Georgia’s Anti-Abortion Law Is a Democratic Party Failure

Before you blow a gasket, yes, Republicans and conservatives are the ones who pushed for it. But the recent spate of anti-legal and safe abortion legislation in the U.S. must be perceived as a complete, comprehensive, and long-term failure of the Democratic Party.

If the Democratic Party has a signature, defining issue in 2019, it is not any of the issues the ‘economic left’ has been promoting. Regarding minimum wage, at least thirty House Democrats oppose a universal increase to $15/hour (unclear how many in the Senate oppose a universal increase)–there is a ‘big tent’ on this issue (to use a phrase). The signature defining issue is not Medicare for All–that is only supported by a minority of the party. It’s not pro-union policies such as card check or repealing Taft-Hartley; we haven’t seen many bills for this speeding to the floor of the House, never mind the Senate. It’s not environmental policies such as the Green New Deal either.

No, the signature, defining, ‘red line’ issue over the last decade or two is legal and safe abortion. In the House, there is only one Democratic member, out of 235, Dan Lipinski, who is anti-abortion, and, in the Senate, only one Democratic member, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, opposes abortion after twenty weeks. At the state and local levels, the picture isn’t much different. Often, in conservative areas, one of the defining differences between the Democrat and the Republican is support for legal and safe abortion (on economic issues, the Democrat usually isn’t that different). Put another way, a machine learning algorithm would hone in on abortion to determine if someone is a Democrat or a Republican.

Yet, on this defining issue, the Democratic Party is getting clobbered in terms of policy. Democrats have failed to secure judgeships (and, in the name of bipartisanship, failed to play hardball to secure those seats), hold statehouses and gubernatorial offices, and maintain Senate majorities. It’s not just ‘losing elections’, it’s the failure to enact policies, such as voting rights legislation or D.C. statehood, to prevent Republicans from tilting the playing field–and Democrats have failed to do this for years (though there have been some exceptions, often short-lived).

This is also not just a policy failure, it represents the final shredding of the unofficial intraparty deal between New Democrats (and moderates) and what used to be called liberal Democrats. Essentially, liberal Democrats would get scraps from the high table, but, at least, Democrats would keep the judiciary under control, and abortion would be safe and legal (hell, might even get non-shitty civil rights-related stuff too!). Safe to say, that deal is null and void. What is the point of compromising on economic issues when the New Democrats and the moderate Democrats can’t even hold up their end of the bargain? As Brad DeLong noted regarding other policy areas, the New Democrat reign has failed at a political level.

This is a complete failure of Democratic Party leadership, both elected and the ‘supporting’ groups. This time, the left, construed somewhat broadly, shouldn’t let a crisis go to waste. The “I Feel Your Pain” reunion tour isn’t going to cut it. We need new leadership and new understanding of the crisis, not an ersatz ‘Resistance’, because the Democratic Party has failed at its signature issue.

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4 Responses to Georgia’s Anti-Abortion Law Is a Democratic Party Failure

  1. Susan Peterson says:

    Why do you want the unborn to be killed? Sometimes you have interesting stuff on here. But perhaps I ought to stop getting your emails. I switched from Democrat to Republican chiefly on this issue. The right to life, ie the right not to be murdered, ie protecting the weak against the violence of the strong, is the first purpose of government. The unborn are the weakest among us, the least of these my brethren. I want my country to protect them by law. Oh, and I do have a uterus, which bore nine children. The last I did not teally want. I was tired. We were poor. But I would never end a baby’s life at any stage. She turned out to be a delight, and is about to graduate from med school.

    • Charles Fassi says:

      This article hits it home for me, thank you for writing it. This is a broader issue of religion and the current lack of the separation of church and state. People do not realize the constitution not only says I have the freedom to practice any religion I choose, it also says I have the right to be free from the religion of others. Why do people believe they have the right to push religion on me and all the crazy rituals that go with it. Man controls everything because he controls god, who is fictitious creation with absolutely zero scientific fact that he existed in the way the Bible states. If people actually bothered to read the actual book they would realize they are practicing the version that is merely the Republican Cliff notes which has been widely taken out of context to perpetuate their greed. They break all ten commandments in broad daylight but push the extremist religious agenda that would never have a chance in a truly Democratic society. It is no wonder they make getting an education or paying for healthcare unobtainable without taking on massive debt, making you a slave to financial institutions, the same ones we bailed out in 2008: $700 billion dollars. There has been a deal struck between the devil and the business man. Keep them sick and stupid and put the fear of God in them. They will follow any bright and shiny object you choose!

    • Bob Bancroft says:

      If every woman has nine children, we will have 20 billion souls on the planet in 20 years. Have you ever asked yourself how many humans can this planet support? In terms of resource depletion and pollution, it would appear our current load of 7 billion humans is leading us to extinction. Every person on the planet must consider this.

  2. adameran says:

    About Abortion: A few years ago, I compared the abortion rates of a country that prohibited them entirely (Ireland) with the rates in a country with legal prostitution (Holland). The Dutch had a lower abortion rate. Prohibition apparently works as well with abortion as it does with drugs. Jesus himself said the way to see whether someone was a true Christian was “by their fruits.” Looks like sanctimony is only the badge of the Pharisees.

    As for Democrats: Here’s from Ralph Nader: “”The Democrats could blow it again. They blew it in 2010, ’12, ’14, and ’16, against the worst Republican Party that Kafka could ever imagine. Cruel, vicious, ignorant, Wall Street-indentured, warmongering, anti-labor, anti-woman, anti-consumer, anti-children — these are their votes in Congress. Why aren’t the Democrats landsliding them? They’ve lost the state legislatures, the majority of state governors, the House, the Senate, the Supreme Court and the executive branch. Because they’re still dialing for dollars and that’s the most important thing.”

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