As the Democratic Party looks toward the 2018 election, they are promising that abortion will not be a litmus test for party support. The issue of abortion rights is a divisive one within the party, with liberals in the party insistent that the party take a hard line in support of abortion rights and with more moderate Democrats open to a variety of positions on the controversial issue.
No Litmus Test
Representative Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM) made clear that there will not be a litmus test for Democratic candidates seeking party support in 2018. Rep. Lujan said, “There is not a litmus test for Democratic candidates.” Lujan continued, “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.”
Lujan is the chairman of the Democratic Committee’s campaign arm in the House. He made clear the priority of the party, “To pick up 24 [seats] and get to 218, that is the job. We’ll need a broad coalition to get that done. We are going to need all of that. We have to be a big family in order to win the House back.”
He has made clear the priority is winning back the House in 2018. He recognizes here that different districts across the country might elect Democrats with a variety of views on abortion and he is not ruling out candidates that might have differing views on abortion.
In taking this position, the party risks upsetting liberal members and supporters. Mitchell Stille manages campaigns for NARAL Pro-Choice America responded saying, “Throwing weight behind anti-choice candidates is bad politics that will lead to worse policy.” She continued to say, “The idea that jettisoning this issue wins elections for Democrats is folly contradicted by all available data.”
Leila McDowell, a spokeswoman for EMILY’s List, said “At the core of the Democratic Party is our commitment to a better economic future for the working people of our country. Reproductive choice is fundamental to our platform. One of the most important financial decisions a woman makes is when and how to start a family. It’s also why we recruit pro-choice Democratic women and work tirelessly to elect them — because they stand up for that critical choice.”