Rudy Giuliani's loss in Florida solidifies the expectation that he won't be the Republican nominee. We can expect a presidential campaign in which a pro-life Republican will be competing with a pro-choice Democrat. The next Supreme Court appointment has the potential to overturn Roe v. Wade, and I suspect that some of the liberal members of the Supreme Court are interested in retiring, but would prefer to wait for a liberal President before doing so. For that and other reasons, abortion ought to be a major issue in this upcoming presidential campaign.
I doubt that it will be widely perceived or treated as a major issue, though. We're already hearing that the economy is the issue of most interest to voters. I don't doubt that polling data, but I suspect that the public perception of which issues are most important is highly malleable and shaped largely by the media. Most of the media will give a lot of attention to issues like the economy and healthcare while neglecting abortion.
But a presidential candidate has a lot of opportunities to communicate with the public and alter the public perception of which issues are most important. I hope that the Republican nominee, probably John McCain, will use those opportunities better than his predecessors have. I doubt that he will, though. He'll probably take an approach similar to what we've seen from other recent Republican candidates. He'll argue for the pro-life position when asked about it, which won't happen often, and he'll argue for it mostly in vague terms and without much persuasiveness. It will be beneficial to have a pro-life President in office, and a lot of good will result from it on issues like the appointment of judges. But there will be a lot of missed opportunities.
Given how much attention issues like the economy and healthcare receive, I'd like to see a pro-life candidate discuss the connection between issues like those and abortion. What effect does the elimination of tens of millions of people from a population have on the economy? On social security? On our competition with other nations, including nations that are hostile toward the United States and have higher birth rates? Etc. The pro-life side of the abortion argument seems to be winning in America, but probably would be winning much more effectively if the political leaders in the movement would be better informed, more courageous, and more innovative. I don't expect to see that this year, but maybe we'll see some small steps in the right direction.