What’s Going On: A pro-life Democrat? Impossible!

What’s Going On

A few months ago, everyone’s favorite Democrat, House Minority Leader and Empress of Liberaland (aka California) Nancy Pelosi ruffled quite a few donkey feathers by stating a voter, and even candidates can be pro-life and be a Democrat.

Oh My! Gasp! What did she say? Pro-life AND Democrat?

What’s next? An anti-gun Republican?

Okay, the latter is absurd but the former has and is happening internally with the Democratic party, which not coincidentally, is still trying to figure out how they not only lost Congress and The White House, but how to win them back.

As a result, the party is trying to broaden its appeal and reach some of the moderates who place added emphasis on the abortion issue.

Donald Trump infamously joked early in the presidential campaign that he could stand in Times Square and shoot someone and people would still vote for him. That may or may not have been true, but what is certain is if he said anything other than “I’m pro-life” he never would have won the Republican nomination, much less the general election.

Trade agreements, immigration policy, tax reform, even health care and domestic security simply don’t move the needle politically like abortion does. There are a lot of Christians who begrudgingly supported Trump simply because they didn’t want a liberal pro-life Democrat choosing possibly three supreme court justices who would rule on future abortion cases.

So in many regards, this makes sense for the Democrats. This is smart, albeit late to the game political strategy that might help reclaim some of their recent losses not only at the national but state and even municipal level as well. In fact, this issue became a hot button topic again after former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders campaigned on behalf of a pro-life Democrat running for mayor in Omaha, Neb. Pelosi also reportedly sent the candidate a $1,000 campaign contribution to show her support of the pro-life Democrats.

However, regardless of how smart a move this is politically, it has caused a great deal of strife within the Democratic party.

Critics have been loud and vocal, with a Newsweek story this week referring to the party besieged in a “civil war.” In that article, critics used words and phrases such as “betrayal, dangerous, short-sighted,” and “ethically and politically bankrupt strategy.”

Another prominent Democrat, former presidential candidate Howard Dean, has said he’ll no longer financially support the party.

I can’t imagine this kind of response from the more left-leaning faction of the Democratic party wasn’t expected. We would expect a similar reaction in the Republican party if Mitch McConnell announced they would start considering pro-choice candidates.

As such, I’m also assuming those Democratic powers that be are willing to gamble that as upset as their core constituency may be today, they will eventually accept the reality of the approach. It is an approach with some risk, its dangers exposed by the Republican party just a few years ago.

After their own bitter losses with President Obama’s election in 2012, the far-right wing of the GOP fractured off and formed the Tea Party. As a result, a weakened Republican party was steamrolled by the newly elected president and Democratic legislature, allowing passage of the now-dreaded Affordable Care Act.

Now, it’s the Democrats’ turn to lick their wounds and watch their party fracture. What’s different, though, about today compared to eight years ago is the Republican party is anything but united or functional. Between the election investigation, chaos in the White House, and inability to pass health care legislation, they are anything but a unified party.

For someone like me, who would love to see our two-party system disappear one way or another, watching both parties split into two is tantalizing. But that’s all it is as I realize, sadly, by the time there is another election both parties will rally and return to their partisan ways.

And I’m fairly certain there will in fact be pro-life Democratic candidates at those elections. There’s an old sports’ saying that winning cures all ills. That holds true in politics as well, a lesson Democrats are trying to learn.


Gregory Orear is the publisher of The Journal. His award-winning weekly column, “What’s Going On,” has been published in four newspapers in three states for more than 20 years. He can be contacted at gorear@nujournal.com.


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