictions in your reply.

  11. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    30. October 2022 at 08:44

    And so now we are debating Roe v. Wade? No comments on my post?

  12. Gravatar of mira mira
    30. October 2022 at 08:49

    I think it’s less “republicans realizing abortion hurts electoral prospects” and more that people love to virtue signal on issues that are impossible so they can endlessly stake out radical stances.

    When actually enacting such a stance becomes possible, they get scared and moderate.

  13. Gravatar of George George
    30. October 2022 at 12:10

    “And so now we are debating Roe v. Wade? No comments on my post?”

    Shameless politicizing of abortion, with a shameless false dichotomy to end the blogpost, deserves no comments.

  14. Gravatar of Michael Sandifer Michael Sandifer
    30. October 2022 at 15:07


    If you want a comment on your post, it’s that the link you provide to that Reason article concerning the poll also indicates to me that Republican support for Trump could go the way of total or near-total abortion bans, if they conclude that he is unlikely to win office, or that he could help Democrats win other seats. Most haven’t seemed to notice that Trump has hurt Republican electoral prospects for years now, at least since the 2018 midterms.

    Recall the strong support George W. Bush had, until his second term, when it became obvious even to the dim-witted that the wars he started weren’t going well and that the invasion of Iraq would never be considered anything other than a tragic mistake, at best. Today, of course, many Republicans cheer when Bush is accused of not only lying about Iraq’s involvement in 9/11, but being behind the attacks. Perhaps Bush apologizing for the mistake of invading Iraq is part of the problem, since Republican polticians have learned since to never apologize for anything.

    You seem to maintain your confidence that Trump has a good chance to win re-election in 2024, but he seems to have roughly the same ceiling he’s had all along, meaning that him winning is possible, but he’s seemingly unable to increase his support in a general election, on net.

    More directly relevant to your post, is anyone surprised that many Republican voters express inconsistent values? It’s not as if this is a group that exhibits moral clarity or intelligence.

    Also though, the usual caveats about polls should apply.

  15. Gravatar of dtoh dtoh
    30. October 2022 at 15:36

    I did comment on your post. I.e. I interpreted your argument to be: Republicans are hypocritical because they no longer support abortion rights when they discover it will cost them elections.

    My point was that mainstream Republicans aren’t opposed to abortion per se, they are opposed to the Supreme Court trampling on the rule of law. Therefore the fact that they are not supporting abortion restrictions at the state level is not at all hypocritical or contradictory.

    Your response was “your comment has no bearing on this post.”

  16. Gravatar of dtoh dtoh
    30. October 2022 at 15:47

    Michael Sandifer,

    You’re not listening to what I’m saying. I’m in favor of abortion rights.

    What I’m opposed to is the Supreme Court making up rights (or restrictions) out of thin air.

    And Scott, to say it again, that’s the reason most conservatives are not opposing abortion rights at the state level. It’s not, as you would wish to project, because they are hypocritical and only care about tax cuts.

  17. Gravatar of msgkings msgkings
    30. October 2022 at 16:38

    @dtoh: You’re incredibly naive to expect 48-49 states to have reasonable abortion restrictions (most people agree first trimester only is a good compromise). Who won’t, Alabama? Utah?

    In the deep red states, especially the ones where abortion became illegal in almost all cases automatically when Roe went down…how do you expect that to happen?

  18. Gravatar of dtoh dtoh
    30. October 2022 at 17:10


    ”In the deep red states, especially the ones where abortion became illegal in almost all cases automatically when Roe went down…how do you expect that to happen?”

    Voters will pass referendums. Or, legislators will pass new laws. If they don’t, they won’t get elected because as you say most (actually something like 2/3rds of) people agree first trimester is a good compromise.

    Also keep in mind that views on abortion never followed very strict political lines until the mass media turned it into a controversy after the Roe v. Wade decision. (One of the two dissenters in Roe was Byron White, a Democrat.)

