When I wrote the three paragraphs for "Pigeonhole this" (below) I intended to save them and flesh the thought out a little more, then post it. Instead, I hit "publish" and it appeared. Here's a little more on that train of thought.
"Republicans" are generally thought to be more "conservative" than "Democrats," who are generally labeled "liberal" by "conservatives." This appears to me to be almost entirely based on one issue: abortion.
More than any other issue, abortion seems to define the camp in which one places oneself and in which others place people. It's THE issue on which a significant segment of the South Dakota legislature thinks it was elected, although it was the candidates' economic talk that provided the skin stretched over their antipathy towards folks having control over what goes on within their own bodies.
I'm a libertarian, and I identify myself as a fiscal conservative. That derives from my inclination to think that I have a greater right to determine what I do with my flesh and the fruits of my labor than does the "government," which in practice is not what we want to think of it in theory. Government in practice is a group of folks deciding what to do with me and my labors.
I also think that anyone has a right to discard any growth in or on his body. My brother went to Mexico to have 5/6 of his stomach removed because he thought he didn't need it. A less expensive route would have been for him to stop stuffing it with one-pound steaks and one-pound desserts, but it was HIS stomach (and his money). Even most anti-abortion folks would agree with me on that. I thiiiinnnnk?
Those opposing individual choice on abortion (TOICOAs) hold that, once a sperm and an ovum have met and bonded, that bond was ordained by God, and interrupting their combined growth is synonymous with murder. Of course, once one sees murder in progress, one has no moral choice but to oppose it.
Consistency, of course, demands that if one believes that God has directed every specific sperm and specific ovum which meet and grow to meet and grow, God also directed the humans involved in the conjugation to hook up at Cheers, drink tequila, and forget to buy a rubber before they grappled in the Escalade. Consistency demands that one of that mental warp also accept that God directed the actions of Ted Klaudt.
TOICOAs (pronounced toy-quahs), as best I can tell, think that pregnancy, birth and the nearly-two-decade commitment to raising a child are proper punishment--whimsically directed by God--for having chosen one or more unwise steps during a three- or four-hour period of one day in one's life. The objectionable behavior is, apparently, forgiven by God in the majority of such cases. Fortunately, in the majority of such cases, God does not direct the sperm and ova in question to meet and grow, thus allowing the pleasure of the objectionable behavior without the pain. The Lord thy God is a whimsical Lord.
A TOICOA can hold reasonable views (although most, in my experience, don't) on just about any other facet of life; can hold forth logically on the dangers of over-reaching government in fiscal matters, for example. TOICOAs, however, absorb immense amounts of legislative time attempting to assure that government will over-reach. A government powerful enough to decide--and prosecute the decision--that God has directed a specific sperm and ovum to join, grow, exit a womb and become a taxpayer (even Ted Klaudt was a taxpayer) is a government powerful enough to decide that God has directed that only the government can direct which sperm and ova will join and grow.
And that is how abortion has become not the principal issue in political campaigns, but the ONLY issue.