Right to Lifers in Iowa should turn-out and caucus for Tulsi Gabbard like it’s 2024. Last year I called for a Pro-Life Democrat to run for the Democrat Nomination, leading a series of social media pickets on Twitter and Instagram and was joined by voters across the country. Democrats for Life of America began holding rallies at every Democrat debate, Pro-Life Democrat elected officials spoke at the March for Life and a ProLife Democrat Presidential PAC was formed. So far the current field of candidates has endorsed abortion on demand throughout all nine months, with the single exception of Congresswoman Gabbard.
Although Congresswoman Gabbard identifies as “Pro-Choice” and supports codifying Roe v. Wade into the law, she has also broken with the abortion fanaticism in the Democrat Party Establishment. In an interview last year Gabbard described abortion as a choice she would not make herself, described herself more of a libertarian making a point of differentiating from abortion on demand fanatics and became the first Presidential Candidate in the Democrat field in decades to call for an actual abortion ban, advocating a third-trimester cut-off setting the Internet a buzz.
Gabbard followed this up with answers to the New York Times survey on abortion that contrasted with their rest of the field. The New York Times noted Congresswoman did not complete the survey and marked her answers on “Requiring judicial nominees to support Roe as settled law” “Repeal the global gag rule” “Ban State TRAP laws” and “Consider a running mate who opposes abortion rights” as “UNCLEAR.” (“How the 2020 Democrats Responded to an Abortion Survey” – The New York Times, by Maggie Astor, Nov 25. 2019 https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/25/us/politics/democratic-candidates-abortion-survey.html ).
Supporting Gabbard’s campaign, the only one that has so far signaled a willingness to at least dialogue and support some abortion restrictions is not compromising a fundamental principle as much as it is taking action. For too long the Pro-Life Movement has ignored Democrat Party politics to its own detriment.
In 1976, both the nominees of the Republican and Democrat Parties were Pro-Choice. Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter both supported the right to abortion, but lost the Party platforms due to the fact that the Right to Life Movement mobilized.
In the Democrat Party, presidential candidate Ellen McCormack led a successful campaign to deny Carter unilateral support at the convention and forced a Democrat Party Platform confining itself to disagreement :
“We fully recognize the religious and ethical nature of the concerns which many Americans have on the subject of abortion. We feel, however, that it is undesirable to attempt to amend the U.S. Constitution to overturn the Supreme Court decision in this area.”
The Republican Party had greater success with Pro-Lifers forcing the issue :
“The question of abortion is one of the most difficult and controversial of our time. It is undoubtedly a moral and personal issue but it also involves complex questions relating to medical science and criminal justice. There are those in our Party who favor complete support for the Supreme Court decision which permits abortion on demand. There are others who share sincere convictions that the Supreme Court’s decision must be changed by a constitutional amendment prohibiting all abortions. Others have yet to take a position, or they have assumed a stance somewhere in between polar positions.
We protest the Supreme Court’s intrusion into the family structure through its denial of the parents’ obligation and right to guide their minor children. The Republican Party favors a continuance of the public dialogue on abortion and supports the efforts of those who seek enactment of a constitutional amendment to restore protection of the right to life for unborn children.”
At the 1980s Republican Convention, Jo Freeman describes how the Pro-Family Movement led by long time Republican Party member Phyllis Schlafly successfully pressured the Luke-warm Reagan campaign :
“After discussions with Reagan operatives, the anti-ERA language of the subcommittee was modified to oppose not the ERA but “federal interference or pressure… against states that have refused to ratify the ERA,” while reaffirming “our Party’s historic commitment to equal rights and equality for women.” After Margaret Heckler and RWTF representatives met with candidate Ronald Reagan, they publicly affirmed their support because they didn’t feel his views and the platform were perfectly congruent.
The RWTF members kept their word and put together a Women’s Policy Advisory Board to help sell Ronald Reagan to American women during the campaign. This incurred the wrath of Phyllis Schlafly, who thought it was a feminist plot. She asked the Reagan campaign to abolish the Board and when that wasn’t done, pulled her Eagle Forum supporters from their volunteer posts in numerous Reagan campaign offices, leaving some unable to answer their phones. They were returned after a compromise in which one of her lieutenants, Elaine Donnally, was put on the Women’s Board and a separate Board on Family Policy was created for Schlafly supporters.”
