Click to enlarge — AP Photo/Elaine Thompson
❝ Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) said Monday that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee will not withhold funding from candidates who are anti-abortion rights, a move that is drawing the ire of reproductive justice and abortion activists.
“There is not a litmus test for Democratic candidates,” Luján, the DCCC chairman, said in an interview with The Hill. “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.”
Other high-profile Democrats have taken similar stances on abortion. In April, Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) campaigned for an anti-choice mayoral candidate in Nebraska and Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez met with anti-abortion Democrats in May.
The operative words defining the process are opportunism and sophistry. Neither of which nudges me towards loyalty to the Democratic Party or their candidates.
❝ Candice Russell, a WeTestify abortion storytelling fellow with the National Network of Abortion Funds, said she felt betrayed by Luján’s comments Monday — especially because she said she distinctly remembers the party sending fundraising emails after the Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt Supreme Court decision striking down abortion restrictions in Texas.
“You don’t get to ask me for money and turn around and spit in my face,” Russell said. “To think that abortion access isn’t inextricably tied to every single thing the Democratic Party says it stands for is foolish.”…
❝ As the the party tries to regain populist ground lost to President Donald Trump, leaders like Luján, Sanders, and Perez have framed abortion and other social issues as separate from economic issues.
“The only way you can say that economic issues are separate from social issues is if you’re presuming the only people affected by economic issues are straight, white, able-bodied men,” Erin Matson, a reproductive rights activist in Virginia, said in an interview with ThinkProgress. “Give me a break.”
I second that emotion. I have to chuckle. Wryly. When Ben Ray Lujan first primaried for the seat he holds I voted for another candidate. I presumed that since he was an heirloom candidate, running for a seat previously held by his family, he couldn’t be trusted further than any other machine candidate.
I later apologized in a letter to him – for, at first, he took positions supporting progressive policies challenging the status quo in that party. Then, he moved on up the ladder to a station of “responsible leadership” – which apparently means progressive policies are the first to be jettisoned when Democrats are confronted by rightwing populist activism.
Ben Ray is safe, of course. It’s likely anyone could get elected here in northern New Mexico – named Lujan. The family has a history of coming down on the side of workingclass families on just about all economic issues. But, the day is past when that is sufficient, when we are challenged at the national level all the way down to local ballots by populist lies and ideology.
Selling out to convenience and opportunism ain’t the way folks win.
cc: Ben Ray Lujan