If the Democratic Party intends to be competitive again in the South, a region where many of its own partisans call themselves pro-life, it needs to take the imaginative leap on abortion more often — as it did in recruiting candidates who helped build its last House majority way back in the misty years of 2006-2008.
But maybe Democrats do not want to be competitive in the Bible Belt. No retreat on feticide, no compromise with Gilead! Fair enough. Then presumably they should want to make up ground with more secular voters somewhere else — among all the lapsed Catholics and former Mainline Protestants scattered around the Midwest, for instance.
Some of these voters pulled the lever not once but twice for Barack Obama, and then voted Trump in part because of anxieties about recent immigration. So are the Democrats trying to dispel the impression that their party favors open borders? No, quite the opposite: As Vox’s Dara Lind pointed out this week, in the Trump era, no less than the Obama era, the Democrats are rejecting enforcement proposals many of them would have championed a decade ago — again, not coincidentally, the last period when they had control of Congress. Wooing immigration-wary Midwestern voters, like doing outreach to pro-life moderates in Alabama, is apparently not worth the compromises required.