I understand the necessity of Democrats pivoting to the center on abortion rights, but the move still troubles me. Protecting a woman’s right to reproductive healthcare is one of the most important battles of our generation. At the same time, promoting Democratic candidates in red states where the GOP might otherwise win is necessary to the 50 state strategy that Democrats abandoned over a decade ago.
Here in Louisiana, we have a conservative, anti-choice governor in John Bel Edwards. I certainly do not agree with him on abortion rights, but he did expand Medicaid and supports raising the minimum wage. Edwards is fairly progressive on issues like prison reform, especially by red state standards.
Abortion is a wedge issue that the GOP has exploited for decades. They have convinced religious people to vote against their interests and elect politicians who have opposed abortion, but made everything else turn to shit.
The news that Democrats will support anti-abortion candidates is troubling, but let’s unpack the issue.
Democrats will not withhold financial support for candidates who oppose abortion rights, the chairman of the party’s campaign arm in the House said in an interview with The Hill.
Rep. Ben Ray Luj n (D-N.M.) said there will be no litmus tests for candidates as Democrats seek to find a winning roster to regain the House majority in 2018.
“There is not a litmus test for Democratic candidates,” said Luj n, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairman. “As we look at candidates across the country, you need to make sure you have candidates that fit the district, that can win in these districts across America.” (The Hill)
Let’s say that there is a Democrat running in a deep red district who wins the primary and faces off against a rabidly anti-abortion Republican who also opposes the minimum wage, Obamacare, sensible gun regulations, and supports Trump policies while standing in front of a burning cross.
Obviously this is a bit of a caricature, but which of the two would you rather vote for? Sure, the Democrat doesn’t line up with you on 90% of the issues you are passionate about. On the other hand, would you vote for the Republican who you oppose 100%? Obamacare is the law of the land, thanks to Bart Stupak, an anti-abortion Democrat who voted for it after a couple of concessions.
Blue state Democrats don’t have this problem, but those of who live in places like Louisiana do. When we do get a viable Democrat running against a right-wing Republican outside of New Orleans, that Democrat is often anti-abortion, at least on their platform.
I sure as hell don’t like it, but it’s better than the alternative. If I lived in New York or California, this wouldn’t be an issue. However, this is the Bible Belt we’re talking about. Convincing older, conservative Democrats to abandon the decades of Southern Strategy brainwashing is hard enough on race, abortion is a whole different fight.
Given the choice between only a hard-right Republican and a moderate Democrat representing me here in Louisiana, I’ll take the Democrat every time. You can get the Democrat to vote with your views more often than the American Taliban. It’s not perfect but it’s far better than the alternative.