  19. Gravatar of Michael Sandifer Michael Sandifer
    30. October 2022 at 17:36


    I didn’t mention anything about tax cuts.

    I don’t pretend to know why Republicans appear to be inconsistent in their views on abortion in a poll. I’m increasingly skeptical about such poll results anyway. I have no reason to believe any firm conclusion can be drawn. My best guess is that Republicans want to win power at all cost, since that seems consistent with their general behavior.

  20. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    30. October 2022 at 19:10

    dtoh, If your post was a comment on my post, it’s even more illogical than I thought. Even if everything you said is exactly true, it would not explain why their views on abortion changed. Their views on the Supreme Court have no bearing on my point.

    I don’t think you have any idea just how dishonest most people are.

  21. Gravatar of dtoh dtoh
    30. October 2022 at 21:18

    1. Look at the numbers for goodness sake. You’re generalizing about Republican voters based on the fact that 11% (6% after the margin of error) changed their views? (And that assumes PRRI is a reliable source…. count me skeptical since they don’t publish their data.)

    2. And how do you explain the fact that the drop in support for a total abortion ban dropped among Democrats as well. Democrats were being thoughtful while Republicans were being selfish hypocrites?

    3. And why are you basing your generalizations on the most extreme viewpoint on the abortion debate spectrum. Why not on support for abortion rights generally. Republican support is unchanged versus an increase among Democrats. Are the Democrats being hypocritical and opportunistic?

    Your post referred to Republicans generally and accused them of behavior for which you offer no evidence. If your post had accurately reflected what was in the graph, i.e. Support for a total abortion ban has fallen among fringe voters, I would have commented differently (well actually I wouldn’t have commented at all since it is obvious and uninteresting that there are always people with radical views in all political parties.)

    It’s impossible to have a rationale or objective discussion here about anything political that involves the Republican Party.

    Also, IME people are mostly honest. Coming from academia, your experience may have been different.

  22. Gravatar of dtoh dtoh
    30. October 2022 at 21:25

    Michael Sandifer,

    “My best guess is that Republicans want to win power at all cost, since that seems consistent with their general behavior.”

    Not to go to far off topic, but I have found that people who attribute bad motives to others sometimes project their own values when casting judgment.

    That said, I would agree that most politicians in all parties will go pretty far in order to win. However, I would be careful not to conflate politicians with voters. Republicans and Republican politicians can be very different creatures. Same for Democrats.

  23. Gravatar of Michael Sandifer Michael Sandifer
    31. October 2022 at 04:56


    The Republican Party is entirely driven by its crazy base, and it’s cult around Trump. It certainly isn’t the formal Republican leaders who want to candidates like Walker running in general elections.

  24. Gravatar of dtoh dtoh
    31. October 2022 at 14:29

    Think you’re wrong. GOP voters are mostly driven by the bizarre PC, woke, cancel, pronoun police, anti-free speech, vitriolic, divisive, tribalistic transformation that’s turned the Democratic Party into something that would have been unrecognizable to any sane liberal 15 years ago.

    Very few Republicans actually like Trump or Walker but most would reluctantly choose either in preference to the putrescent political pustule that seems to have metastasized within the Democratic party.

  25. Gravatar of Michael Sandifer Michael Sandifer
    31. October 2022 at 19:37


    The only candidates many Republicans can support are crazy, bigoted conspiracy nuts, and outright crooks, because of woke-ism and cancel culture? There are reasonable Republicans like Mayor Suarez in Miami, who doesn’t try to deny climate change, for example, in a city that’s dealing with flooding due to rising sea levels. Why are such candidates almost entirely out of fashion in the Republican Party?

    Walker, MTG, Lauren Boebert, etc. are not only stupid, ignorant,and dishonest. They are literally trash. They don’t even know how to behave in public. I think it reflects the stupidity, ingorance, and moral depravity of the extremists in the Republican base that too often determine primary elections.

