Graham: GOP will suffer if it changes platform's support for life

Graham: GOP will suffer if it changes platform's support for life

Graham: GOP will suffer if it changes platform's support for life

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham says the narrative that a pro-life stance is a campaign killer is the false creation of the leftist media. But it’s one that the Republican Party may soon embrace with its official platform for next week’s convention in Milwaukee.

Republicans made no major changes to their platform in 2020 when Donald Trump lost his White House reelection bid. Now Trump is expected to have more influence on the party platform, ABC News and others are reporting. There are great concerns that Trump will use that influence to moderate the party’s stance on abortion.

Pro-life groups continue to petition Trump and his advisors to resist making significant changes to abortion language in the party platform.

Republican platform committee shake-up

While those efforts continue, the campaign blocked two staunch pro-life advocates from the platform committee, Politico reported last week, citing several members of the Republican National Committee. South Carolina delegates LaDonna Ryggs, a longtime party activist, and former state party chair Chad Connelly, have been ousted, Politico said.

Both had clearly stated their unwillingness to “water down” the platform’s positions on abortion, marriage or Israel, Politico reported.

Gun-ownership is also part of a two-prong series of lies, Graham said on Washington Watch Friday.

“The narrative that running as pro-life hurts you is a false narrative perpetrated by the media who wants us to be ashamed or afraid of embracing pro-life policies or Second Amendment policies. If you listen to the chattering class, the gun issue and the life issue hurt us,” Graham told show host Tony Perkins.

Graham told Perkins, who will be a member of the GOP platform committee, that he strongly disagrees. He said strong fundraising was a key to his last election win … but not the biggest key.

“I raised $112 million in my last race, the highest in the history of the Senate, except (for) my opponent who raised $132 million. We had money from all over the country, 5 and 10 bucks, a bunch of money coming in. What got me elected by over 10 points was people who knocked on doors and made phone calls on my behalf, people who believe in the sanctity of life and who want to protect the Second Amendment, the activists. All the people who write these checks are not going to make one phone call or knock on one door,” Graham said.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida) on CNN Sunday said he’s willing to change the GOP platform “to reflect the candidate.” That would be a very different change from Rubio’s stated positions when he sought the GOP nomination against Trump in 2016. Now he’s being mentioned as a possible Trump VP pick.

“I think our platform has to reflect our nominee, and our nominee’s position happens to be one grounded in reality. The reality … is the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, and what that basically means is now it’s not states, it’s voters at individual states who will get to decide how and at what level to restrict abortion if at all. Some states will have restrictions, some states will not. I hope our platform will reflect our nominee,” Rubio said on CNN’s State of the Union.

Ellis, Jenna Ellis

American Family Radio show host Jenna Ellis challenged the Florida senator for his apparent detour on the life issue.

“Rubio was a very pro-life candidate. What he said in 2016 from a principled position … he’s now changing his entire messaging and his entire stance based on an outcome he prefers, which is his own power grab. He wants to be Trump’s running mate, and he has to satisfy Trump instead of satisfying the principles and the objective of knowing that ultimately God is our only audience,” Ellis, host of Jenna Ellis in the Morning, said on Monday.

“He says our platform has to reflect our nominee. No, the platform should reflect truth. It should reflect principles. It shouldn't be just this ebbing-and-flowing nonsense and, as the Bible says, tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine,” Ellis added.

Platform change would damage GOP

Republicans will be in a “world of hurt” if they abandon long-held party beliefs on life and the Second Amendment, Sen. Graham stated. The key, he argued, is the presentation of the message.

Republicans need to lean into the differences they have with Democrats. Americans need to understand the different stages of pregnancy and just how far Democrats want to take abortion – until the moment a child is ready to leave the womb, Graham said.

“The Democratic Party is hell-bent on nationalizing the abortion issue, shutting down every pro-life law in every state, federalizing abortion so that you can have an abortion. Literally, late-term abortions will be legal – there will be no limits; they want to create a national law to allow abortion on demand in all 50 states up to the moment of birth,” Graham said.

“Do not be ashamed of being pro-life. It is a responsible position to take," Graham urged. "It is a position the American people will understand if you advocate it right. If you look scared and act scared, you will lose no matter what the issue is. Be not afraid – be pro-life.”

The same is true for gun ownership, he added.

“If you listen to the chattering class, the gun issue and the life issue hurt us. They do not. I’m a gun owner. I’m glad that we’re the party of the Second Amendment. A lot of people in big cities don’t own guns. That’s their right not to do it. I come from South Carolina. I own an AR-15. I served in the military for 30 years. It has the seal of my reserve unit on it. I’m a responsible gun owner,” Graham shared.

Party platforms have real meaning

Senators, representatives and presidents make their own governance decisions, but a party platform has influence. Research shows it’s not just a document that is shunned and forgotten after summer conventions.

That’s become especially true in recent years with increased polarization of the parties, Dr. Lee Payne, professor of political science at Stephen F. Austin University, told Perkins.

“Both parties are reverting to their ideological spectrums. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If Coke and Pepsi tasted the same, there would be no reason to pick one over another. When the parties became more polarized and their platforms became more divergent, it gives voters a [clearer] picture of what they’re voting for,” Payne said.

Payne found that 82.2% of votes cast took stands in accordance with party platforms. That was especially true among Republicans. The educator also found that Republicans voted in line with their platform 87.5% of the time compared to 69.7% of the time with Democrats.