Chasing Unicorns

First, let me say, the Dem goal should be: Add new D voters without losing our base voters. Guess we aren’t going to do that.

Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) said there will be no litmus tests for candidates as Democrats seek to find a winning roster to regain the House majority in 2018.

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

I completely understand running candidates that fit their district. I am fine with candidates being personally against abortion. Why this announcement needed to be made escapes me. Are we trying to divide the party? Because this will now become a big ol’ issue. And it didn’t need to be.

What is accomplished by drawing this line in the sand? Do we really think that this stance will win us voters? It won’t, mainly because “pro-life” voters are against far more than abortion. They are against contraception, sex ed in schools, Planned Parenthood (and women’s health), insurance covering birth control/pregnancy, stem cell research, IVF, etc.. They are for “Personhood” laws, vaginal ultrasounds, waiting periods, etc.. “Pro-life” has come to encompass all of these issues, and if Dems think they can win by paying lip service to this crowd they’re delusional.

The anti-abortion crowd demands legislation. Are we okay with Dems running on the promise of legislating these issues? Where I’m sitting, they’ll have to. If the plan is to win this group’s votes then I’m not seeing where saying, “I’m personally pro-life, but won’t vote to restrict abortion access, defund PP, etc.” gets you. So… I’m thinking this stance will probably need to come with legislative promises. And when we go down that path we’re on Conservative turf. Good luck winning on that field.

I have always been a pragmatist, an incrementalist, a person who wants to move the football down the field toward a touchdown – and, I’m telling you, this “new” Dem idea will backfire. Sheesh, we have “pro-life” Democrats, but I guess bemoaning about distractions and then creating one is the way we’re going to roll.

How exactly does this play out now that Dems have put this front and center? I’m guessing that this will create more talk about women’s health, not less – that it will cost us more votes. Can’t wait to see the upcoming debates. Idiots.




23 comments on “Chasing Unicorns

  1. cassandram

    Like you, I’m OK with Dem (or any other) politician with a personal objection to abortion or contraception, but who will not try to make that policy for everyone else. Still — what other groups’ rights are also being thrown under the bus here? I get that any politician has to fit his or her district, but we can’t set our sights on legislatures full of Blue Dogs who won’t help anyone’s agendas. It is why the Blue Dogs are largely gone. They all can’t be Sherrod Brown, but they can be committed to some key politics and issues that are not about protecting the interests of capital, not about continuing to be on the side of injustice.

    When I read this, I thought that there is another shoe to drop. There isn’t much point to this showy waiver of a “litmus test” otherwise.

  2. This is a dick thing for me to say, I get it……. but I got raked for pointing out that Leader Pelosi suggested women’s reproductive rights were “fading as an issue’ This is what she was talking about. Allowing potential T partiers in who want to get elected on a “not trump” ticket, just to turn around and vote like an R. This is centrist Democratic bulshit at it’s worst and it will ensure 2018 and 2020 wins for the fascists. It’s really time for the old guard to go.
    And yes, a different member of the caucus said this crap, but it’s a tightly controlled caucus and to my knowledge, leaders Schumer and Pelosi have not yet correct this. Until they do, this is their policy IMO.

    • Oh, it’s more than Pelosi and Schumer. That said, I am fine with not leading with reproductive rights. What I’m not fine with is electing Dems who will win by promising legislation against women’s health.

      There’s so much yammering about “distractions”. Welp, this is an actual example of a distraction – a self-inflicted one. Republicans are salivating to run against “pro-life” Dems, simply dying to make them put actions behind their beliefs. I really wish Dems would stop fighting on Republican turf – and chasing those unicorns.

      • What i cant understand is, a HUGE majority of the nation supports women’s rights. It’s only the GOP primary base that is against it.. and they are able to control the nation with that insane base of nazis. If the dems are going to adopt the GOP’s worst positions, there is nothing they have to offer and deserve to lose.
        Unless the plan is to out-right lie to the right… like the GOP does with their hilly-billy voters who think they will get their coal jobs back.

  3. Sign me up for a clean sweep at the DNC, this is not going to work, not at all. It’s another example of the “Republican Lite” mentality that has dogged the party since Bill Clinton, and another example that the Dem leadership has no new ideas and no real understanding of the Dem base. To misquote Public Enemy:” It takes a collection of old white millionaires to set us back”. Nancy, Chuck and far too many others this means you.