    The fact is, many of us on the left have long thought that there was a great deal of bigotry just under the surface in Republican voters and many politicians, and recent years has shown us to be 100% correct. Trump began his campaign for President with a bigoted speech, and a sizable portion of the Republican base were instantly in love.

    Yes, there’s an extremist element on the left that’s a problem, but it isn’t a problem for most people very often. I don’t know anyone personally who’s ever been cancelled or attacked for not using certain pronouns. On the other hand, the rising bigotry, violence, and authoritarianism on the right is threatening the future of the country.

  26. Gravatar of dtoh dtoh
    1. November 2022 at 05:10

    Michael Sandifer,

    Think you’re wrong. The narrative in the liberal media is always that the right is bigoted fascists. It always been the same, Reagan, Bush, Trump. Next it will be DeSantis is worse than Hitler. Democrats can’t win without demonizing their opponents because their policies don’t fly with a majority of voters.

    Look at the actual policies the parties are promoting. Nothing has changed in the Republican agenda, while the Democratic agenda and actual legislation and regulations has careened wildly to the left.

  27. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    1. November 2022 at 11:37

    dtoh, Given that GOP politicians are behaving just as cowardly as GOP voters, I suspect that the poll results are real. They lack the courage of their convictions.

  28. Gravatar of Michael Sandifer Michael Sandifer
    1. November 2022 at 12:31


    You wrote:

    “Nothing has changed in the Republican agenda, while the Democratic agenda and actual legislation and regulations has careened wildly to the left.”

    Nothing has changed in the Republican agenda? The Republican Party used to be pro-immigration. Now it’s anti-immigration. The Republican Party used to be the party of free trade. Now, they push trade wars and industrial policy. They used to at least pay lip service to fiscal restraint. That’s gone when they control the White House. They used to be the party that wanted to stay engaged in the world, exercising US hard and soft power. Now, they’re increasingly isolationist. They used to speak out against autocracy. Now, they worship autocrats like Putin and Orban. They used to be opposed to government stepping on business. Now, they cheer DeSantis when he attacks Disney for expressing political opinions and applying pressure. The Republican Party didn’t even have a national platform when Trump ran for re-election, because it’s become a personality cult.

  29. Gravatar of dtoh dtoh
    1. November 2022 at 16:23

    Michael Sandifer,
    Republicans under Trump passed the biggest free trade agreement in U.S. history. The only significant dissent was Democratic.

    The only change in Republican immigration policy is that the liberal media has now convinced it’s uncritical readers that anti-illegal immigration and anti-immigration are the same thing.

    Republicans worship Orban and Putin? Dude what planet do you live on?

  30. Gravatar of Michael Sandifer Michael Sandifer
    1. November 2022 at 20:00


    The trade agreement signed into law by Trump replaced NAFTA and represented slightly less free trade. What about the trade wars he started with China and the EU? Trade was less free when Trump left office than when he entered.

    On immigration, Trump didn’t put a blanket ban on immigration from many Muslim countries? Also, a growing number of Republican Congressional candidates are running on banning all immigration for years:


    And Republicans are increasingly opposing the entry of even legal asylum seekers:


    When it comes to Orban and Putin, you weren’t aware Orban spoke at CPAC this year?


    And you’ve completely missed pro-Putin Republicans?


  31. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    2. November 2022 at 09:40

    I agree with Michael. Substantial Republican support for Orban and (to a lesser extent) Putin (even if a distinct minority) is shameful.

    And Tucker Carlson has become one of the most influential GOP pundits.

  32. Gravatar of Effem Effem
    6. November 2022 at 00:40

    Are any political views deeply held? I don’t think so. They are all just loyalty tests for group cohesion: “believe this so we know you are on our side.”

    I can easily dig up plenty of Biden videos stressing the need for secure borders and a tough approach to crime, etc. Once those views were no longer fashionable they flipped. It is what it is.

  33. Gravatar of Brandon Berg Brandon Berg
    6. November 2022 at 18:23

    If you look at the full report that the chart came from, there was no significant change in the share of Republicans who think that abortion should be illegal in most or all cases. What we see in the chart above is that about 10% of Republicans shifting from “illegal in all cases” to “illegal in most cases.”

