It’s amusing to watch GOP candidates scrub their previously well-advertised support for banning abortion from their campaign websites ahead of the midterms. But it’s even more amusing to watch them forget how to speak a full sentence while failing to answer a simple yes or no question, since they’re now realizing the majority of Americans do not want Roe v. Wade overturned.
On September 7, Minnesota statehouse candidate Thomas Knecht got his tongue in a giant knot as he appeared to forget his pre-planned line when asked about abortion at a candidate forum hosted by the League of Women Voters Minnesota. It’s almost too on the nose.
“Yeah, abortion policy should reflect what the majority of Minnesotans want,” Knecht started to say before the moderator cut him off to remind him that all they want is an easy “yes or no, please.”
Knecht, who’s running for a seat representing an outer suburb of the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, looked confused, glanced around, and apologized. So the moderator clarified: “Please clearly state yes or no and then explain your answer in one minute.”
“Yea, so, ok. Abortion policy. Sorry,” he said, before awkwardly adjusting the microphone and seeming to mouth a couple of words to himself. “You can repeat it...if you want,” Knecht finally said, in a clear attempt to buy himself time.
So the moderator repeated herself. Again: “Would you vote to restrict abortion in any way in Minnesota?” Adding, for a fourth time, “Please state clearly yes or no and then explain your answer in one minute.”
Instead, Knecht fell deeper into the hole he’d dug for himself. “If this comes up, my abortion...I-I will vote,” he stumbled to say before bizarrely repeating words to himself again. “We need more nuance in this, the discussion. I would say yes, abortion policy.”
After a back-and-forth with an audience member, who is difficult to hear because they didn’t have a mic, Knecht finally (kind of) stuck the landing. But if you’re an abortion-loving Minnesotan, the complete sentence he managed to get out is still stupid and incomprehensible. “Abortion policy should be safe, legal, and we should ensure there are limits on post-viability procedures, so I would vote yes, we should have limits on post-viability procedures.” A “safe” and “legal” abortion policy, you say? Perhaps like Roe? Idiot. Unsurprisingly, his campaign site makes no mention of his views on abortion.
Honestly, I cannot imagine getting an easier question as a candidate, especially in our current political climate. If you’re anti-abortion, you say yes. If you’re pro-abortion, you say no. Knecht managed to say neither. As funny as it may be to watch Republicans scramble now that being anti-abortion might cost them their seat, it’s no less infuriating that they’re the ones who cried, whined, and screamed “MAGA” until our rights were rolled back in the first place.
“We can’t let the loudest and most extreme views, on either side of the aisle, silence the reasonable middle,” says Knecht’s campaign website. But if he’s the “reasonable middle,” then he’s doing a great job silencing himself.