Donald Trump May Be Losing Key Voting Bloc – One of former President Donald Trump’s rivals has won a recent straw poll taken from a critical Republican constituency – young, pro-life voters. Members of Students for Life Action voted that they prefer Florida Governor Ron DeSantis for president instead of Trump. The poll was taken after the annual March for Life rally on the weekend of January 21.
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What Were the Results of This Poll?
No other candidate scored over two percent. The voting happened at the National Pro-Life Summit in Washington, DC. The straw poll asked around 2,000 attendees their preferences.
Donald Trump May Have Taken Eye Off the Ball
Trump may have struggled to inspire these pro-life activists after blaming less than stellar 2022 Midterm election results on the abortion issue – that the end of Roe v. Wade influenced some to vote against Republicans.
That may have been where the anti-abortion group members saw that Trump’s commitment to the pro-life issue has waned.
Do Not Make Pro-Lifers Mad
Hawkins has stated in an op-ed that DeSantis and others have been more consistent in their views on abortion even though Trump nominated three Supreme Court justices who were instrumental in sending the regulation of abortion back to the states.
Trump’s Pick of the Litter Was Weak on Abortion
Meanwhile, Trump-backed politicians like “Dr. Mehmet Oz and Blake Masters who failed to clearly define their pro-life convictions — whatever they were — failed to win votes,” Hawkins wrote.
Trump said earlier this month the abortion view that “insisted on no exceptions, even in the case of rape, incest, or life of the mother,” negatively affected GOP support.
Hawkins referred to her members as part of a pro-life generation and implied that they need complete dedication against abortion to get their vote.
Trump Can Come Back
While this poll is bad news for Trump it is not a death blow.
He has just started his presidential campaign and has plenty of time to win back the support of pro-life activists.
He will soon be starting his country-wide rallies and speeches in which he can extoll his anti-abortion bona fides. One speech that will be important is his address to the annual right-wing CPAC meeting in early March. CPAC typically has a high percentage of college-aged attendees, so Trump can speak to them directly.
There will also be another straw poll at CPAC that will measure his support.
Don’t Neglect the Youth Vote
But Donald Trump cannot afford to lose young people in their twenties. Republicans tend to underperform among these Generation Z voters.
He needs as many votes from this bloc as possible to maintain the fractious conservative coalition needed to be victorious in the primary.
Consider Trump Warned
Hawkins threw down this gauntlet of a warning against Trump. “Pro-life voters are looking for a passionate defense of mother and child and a commitment to act,” said Hawkins. “A throwaway line in a speech will not cut it with the Pro-Life Generation.”
Trump said he was “very pro-choice” during an interview on Meet the Press in 1999 but he changed his stance by the time he first ran for president in 2015. Trump needs to do well with evangelical conservatives in his re-match with President Joe Biden. Winning a Republican primary without conservative Christian support will be difficult. Other candidates who have not declared yet could carve out a niche of evangelicals who may be looking for new faces instead of Trump.
The former president may need to adjust his messaging during public pronouncements not to alienate young pro-life supporters and Christian primary voters since their support cannot be taken for granted.
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Author Expertise and Experience: Serving as 19FortyFive’s Defense and National Security Editor, Dr. Brent M. Eastwood is the author of Humans, Machines, and Data: Future Trends in Warfare. He is an Emerging Threats expert and former U.S. Army Infantry officer. You can follow him on Twitter @BMEastwood. He holds a Ph.D. in Political Science and Foreign Policy/ International Relations.