The Democratic party is facing a revolt from the left after the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairman said the party would back pro-life candidates in 2018.
The DCCC chairman, Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, told The Hill that there will not be “a litmus test” for candidates on the subject of abortion. Lujan’s comments come as Democrats attempt to rebuild a broken party that has hemorrhaged elected offices on both the state and national level.
Lujan’s comments sparked immediate outrage from left-wingers.
“I’m afraid I’ll be with holding support for the DCCC if this is true,” said former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, whose name was briefly floated this year as a candidate for DNC chair.
“What better strategy than to betray their base and reaffirm that women’s basic rights are negotiable and disposable,” said prominent liberal columnist Jill Filipovic.
“Reducing the rights of those with child-bearing capacity to a mere matter of opinion is utterly unconscionable,” declared New Republic writer Rachel Cote. She added: “The Democratic Party is in fact saying that there’s ‘no litmus test’ regarding their colleagues’ support of basic bodily autonomy. Terrible.”
Renee Sherman, a board member of the pro-choice group NARAL Pro-Choice America, called Lujan out by name on Twitter for not kicking pro-life candidates out of the party.
“I had an abortion. I’d love to chat with you about why my healthcare access is up for debate to win elections. Let’s talk,” said Sherman. She added: “I understand not everyone supports abortion, but you don’t have to put party money behind candidates who will take access away.”
“I think most liberal men don’t understand how much women’s rights have been rolled back in the last 25 years. We have given enough,” said Democratic congressional candidate Brianna Wu. “If liberal men want a bargaining chip to win Southern states, I suggest using your own civil liberties for once. Don’t ask any more of us.”
Splinter News, the left-wing website formerly known as Fusion, ran a story titled: “Democrats Confirm That They’re Totally Cool With Selling Out Women in 2018.”
“You cannot support women and stand for equality when you oppose abortion rights,” said liberal writer Swapna Krishna. “Full stop, end of story.”
The backlash over allowing pro-life candidates in the Democratic party is emblematic of the growing split between liberals embracing identity politics and those who want the party to win back blue-collar voters that departed from the party en masse. (RELATED: WikiLeaks Reveal How Progressives Ignored White Working-Class Voters)
Democratic activists previously were up in arms after Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and DNC chair Tom Perez campaigned with Heath Mello, a relatively pro-life Democratic mayoral candidate in Nebraska.
“The actions today by the DNC to embrace and support a candidate for office who will strip women — one of the most critical constituencies for the party — of our basic rights and freedom is not only disappointing, it is politically stupid,” NARAL president Ilyse Hogue said at the time.
“If Democrats think the path forward following the 2016 election is to support candidates who substitute their own judgement and ideology for that of their female constituents, they have learned all the wrong lessons and are bound to lose.”
After blowback from NARAL and other left-wing activist groups, that candidate later backtracked.
“Every Democrat, like every American, should support a woman’s right to make her own choices about her body and her health,” Perez said in a statement soon afterwards. “That is not negotiable and should not change city by city or state by state.”