A Pro-Life To Do List for the 2012 Elections
In the aftermath of the 2010 elections, political observers immediately turned their sights toward the 2012 presidential election. The strength of Republican efforts in 2010 has provoked much discussion as to what could happen in 2012. However, in the wake of the Tucson tragedy, the unbridled enthusiasm by mainstream media to tar Conservatives and Republicans, and the serious political machine controlled by the Left, one should not be too glib with the prospects in 2012. Given the critical importance of these elections and what is at stake for pro-life advocates, I recommend the following efforts during 2011 in preparation for both federal and state elections in 2012.
1) Remember that all politics is local.
Tip O’Neill made the famous remark that all politics is local. That still remains true. Pro-lifers need to be involved in their local political parties, and they need to be involved in organizing at the grass roots. We need to organize and build our local and state pro-life organizations in practical, concrete, and effective ways. The spontaneous growth of the Tea Party Movement, and the frustration among voters regarding the economic shortcomings of our Nation and its leaders, can be a positive example of mobilizing people with respect to the life issues. The use of the Internet and social networking are very practical ways to currently organize at the grass roots. This effort should be orchestrated and done by state pro-life organizations that could also engage other pro-life organizations in their state as well. Networking is critical if local political efforts are going to translate into national political success. Once state and local pro-life organizations have built their grass roots networks, they can leverage that strength to speak to candidates, elected officials, and political parties about the importance of pro-life legislation. This may all sound basic, but, unfortunately, it is not being done. This effort will require a serious dedication of financial resources in order to bear fruit.
2) Tap into the youth.
Students for Life of America, Live Action, other student organizations, various college-related pro-life groups, all provide a tremendous opportunity for the Pro-Life Movement to fill the ranks of volunteers that political organizations need for 2012. We need to organize in 2011 and establish training for the next generation of pro-life activists on the college campus. National pro-life organizations should dedicate a serious portion of their budget to strengthen their own state and local chapters and encourage them to cooperate, coordinate, and support student organizations at those schools in their state.
3) Train, vet, and otherwise locate good candidates.
It’s not enough to organize chapters, reach out to the grass roots, and connect with other pro-life organizations; we have to find good candidates. And there should be an understanding, prior to any primary, about which candidates present the strongest and best opportunity to defeat pro-abortion incumbents or to defend pro-life seats from pro-abortion challengers. State organizations need to put aside whatever partisan problems have occurred in the past and concentrate on successfully defining the best electable pro-life candidate. Organizations should use the talents of those who have been successful in electing good, strong pro-life leaders. National and state organizations that have had historical differences should consider mediation and resolution for the sake of the overall cause. In the event groups can set aside past differences in order to concentrate on a successful 2012 effort, they should make such efforts to do so. The 2012 elections are as critical and important as any in the past. We wish to unseat a sitting President, take back the Senate and hold Republican leadership accountable for our past support. It is not enough for any politician to tell us that he or she is pro-life; the office holder must act accordingly. Thus, during 2011, we must demand the elimination of federal and state funding of Planned Parenthood, a review of the FDA’s approval of RU-486, and begin an investigation of the illegal and malevolent practices of Planned Parenthood. These are basic.
4) Be Politically Realistic in Congressional Districts that have Democrat Majorities.
There is nothing wrong with electing a genuine pro-life Democrat in a Democrat district. In fact, such energy and the effort can be far more effective if we can find a strong pro-life Democrat to run against a pro-abortion Democrat in a Democrat primary, and thus unseat him. Of course, the pro-life democrat must be principled and promise never to support a pro-abortion speaker. The Pro-Life Movement should not be so wed to its relationship with the Republican Party, either at the state or national level, as to not realize that it is better to have a pro-life Democrat in a congressional seat than a pro-abortion Republican. This is the year in which we stop giving allowances to those who give the Pro-Life Movement lip-service. Remember – 50 million dead babies. Those who claim to be pro-life better start acting like it.
5) Use the Internet and media advertising effectively.
We have the truth. We have the facts. Unborn children are people. Abortion hurts women. Abortion destroys families. We need to market the truth and the facts to the American people. We can sidestep the liberal mainstream media, but we need to have a game plan that addresses the real concerns of average Americans. We need to support those organizations that can produce an effective message that can counter the pollution of the current culture of death. Our creative minds need to think outside the box.
All of this is common sense. But it requires hard work, people who care, and those who want to move us beyond the status quo. There is no room for the egos that have sabotaged efforts and ideas in the past. At the same time, we cannot be so limiting as to not work with people who are willing to help us. As long as we do not compromise the end game, the total and complete protection under the law of all human persons, we should make alliances to win the victory.
By John J. Jakubczyk, a member-at-large of the Arizona Right to Life Board of Directors