Pro-life Democrats must feel like they’ve sustained whiplash over the last few months. First, DNC chair Tom Perez declares that the party is off-limits to pro-life candidates. Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin grudgingly allows that they can think pro-life, but must vote pro-abortion. Perez later launches an effort to mollify pro-abortion Democrats, which encouraged Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chair Ben Ray Lujan to announce that abortion will not be a litmus test when recruiting House candidates in the 2018 midterms.
Responding to the backlash, the DCCC has emphasized that its mission is to win back the House precisely so that Democrats can legislate on the party platform. “Protecting a woman’s health care, her right to choose, and her economic security are fundamental tenets of the Democratic Party, and as long as Republicans control Congress and the White House those values are constantly at risk,” DCCC spokeswoman Meredith Kelly said in a statement.
Any talk of general-election matchups is largely hypothetical, with the midterms more than a year away. The DCCC doesn’t typically make endorsements or provide financial backing in primaries, and Kelly emphasized that “primary voters and local groups will ask candidates where they stand on the issues and select their nominees.” However, that doesn’t mean the committee is hands-off until then: It has already started recruiting candidates that it hopes will run in 2018—people who, according to Kelly, “are authentic and represent the values of the party.” A DCCC aide added that the committee “is not proactively looking for candidates with poor records on choice and abortion rights.”
As for the organization that speaks for around a quarter of all Democrats nationwide, the DCCC says … Don’t call us, we’ll call you:
The organization also seems intent on distancing itself from pro-life activists. Kristen Day of Democrats for Life of America, a nonprofit organization that bills itself as the pro-life “wing” of the Democratic Party, told me the “lines of communication are open” between her group and the campaign committee, and she believes they’ll be able to work together. But Kelly pushed back against that idea: “The DCCC has no interest in working with Democrats for Life of America, despite their attempts.”
This is utterly bizarre, especially given the election results over the last four cycles for Democrats in the House. They’ve roped off large swaths of the country with their all-in for abortion on demand and other progressive-agenda priorities. Democrats desperately need to broaden their reach, but instead are telling the 23-25% of Democrats that are pro-life that they’re not welcome at all. How exactly will that help them in the vast number of districts outside of the college towns and coastal enclaves to which the DCCC and other party leadership are clearly pandering?
Kristin Day and her group insists that they’re not looking to change the party platform; they just want to feel like the party is not openly hostile to them. What’s the DCCC response? A sneering statement about their “attempts” to work with them.
Not to overuse a line that’s become a cliché, but: And they wonder how they got Trump. Hillary Clinton fully embraced the unlimited-abortions-on-demand agenda in 2016, even campaigning against the very popular Hyde Amendment language that prevents taxpayers’ dollars from funding abortions. How did that work out for Democrats in 2016, and how do they think it will work out in 2018, when Senate Democrats have to defend ten seats in Trump country?
Kristin and the 23-25% of Democrats who oppose abortion may have to admit that they belong not to the Democratic Party, but the Abortion Party. The rest of us can just pass the popcorn.
Update, 8/15: It was my colleague Cortney O’Brien who wrote the Townhall piece, not Matt Vespa. My apologies to Cortney, and thanks to Matt for correcting the record.