(“Who You Know versus Who You Represent : Feminist Influence in the Democratic and Republican Parties” – Jo Freeman https://www.jofreeman.com/polparties/feminfluence.htm)
At the Fox News Townhall in Iowa with Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Kristin Day, Executive Director of Democrats for Life of America caused a media sensation by directly challenging Buttigieg on whether or not he and the Democrats wanted the support of twenty-one million registered Democrat voters in this election. Buttigieg’s answer was all over the place and unsatisfactory, but Day’s public confrontation on National Television did its job of putting the Democrat Presidential Campaigns on notice that voters want a new Democrat platform on abortion, while simultaneously raising awareness that a significant portion of the Democrat Party is pro-life. This was also not an isolated moment.
Last year Louisiana Democrat Assemblywoman Katrina Jackson and Democrat Congressman Dan Lipinski addressed the National March for Life. Jackson and Democrat Governor John Bel Edwards turned the Louisiana State abortion ban (one of the strictest in the nation) into law. Currently they are defending another law before the Supreme Court. Both won re-election, securing Pro-Life control of the Louisiana Democrat Party.
In New Mexico, eight Pro-Life Democrats helped to defeat a measure to repeal New Mexico’s pre-Roe abortion ban, should Roe v. Wade be overturned. Pro-Life Marco Serna is running in the Democrat Primary for Congress, with a local rancher telling the Santa Fe Reporter “he also says even most Democratic voters there are broadly opposed to abortion and gun control . . .” (On the Trail with Marco Serna, The Santa Fe Reporter by Will Costello, June 4, 2019).
In Colorado, Democrats for Life of America chapter is collecting signatures for ballot Initiative 120 and with State Representative Dave Williams on Colorado House Bill 20-1098 that would prohibit abortion after 22 weeks. Democrats for Life of America has active chapters in Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and South Dakota and has been actively working to disrupt the Presidential Primaries. At every single debate, members have shown up to picket in the free speech zones and Jacob Lupfer formed the ProLife Democrat Presidential PAC.
Most recently, Democrat Congressman Dan Lipinski and Democrat Congressman Collins Petersen of Minnesota joined more than 200 hundred Republican members of Congress in a statement urging Roe v. Wade to be overturned.
Right to Lifers’ next move is to force a fight over the Democrat National Platform and future nominations, but this will only happen if they get involved in a Presidential Campaign.
In 2008 and 2012, Congressman Ron Paul ran two maverick campaigns for President in the Republican field, energizing the “Ron Paul Boys” and creating enough pressure that John McCain’s camp selected Sarah Palin as running mate to boost his conservative credentials. The momentum resulted in the TEA PARTY Movement and created a foundation for the movement that bucked the Republican Establishment and nominated Donald Trump, returning the Republican Party to the center of power in Washington D.C. after years of marginalization.
Right to Lifers in the Democrat Party should recognize an opportunity to both rebuke the Democrat establishment and ensure they are ascending in the “movement to take back the Democratic Party” that Gabbard has become the face of. Additionally, Gabbard has taken strong positions on other life issues that Pro-Life Democrats care about including opposition to the Death Penalty, Prison Industry Complex, foreign wars and support for Medicare for All. Her forcefulness played a key role in ending Senator Kamala Harris bid for the Democrat Nomination and outlast Kristin Gillibrand’s faux feminism campaign. Gabbard has also pushed back against the influence of Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren in the party, siding with Bernie Sanders. While Sanders is an abortion rights extremist, he has also campaigned for Pro-Life Democrat Heath Mello to win office, in Nebraska signaling that they do have a place in the party. And Gabbard played a central role in supporting Sanders both in 2016 and in defending him currently against attacks in 2020. (“Bernie Sanders Defends Campaigning for Anti-Abortion Rights Democrat” NPR, Scott Detrow, April 20, 2017, https://www.npr.org/2017/04/20/524962482/sanders-defends-campaigning-for-anti-abortion-rights-democrat)
This all significant.
On Wednesday, November 4th, 2020 when, not if, Donald Trump is re-elected President of the United States and Republicans regain control of the House of Representatives, the Democrat Party leadership will be facing a major crisis. With multiple un-electable and ruined Democrat Presidential candidates, Nancy Pelosi promise to step down as Party leader and grassroots voter outrage at the Democrat Establishment for alienating millions of Pro-Lifers, Pro-Life Democrats will be in a position to renegotiate the Democrat Platform. It will set the stage for the 2024 Presidential race when abortion loving Governor Gavin Newsom will most likely make his bid for the White House and hopefully Governor John Bel Edward or Louisiana State Senator Katrina Jackson. But only if Right to Lifer’s mobilize and makes themselves known as force capable of elevating a political candidate the Democrat Establishment is censoring.
And that means Caucusing for Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard.