Trust flies out the window

Published May 2, 2024

By Carter Wrenn

Planned Parenthood’s spending a ton of money – $10 million – to elect pro-abortion candidates in North Carolina.

Eyes locked on white suburban women it’s running digital ads, knocking on a million doors to elect Joe Biden, the Democrat candidate for governor, and break the Republican super-majority in the state House and Senate.

The first time George Holding ran for Congress, before the general election, sitting in my office Arthur Finkelstein laid a poll on the table, pointed to one number: That’s the key, he said, white suburban women – swing voters.

Most were married, raising children, worked 9 to 5, went to church, were college graduates – but they didn’t fit any political mold: They shared traditional values, believed less government worked better than big government, but, at the same time, wanted to spend more – a lot more – on schools.

Leaning back, listening, my hair white, I thought, I’ve spent a good part of my life trying to figure out my wife but she’s still a mystery to me – and now Arthur’s telling me to win an election l’ve got to figure out a 45-year-old woman who lives in a suburb who probably wasn’t raised the South.

George’s Democrat opponent slammed him on abortion – not a finger to the wind politician, he gave a simple answer, said he opposed abortion except when a mother’s life was in danger, explained he believed that because of his faith. It was one of his religious beliefs. He knew many people didn’t agree. But that was where he stood.

An honest answer yielded an unexpected blessing: A lot of women did disagree. But at the same time they appreciated George leveling with them and respected his standing up for his religious beliefs.

10 years later, at the end of last year’s election, a candidate for State House sat down in my office, played a video showing him saying he thought life began at conception and that’s the reason he wanted to limit abortions.

I asked: ‘Is your opponent attacking you on abortion?’

He said: ‘In an ad.’

I nodded to his video: ‘Put what you said in an ad. Tell people where you stand. And why.’ 

He folded his hands on the table in front of him, frowning, said the Republicans leading the State House Campaign Committee were telling him to ignore abortion, not to say a word about it. I said:

‘Dodging won’t work.’

He dodged. And lost.

Abortion’s back on the table this election – and that’s a tough fight for conservative candidates to face. An uphill fight. But that fight’s about more than just abortion. When a candidate’s conscience tells him something is wrong he should stand up for what he thinks is right – not do what’s clever or popular. People may disagree but even when they do they’ll appreciate his straight talk – and they may vote for him even though they disagree.

On the other hand, if a candidate ‘bobs and weaves,’ dodging and hiding, they’ll see him as a politician – then, even worse, trust flies out the window.