    • cassandram

      This is the DCCC, not the DNC. They are all separate and not accountable to each other.

  4. stan merriman

    Here is another example of Dems failing to communicate with values as our guide posts….in this case affirming a woman’s right to make her own decisions about her body and reproduction. Opposition to pregnancy termination (sounds somehow better than “abortion” doesn’t it?) is a policy statement, not a statement of values. Please Chuck and Nancy, go to the Lakoff school of framing before you speak again publicly; it is located right in the heart of your District, Nancy, Berkeley.

  5. anonymous redux

    For what it’s worth, the New York Times reader comments I’ve seen seen skew heavily against today’s column excoriating Lujan’s position because they think it will hurt democrats. New York Times readers are almost entirely democrat and independent, according to surveys I’ve seen.

    • cassandram

      I haven’t seen all of the comments, but I sure don’t see “skew heavily against today’s column” there. There are certainly those taking the position that Dems should do what it takes to win, but in the main the questions surround why piss off your base and speaking differently about the issues.

  6. anonymous

    well, there are 743 comments and counting. we probably saw different comments, but the ones I saw skewed that way. at any rate, democrats and independents see this as a complex issue worth debating.

    • Dems and Independents who have time to comment on the internet.

      You’re seeing what you want to see because it confirms your view. We all do that to some extent. That said, tell me how much of the D base we can lose and still win elections? ‘Cause that seems to be the path we’re on.

      There was no reason for Ds to make an issue of this. They won’t win over “pro-life” voters and risk losing their base. Brilliant strategy.

      Why do you support this?

  7. anonymous redux

    that was redux above. some of the more recent nyt comments are simply declaring abortion itself to flatly immoral. of course it isn’t. but that’s not the point here.

  8. anonymous redux

    pandora: if the dem base is willing not to vote for democrats over this one issue maybe it doesn’t deserve to win. and why wouldn’t some pro-lifers vote democratic? you gonna kick out the catholics too? think coalitions.

    • I’m not the one kicking people out. Stop making things up.

      And you’re entire argument for the last year has been about kicking certain groups to the back and telling them to pipe down. Oh, except for one group.

      I have consistently called for an expanded agenda. Not sure why that’s a bridge too far.

    • cassandram

      The Dem base is women. And it is women largely showing up for #TheResistance. Why piss off your base? See the Affirmative Action thread for how the R base gets catered to.

      And there is no problem with being anti-abortion. The problem is governing to make that the law of the land. Tim Kaine strikes me as the best example of how this should work.

  9. anonymous redux

    instead of “kick out,” read “reject.”and I want people to pipe down when shouting out leads to election losses that will make things worse for the shouters.

    • Wow. Last fall I wrote a post on the pull of Trump on certain progressive/Dem men. I’ll stick with that post.

      All this blame being thrown at social issues doesn’t strike me as political strategy. It comes across as agreement. It doesn’t seem to be just the GOP that likes to punch hippies.

    • cassandram

      Sure. The people being oppressed need to STFU as an election strategy.

      The shouters are voters too. And have something at stake here. No point in pretending otherwise.

  10. anonymous redux

    pandora, as an old hippie, I resent that. but seriously, the shouters lost last time. shout after you manage to win. and “pull of trump?” I want the democrats to beat trump, not just pat themselves on the back for having the moral high ground. resenting the right is no substitute for defeating it.

    • Welp, I’m not seeing how we win by losing our base and replacing them with the white vote. Wanna explain to me how that works? I’m all for growing the party and expanding the agenda. But you seem to think we can do this by alienating women, LGBT, black/brown people, Muslims, etc.. And the way you seem to see this happening is by silencing certain groups of the Dem base. Me? I don’t want to silence anyone, and the way you seem to think you’re going to win this group (who we haven’t won since the Civil Rights era) is by appealing to their worst traits.

      If you actually read my post above, you’d see that I called out Dems for putting this issue front and center. We’re discussing this because Dems made a big hoopla about not discussing it.

  11. anonymous redux

    you must think people in the base are pretty fickle. why would the democrats lose them? they know the party is their best choice. I’m talking about increasing the number of democratic voters, not shrinking it.

    but, as with so any things, I defer to whatever Rutherford b. Hayes would have said.

  12. anonymous redux

    Rutherford b. hayes started the annual White House easter egg hunt. spicer connection?

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