As a progressive devastated by the Donald Trump presidency, the Democratic Party has my support in 2018 and beyond.
However, the party’s new plan has me worried that the establishment will forego imperative views on social issues to win back working class voters that chose Trump in 2016. Chuck Schumer has certainly created a strong foundation for the party’s future economic platform with the new “Better Deal” initiative that is strikingly similar to Hillary Clinton’s campaign plan. Senator Schumer admitted that the new economic initiative purposely did not include the issues such abortion, LGBTQ+ rights and immigration because these topics are incredibly divisive for voters in red states that could soon flip to blue. It’s no secret that many struggle to compromise on these vital matters and are therefore inclined to vote for Republicans, but this does not mean that Democrats can afford to ignore the real consequences that would come from ignoring these crucial policies.
More recently, the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee said that the party will support Democratic candidates that are anti-choice.
“There is not a litmus test for Democratic candidates. 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,” Representative Ben Ray Lujan told The Hill.
Unsurprisingly, this didn’t sit well with women.
This is a betrayal of every woman who has ever supported the Democratic party. https://t.co/oQzgkUAoLX
— Lauren Duca (@laurenduca) July 31, 2017
Women deserve access to safe, legal abortion no matter if their state is red or blue – it’s a constitutional right that can’t be traded away
— Cecile Richards (@CecileRichards) July 31, 2017
Litmus test or not, many progressives are pro-choice and unwilling to compromise on this polarizing issue. Under the current administration, women’s rights are under attack and that cannot be ignored. Trump and his fellow Republicans would absolutely love to defund Planned Parenthood and cut access to abortion. We must fight vigorously to stop them from causing any harm to a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion as well as the many other healthcare services that Planned Parenthood provides.
Listen closely here, women simply aren’t a negotiation. We have every right to do as we wish with our bodies. Some may not agree with the choices of others, but no one should ever have the power to oversee a woman’s most private decisions.
The men and women that comprise the Democratic Party are going to be remembered as the leaders in the fight against the destructive Trump administration. Though imperfect, the Democrats are the only people in Washington that have morals at this moment in time. As the GOP fights (and so far ultimately fails) to kill millions of Americans by taking away healthcare, take notice of the party that’s fighting for people’s lives. It’s important to note that the Democrats remain decent and admirable in their endeavors to end this never-ending nightmare our country has succumb to, but being able to compromise on this supposed core belief proves improvements are needed. No political party is ever going to be perfect, but enraging such a large part of the voter base at a time like this is simply a poor choice.
Senator Schumer and Representative Lujan do not speak for all Democrats. There are many members of the party who will continue to stand up for abortion rights regardless of the actions of the party as a whole. In fact, supporting anti-choice candidates could easily anger women serving in the Democratic Party. Current party leaders can say what they want, but that doesn’t mean it speaks for all politicians that identify as a Democrat. If the Dems do indeed proceed to actively support anti-choice candidates, those that speak out against it will prove they are the true leaders.
As women, we shouldn’t have to give up the understandable desire to protect our rights as the Supreme Court has proven we are indeed entitled to them under the constitution. Abortion is a contentious issue, but it is not one that can be traded away for the sake of catering to new voters. The beliefs of these new potential supporters have no superiority over the belief that women have the right to control their own bodies. It therefore should not dictate what the Democratic Party does on the matter of abortion whatsoever.
In order to appeal to a broader base, the Democrats must create a plan that includes both economic and social matters. Their desire to win over the same voters Trump was able to schmooze is understandable, but compromising core beliefs to do so could cause many to defect from the party all together. Doing so could excite progressives and urge more to get involved in 2018 and beyond.
It’s imperative that the Democrats win in wide margins in 2018. Dems must fight for fair wages and lower taxes for the working class while also fighting to maintain access to vital women’s healthcare needs and more. There is no room to pander to new voters if we have to sacrifice our core beliefs and values to do so.
By ignoring these issues, Democrats would be saying the loyal women in their base are somehow less important than working-class voters. Of course, no one group is more important or superior in any way and thus those interests must be represented in an ideal party platform. If the party truly cares about women, it will rethink the plan to endorse anti-choice candidates and steer money towards more progressive members with whom such a compromise is unnecessary.