    My best guess as to what happened here is that hardliners who had never really thought about the edge cases were exposed to extensive media coverage of cases where it’s much harder to justify unqualified opposition to abortion, and slightly softened their positions.

  34. Gravatar of dtoh dtoh
    7. November 2022 at 12:36

    Michael Sandifer,
    Sorry for the slow response… day job.

    Freer trade for the U.S. Slightly less free trade for Canada. Pushing for fair trade does not equal opposition to free trade.

    China is not about trade. It’s about incapacitating an tyrannical regime that is an existential threat to civilization.

    Applying for legal asylum for many is just an end run around immigration law. Again Democrats think that changing the definition of legal immigration equals a change in the Republican position on immigration. Anyway since Hispanics are now shifting to the GOP, I’m sure it won’t be long before the Democrats want to build a wall (again for the second time.)

    If you think a significant portion of Republican voters support Putin or Orban, then you’re smoking dope.

  35. Gravatar of dtoh dtoh
    7. November 2022 at 12:45

    Michael and Scott,

    And BTW, when the U.S. Secretary of State meets with the Communist Prime Minister of Vietnam, does that mean all Democrats are communists?


    Honestly whenever the topic is politics, this site turns into a logic free zone.

  36. Gravatar of Michael Sandifer Michael Sandifer
    7. November 2022 at 16:16


    We have less free trade with the EU after Trump. Was the EU a threat to world security? There is no such thing as “fair trade”. Interesting that you adopt that nonsense, feel good, left-wing concept. I didn’t take you for a left-winger.

    And you way overstate the China threat. I favor a tougher approach to China and think we should militarily contain them in Asia, but they do not represent an “existential threat to civilization”. Xi is more a threat to China’s interest than to that of any other country. I’ve begun to seriously doubt they’ll escape the middle income trap. We should trade as freely as possible with China, without undermining our national security.

    When it comes to immigration, we should just accept every non-criminal who wants to come and let them stay as permanent residents for as long as they like. We have a rather severe labor shortage and baby boomers are still retiring, as population growth has almost completely stalled. Citizenship should be granted with considerably more strings attached, however. We should grant citizenship to any immigrant who serves in the military for at least 4 years, for example. Most social benefits should not be available to non-citizens, and non-citizens should not be allowed to vote.

    Meeting with with PM of Vietnam should concern me? lol Nixon opened relations with China and drank champagn with members of the Mao government. He also met with Brezhnev. He was right to do these things. Surely you wouldn’t say that the PM of Vietnam is more evil or more of a threat to the US than China and the Soviet Union were in Nixon’s time.

  37. Gravatar of dtoh dtoh
    8. November 2022 at 04:24

    Michael Sandifer

    I haven’t looked at trade with the EU, but I suspect changes have almost nothing to do with U.S. policy and lot to do with EU regulations and shifting patterns of comparative advantage.

    Absolutely some countries out-negotiate the U.S. on trade rules and then cheat on the rules. And absolutely this is not good for U.S. business owners and workers. If fair trade is not an issue, then why does every country on the planet seek to negotiate trade deals that give them a unilateral advantage.

    If you think China (or any large tyrannical country) is not an existential threat, then you need to re-read 7000 years of human history.

    I think your views on immigration prove my point. Republican views on immigration have not shifted, whereas, Democrats have dramatically shifted and now seem to favor unlimited immigration.

    I only raised the meeting with Vietnam’s PM to point out the flaw in your argument that Republicans are all fascists because some of them met with Orban. (I personally think the U.S. should forge much, much closer ties with Vietnam.)

  38. Gravatar of Michael Sandifer Michael Sandifer
    8. November 2022 at 08:31


    Unfortunately, your assumptions are entirely incorrect. Perhaps you should follow current event.

