The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) has recently reversed its position and began to fund pro-life Democratic candidates. As a lifelong defender of a woman’s right to choose, someone wanting to further fund and value Planned Parenthood and a self proclaimed progressive, I believe that the DCCC should in fact continue to fund these candidates.
These Democrats will never win in deep blue areas along the coast, big cities or in the north. They would never win a primary vs pro-choice candidates. And for good reason. However, there’s an opportunity for Democrats to gain valuable seats in areas where we have given up for decades – rural America and in the south. I am fine with not funding them during the primaries, but when they are the sole candidate going versus a Republican in the general, we should fund them.
It’s a simple answer to a simple question. If the primaries are complete and it’s the general election, there’s two names on the ballot – Do you want someone who agrees with you on almost nothing (the Republican who inevitably gets elected) or do you want someone who you disagree with on abortion, but you agree with on almost everything else? No matter how staunch of a progressive and believer in the right to choose that you are, it is basic logic that you want the person who you agree with the most to represent you, especially when it’s about a lot of subjects.
If we’re living in a perfect utopia, of course, I want no candidate elected who doesn’t believe firmly in pro-choice, but that is not the reality we live in. Someone will get elected, regardless of what we want our perfect world to look like. Republicans are sent to Congress and the Senate all the time, representing virtually nothing of what Democrats from their state wish for. If those same Democratic citizens are forced to have a candidate who is pro-life, wouldn’t they want that Representative to agree with them on everything else? Unless you’re a single issue voter, of which we constantly demonize and tarnish the right for being, you wouldn’t want that.
All of this is not to say that the Democratic party is moving more to the right. In fact, it’s quite the opposite of that. More victories yielding more elected representatives who aren’t climate-deniers, want to raise the minimum wage, transition to universal healthcare and more progressive policies means we’re moving to the left as a nation. These candidates already exist, and we already wish for their success, we just simply do not fund them to help give them a fighting chance. Heath Mello’s recent Nebraska loss of just a few points contributed to Democrats across the country feeling depressed over yet another loss. We wanted him to win, yet we lack the courage of conviction to help him to do so.
Mello’s campaign is a great example of the division that we on the left constantly inflict upon ourselves. Rather than coalescing for victory, we divide and separate. We call for purity tests, meaning if you do not believe exactly what I believe then you are not a worthy candidate to support – despite how much better you would be than the right-wing Republican option.
Purity tests are the single biggest reason why we are so divided in today’s politics. Why is that you can figure out how someone feels on 2 or 3 subjects, and then you immediately know how they feel on the rest? Purity tests. We have lost all nuance. You’re either “with us or against us”. Imagine a political universe where some Democrats are pro-life and some Republicans are pro-choice. Think we’d be nearly as divided and play as much party politics like team sports as we do now? I don’t think so.
There is no one single issue that makes someone a Democrat. You can be a Democrat, lining up 99% with me and be against minimum wage. You can be a Democrat lining up 99% with me but be against political correctness. You can be a Democrat and line up with me 99% but dislike food stamps. And lastly, you can be a Democrat, lining up 99% with me but be pro-life. No matter how serious, important and critical that is to women, our families and our hearts, we do not have one issue that defines us. There are no purity tests to being a Democrat.
During the Presidential election of 2016, many Democrats were concerned about some Bernie supporters not voting for Hillary Clinton. Their argument was that, although Hillary may not have everything a Bernie supporter wants, she is exponentially better than Trump. I couldn’t agree with this argument any stronger. That’s why almost all other progressives and I voted for her. She was not my ideal candidate, but compared to Trump, she was damn near perfect. These same people who once were concerned and urged us to vote for the lesser of two evils refuses to do the same by funding pro-life Democrats, who are by leaps and bounds the lesser of two evils. It is simply hypocrisy, and it is strategically a mistake. Having 10-20 more House or Senate members on the Democratic side would change the fabric of our Democracy for decades.