Scrap the Electoral College? Protect-late Term Abortion? Beto O'Rourke Faces New Litmus Test Issues

CONROY, N.H. - Less than a week into his presidential campaign, Beto O'Rourke has been forced to stake or defend positions on issues that went untouched or unnoticed in last year's Texas Senate campaign.On Wednesday, for the third straight day, he faced questions about late-term abortion, which has become something of a litmus test in the 2020 primary race as candidates position themselves as the most ardent defenders of abortion rights.He's called for adding a half-dozen U.S. Supreme Court seats, drawing fire from the president.And he's echoed Sen. Elizabeth Warren in arguing for direct national elections, wiping away the Electoral College system in place for centuries."It's very hard to explain to ourselves, we who purport to be the world's greatest democracy, that the person who got 3 million more votes was the loser in the last presidential election," he said at his first campaign stop in New Hampshire, referring to Hillary Clinton's edge over President Donald Trump in 2016.Presidential campaigns have a way of smoking out candidates on topics they hadn't prepared white papers on, nor planned to emphasize. It's a minefield for candidates hoping to excite Democratic activists without coming off as polarizing. Republicans are already exploiting some of these issues to paint O'Rourke and others as radical.The late-term abortion issue cropped up first when O'Rourke was stumping Monday in Cleveland, his fifth day in the 2020 race."Are you for third-trimester abortions?" a woman asked, arguing that such procedures are never medically necessary. "Are you going to protect the lives of third-trimester babies?"The question is about abortion and reproductive rights," O'Rourke replied, reframing the question as he paraphrased it for the crowd. "And, my answer to you is, that that should be a decision the woman makes.... I trust her."The crowd cheered.  Continue reading...

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