Thursday, February 24, 2005

Senator Anti-Choice

Yglesias muses on the subject of running anti-choice senatorial candidates. Let me play against type here and regarding the two examples -- PA and RI -- they're probably special cases.

In PA, the question isn't whether running an anti-choice Democrat in general is a good idea (it isn't - keep trying it, keep failing). The question is whether running an anti-choice Democrat named Casey is a good idea (by good idea we mean maximizing chance of beating Santorum, not any other considerations which are of course important). Casey's a popular politician with high statewide name recognition (in a state which lacks many politicians with such recognition), and his popularity or electability don't have all that much to do with his positions on abortion.

In RI, the situation is much the same. Jim Langevin is popular, and would probably clobber Chafee, who isn't.

The fact that they're anti-choice will probably get both of them crossover votes. But, on the other hand lots of RI Democrats would likely vote for Chafee and in PA lots of pro-choice people probably just would not vote.

I don't think running anti-choice candidates in PA and RI is a smart thing to do generally, but that's a separate question from whether its a smart thing to run anti-choice candidates named Casey and Langevin. It's the people, not the policies. be clear, I'm not making the argument that we need to run these people. I'm simply saying the reason consider running them is their personal popularity, not because of some need to embrace anti-choice politicians and policies. If the Dems are desperately hunting for anti-choice candidates to run in these places because they believe being anti-choice is a political winner, they're idiots. In these two states, however, I highly doubt that's the reason. Whether or not these two people are the ones who would be most likely to beat their opponents (IMHO: Langevin yes, but others could beat Chafee too, and Casey quite possibly not) is debatable, and of course other considerations apply

...obviously, I wasn't clear. Abigail writes "Atrios implies that it’s okay for the Democrats to support anti-choice candidates in the elections in RI and PA, because the more important fight is to defeat the Republicans." That's not what I meant to write or imply or anything else. All I'm saying is if the Dems are recruiting Casey and Langevin for Senate runs, it isn't because of some grander strategy to become the anti-choice party, it's because they can win. Whether or not that's "okay" is an entirely separate issue.