    Here’s a little background on Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs, for example:


    All trade barriers hurt economic growth and tariffs are taxes. Yes, many countries try to manage trade, but many also restrict immigration and business in ways that similarly don’t make sense. They do this to serve various special interests and to appeal to the ignorant assumptions of most citizens.

    You wrote:

    “If you think China (or any large tyrannical country) is not an existential threat, then you need to re-read 7000 years of human history.”

    If one merely looked at human history before the industrial revolutions, there would be little reason to think such things possible. I’m interested in what goes on today. Besides, there’s no such thing as 7000 years of history, as history as a modern discipline hasn’t even existed for anywhere near 1000 years.

    China can’t be an existential threat to us without being an existential threat to themselves. We have far more nuclear weapons than they do with far more diverse and otherwise superior delivery systems.

    And while China’s economy is larger than ours in real terms, it does not have the depth of the US economy. We are far wealthier-per-capita, which vastly more capital accumulation and technology.

    And, you’re dead wrong on immigration. Yes, Democrats are more immigration-friendly than in decades past, when the party was more reliant on union support. However, the Republican Party used to be the pro-immigration party and now has mostly turned against immigration, including legal immigration.

    Here’s Reagan’s last speech as President. This portion is basically a love letter to immigrants:


    Could he possibly be elected in the Republican Party with such views today?

    And here’s a 1980 Reagan versus Bush debate during the Republican primary:


    That shows it wasn’t just Reagan.

  39. Gravatar of dtoh dtoh
    8. November 2022 at 09:01

    Michael Sandifer,

    There is a difference between history and the study of history. Dude my brain is starting to hurt. And BTW you should probably read Tacitus and Thucydides. Or maybe you have and just need a refresher course in arithmetic.

    Re Reagan…. like I said there’s been virtually no change in the Republican position. The only people who think otherwise are uncritical NYT Kool-Aid swillers who believe that a thing is true simply because the high priests in their progressive cult tell them so.

    I can’t believe how un-selfaware the Democrats have become. This latest thing about a vote for the Republicans is a vote against Democracy, Social Security, Medicare, and apple pie…… really. Bunch of loonies!! Can’t you see it?

  40. Gravatar of Michael Sandifer Michael Sandifer
    8. November 2022 at 17:49


    I studied foreign policy as an undergrad, for what it’s worth. People who’ve done so understand that the modern history of the subject begins with the Peace of Westphalia in 1648. “History” too long before the advent of the modern state is simply not relevant. Ancient “historians” are irrelevant. They didn’t practice modern history, were pre-modern state, and pre-modern weapons, globalization, and modern issues.

    China would have to be suicidal to present an existential threat to us. That you reply with vague references to ancient thinkers is suggestive.

    On Republicans’ attitudes about immigration, you’re simply factually incorrect. You can’t get much news if you’re missing all the anti-immigrant rhetoric coming from Republican candidates across the country. You’re also ignoring Trump’s extremely anti-immigrant rhetoric.

    Here are some polls that illustrate how both Democrats and Republicans have changed on immigration:



    When it comes to Republicans ending democracy, most Republicans running this year deny that Joe Biden legitimately won the 2020 election. Some, like Kari Lake, have suggested that if they don’t win their elections, they will consider the results illegitimate.

    And Trump, of course, very publicly tried to overturn the Presidential 2020 election, and he’s still very popular among Republicans.

    I’ll end this exchange now, because I have better things to do than to have fact-free conversations.

  41. Gravatar of dtoh dtoh
    8. November 2022 at 20:01

    Enjoyed the conversation but still think you’re off base. You might try reading what conservatives say about conservative polices and thinking rather than relying on the narrative created by progressive media and think tanks.

    Also you continue to conflate anti-illegal immigration with anti-immigration. Doesn’t it occur to you that when total immigration has massively increased (almost all of it illegal) that a preference for lower immigration is not a change in attitude. Especially when the pollster says, “Gallup’s question about the direction of U.S. immigration doesn’t specify whether it refers to legal or illegal immigration..”

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