Are Pro-Choice Politics Holding Back Democrats?

A sizable segment of Americans have such strongly held convictions opposing abortion that they are unwilling to vote for anyone who doesn’t identify as “pro-life.” If the Democratic Party were to ease away from a firm pro-choice stance, would they stand a better chance in subsequent elections?

We might start to see that seeming hypothetical put to the test now that Democratic officials have said they would be willing to give party campaign money to fund congressional candidates who don’t share the party’s ideology on abortion rights.

“There is not a litmus test for Democratic candidates,” said Representative Ben Luján, who also serves as the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “As we look at candidates across the country, you need to make sure you have candidates that fit the district, that can win these districts across America.”

Luján is not alone. Congressional leaders like Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi have also agreed that a litmus test is not beneficial to the party.

Strategically, it makes sense. Democrats are looking to flip 24 seats in the hope of regaining control of the House of Representatives in the 2018 election. In order to feasibly pull that off, the party will need to make an appeal to some strongly religious communities. Having a candidate that pledges to support Democrat policies while opposing abortion could be just the kind of compromise that sways voters from red to blue.

Let’s be clear – this news is in no way an announcement that the Democratic Party is courting anti-choice candidates or that many if even any will end up on the ballot next year. It is, however, an acknowledgement that Democrats are willing to back a candidate who don’t necessarily support a woman’s right to choose if it means having an extra voice in the House to protect so many of the other liberties at stake, particularly since the next major abortion battle would probably actually play out in the fluctuating Supreme Court.

Still, it’s a gamble for Democrats to go this route. The Democratic base is largely female and pro-choice, and they may feel betrayed that the Democratic Party would even consider funding someone with these views. After all, the party’s official platform does state an “unequivocal” support for reproductive health and abortion rights.

It’s also important to remember that the majority of Americans are now pro-choice. 69 percent of Americans believe that Roe v. Wade should be upheld – or at least not entirely overturned. That’s the strongest rate of support we’ve seen. (Heck, even a slight majority of Republicans think abortion should be an option in at least some circumstances.) If for no other reason, Democrats aren’t wrong to support access to abortions because it’s popular with voters.

Not all voters, though, which is why Democrats are amenable to assessing how this issue plays with specific districts. Liberals often criticize self-professed pro-lifers of caring only about fetuses and then disregard issues like economics and health care that help keep people alive. Perhaps reaching out to a crowd with a more consistently pro-life perspective (they do exist) will build some new bridges.

Ultimately, we’ll just have to see how this situation pans out. It’s going to take a delicate balance to make a play for House seats without upsetting the registered Democrats who wouldn’t want to see any concessions made when it comes to abortion.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

80 comments

Christina S
Christina S1 months ago

Abortion should always be available to women no matter the party affiliation. It's sad that there isn't a united government. There is no need for separate parties, except to keep us separated irregardless of all the rhetoric.

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One Heart i
One Heart i2 months ago

Thanks!!!

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Carl R
Carl R2 months ago

Thanks!!!

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Margie F
Margie FOURIE2 months ago

Okay

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One Heart i
One Heart i2 months ago

Thanks!!!

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Carl R
Carl R2 months ago

Thanks!!!

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Dan B
Dan B2 months ago

Chad A.,
Not sure where you are getting you information, but the pollsters disagree. A recent Gallup poll showed that 29% want abortion legal under all circumstances (pro-choice). Another 21% support legalized abortion, but only under certain circumstances.

http://www.gallup.com/poll/1576/abortion.aspx

http://www.gallup.com/opinion/polling-matters/214331/abortion-americans-discern-immoral-illegal.aspx?g_source=ABORTION&g_medium=topic&g_campaign=tiles

http://www.gallup.com/poll/211901/abortion-attitudes-stable-no-consensus-legality.aspx?g_source=ABORTION&g_medium=topic&g_campaign=tiles

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JT S
JT Smith2 months ago

https://ace910046sca1.blogspot.com/2016/12/its-neither-spoiler-nor-protest-vote.html

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JT S
JT Smith2 months ago

My reference to the media is in regards to how we've been hearing for decades that voting for a third-party candidate is a wasted vote. Let's face it, the media is owned by the elites [http://www.whiteoutpress.com/timeless/who-owns-the-american-media-here-s-the-list735/], and the elites are the ones who try to give us only two candidates between two parties every election cycle. The media has been burying all the various third-parties, and the media has control of the vetted information. Examples: "Mainstream media ignore third-party Senate challengers" [http://www.coloradoindependent.com/159013/colorado-local-news-media-2], "These 6 Corporations Control 90% Of The Media In America" [http://www.businessinsider.com/these-6-corporations-control-90-of-the-media-in-america-2012-6], "Media Deception: You Are *Not* Getting The Truth" [http://www.newsfocus.org/media_control.htm], and "10 Brilliant Quotes by Noam Chomsky on How Media Really Operates in America" [http://www.alternet.org/media/10-brilliant-quotes-noam-chomsky-how-media-really-operates-america]. The dual party system as a whole has been sold to you. Frankly, you do better to stay well clear of American corporate media for your important information.

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JT S
JT Smith2 months ago

For a long time now, the Democratic and Republican parties have effectively controlled American politics between them while blocking out any other parties from truly participating. And thanks to the cozy nature of the relationships between those two parties and the media, the American public has been told ad nauseum that a vote for any other party's candidate would be waste of a vote. As a result, people accept this blindly without realizing that the status quo *can* and will change if enough people say: ''No more!''

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