There is a litmus test.
Before 1973, abortion was an issue for state legislatures. The Supreme Court then made it a national issue, deciding that states couldn’t infringe on what is supposedly a civil right. Abortion has it all as a hot button issue. It involves religion, sex and death, three things no one wants to talk about in pleasant company. The SCOTUS decision also set the stage for the Moral Majority and eventually the religious right.
Lately, Republican candidates have either not been interested in talking religion as politics, like Mitt Romney, or had questionable histories themselves, like John McCain. Bush made it a significant aspect of his campaign, crediting faith with straightening out his life. In Donald Trump’s case, he only checked off two boxes. He was a Christian, and he was against abortion.
Donald Trump made some concessions early in his campaign, like reversing his disloyalty oath from the first debate. He also made a point to say that he was pro-life, even though he spent years advocating abortion choice when asked. Of course, religious conservatives had the option of choosing Hillary Clinton instead, who was even more liberal than her husband and more interested in a legacy of left-wing laws than Obama.
The one thing that I’ve said about the post-Bush Republican party is that they are purging the religious component. They are totally cool with gays, as long as they don’t actually shut down bakeries over weddings. Abortion is even an optional stand, depending on the state. Democrats are encouraging this, often focusing attacks on religious conservatives.
This Redstate piece only adds to the perils in trading fleeting victories for authentic values. It is entirely possible that some nice, Midwestern Democrat with an unremarkable record and a wholesome family could get just enough Electoral votes to win in 2020.