The Donald Trump interview with Chris Matthews a few days ago provided a microcosm of how biased media and faulty political strategy intertwine. It epitomizes the pathetic lows to which political discourse has reached. The video making the rounds on the internet is a five-minute interaction regarding abortion.
There are two vital issues in this interaction that elude the electorate, and yet they are critical to understanding the foolish position Republicans are repeatedly taking on a needlessly hot-button issue, and how biased the media is against the Right.
The default answer that any anti-abortion presidential candidate should have when asked about the matter should be this:
“Regrettably, abortion is the law of the land. The only way it can be changed is via a constitutional amendment, or the Supreme Court reversing itself. Neither will ever happen, and the president has absolutely no power under the Constitution to be involved with either one of them. Next question.”
A Constitutional Amendment first requires 2/3 of the House of Representatives to pass a resolution. That means Republicans would have to control 2/3 of the House. It will never happen. Even if it did, it would take 38 state legislatures to approve it. No chance.
SCOTUS will never reverse itself on abortion. The court has only reversed itself 123 times in American history, and only eight times on issues of common law. No chance.
The same, by the way, applies to an answer on gay marriage. It tells those who oppose both of these matters that the candidate sides with them morally, but legally, he literally has no influence on the matter.
That’s what Trump should have said.
On a totally separate issue, having already made the mistake of announcing his position on abortion, Trump still could have won some ground. He could have made Matthews look like a fool and missed an opportunity. That’s unusual for him. He’s usually a master media manipulator. He started down the right path, trying to trap Matthews by asking how Matthews reacted to the Catholic Church’s stance on abortion. Matthews is Catholic.
Matthews said, when asked how he would respond to the Church’s condemnation of abortion, “I accept your moral authority, yet in the United States, the people make the decisions, the courts rule on what’s in the Constitution, and that’s what we live by…I’m not running for president, can we get back to matters of the law?”
Now, Trump does hit him on this, saying, “You don’t live by it, because you don’t accept it, you can’t accept it.” But he didn’t pull the tapestry together. What he should have said, and pushed on, was Matthews’ hypocrisy by saying something like this:
“Chris, you say you accept the church’s moral authority. That moral authority includes, and I’m sure you agree, that all of the following are immoral: murder, rape, assault, theft, and breaking a contract. Right?”
“Yes, I agree.”
“Our laws are based on these same fundamental concepts of morality. We punish those things that are immoral. You have admitted that all these other things are immoral and society, in fact, does punish them through the law and the courts do rule on them based on what’s in the Constitution. So why should abortion be any different?”
Boom. Matthews would be trapped.
Trump could have then added the icing to the cake: “This is the problem with abortion. It’s immoral. The Church says so. You admit it. But the Left cannot frame the issue as being one of murder, because it’s a no-brainer loser. So the Left’s only choice is to frame it as an issue of choice, so it can turn the tables and make claims about how Republicans want to control women.”