Pro-Life Democrats Push Anti-Litmus Test, ‘Big Tent’ Strategy in DNC Meeting

Yesterday, a group of leading pro-life Democrats—current and former elected officials, candidates, and activists, including Millennial editor Robert Christian—met with Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez and Deputy Chair Keith Ellison at DNC headquarters to discuss why and how the Democratic Party should once again become an inclusive, big tent party.

The Atlantic offers details of the meeting and Democrats for Life of America’s requests to the DNC:

Democrats for Life of America delivered a list of requests to Perez that the group wants the DNC to fulfill in order to reach out to, and welcome, more pro-life Democrats into the party, according to Day.

A copy of the list shared with The Atlantic calls for “a public statement on the Democratic National Committee website and a letter from the chairman to all state and local party chairs explaining that the party does not support an abortion litmus test and pressuring people to change their position on life” as one in a series of actions the pro-life group wants to see from the DNC. The group also wants the party to drop the section of its platform opposing the Hyde Amendment, which bars federal funding of abortion in most circumstances….

In addition to ​a request for a statement direct from Perez that the party does not ​​have a litmus test, Democrats for Life’s ​list calls for t​he party to make resources available to support pro-life Democrats. The list asks for “the establishment of a Democratic Pro-Life Political Action Committee to be used specifically to support pro-life Democratic candidates.” It also requests that the 2020 Democratic Party platform be “inclusive to Democrats who oppose abortion,” and calls for eliminating language currently in the 2016 platform “opposing the Hyde Amendment.”

In an interview on Wednesday, Day emphasized that she hopes Tuesday’s meeting will be just the start of a broader conversation within the party over how to expand its coalition to include more pro-life Democrats.

“I think it’s fair to say that we still have a lot of work to do to educate people within the party on what it means to be a pro-life Democrat, and how to win races as a pro-life Democrat,” she said, adding that the meeting was “productive” and that the DNC “heard our concerns on the DNC platform and the DNC message on abortion.”

At Crux, Charles Camosy writes:

The meeting featured a number of voices traditionally muted in our public discourse, including those who take a Pope Francis approach to care of, and protection for, the most vulnerable. This approach not only includes the refugee and immigrant, but also the prenatal child and her mother. All these vulnerable populations have the face of Christ as the least among us.

Perhaps most significantly, the meeting saw two “case studies” presented which emphasized the importance of a big tent for the party.

The first was offered by Jonathan Swinton, who ran for the 2016 Democratic nomination for Senate in Utah. He was actually within 10 points of very conservative Republican incumbent Mike Lee, after starting 30 points behind, and easily got the most votes at the Utah Democratic convention. But big abortion-rights money got behind an extremist named Misty Snow, who made the entire race about abortion.

The state party was too afraid to resist, and Snow won the nomination. But in an epic 50-state strategy failure, she lost the general election by an embarrassing 41 points – the second-worst showing of any Democratic candidate running for a statewide seat in Utah in history.

The second case study offered at the meeting provided a happier example. Former Tennessee pro-life Democrat Lincoln Davis explained that he ran for Congress before enforcement of the current abortion orthodoxy. Nancy Pelosi supported him, because she thought he could actually win. And with good reason: Davis had polled his district and a whopping 87 percent of registered Democrats there identified as pro-life. NARAL spent three million dollars to defeat him, but with the support of the party he won the nomination and ultimately his district.

It was a 50-state strategy win.

This meeting comes in the midst of discussions exploring why Democrats are struggling so badly right now and a recent op-ed from Joe Scarborough who argues:

The party has been on a historic run over the past eight years — all in the wrong direction. Since Barack Obama’s breathtaking victory in 2008, Democrats have been wheezing their way through one political defeat after another. They have lost more than 1,000 state legislative seats and governorships and now control only one-third of the country’s legislative chambers. And it is not just in red or purple states where Democrats’ fortunes have collapsed….

Across the country, Democrats are weaker on the state level than at any time since William McKinley was president. They control fewer governorships than at any time since Woodrow Wilson was in the White House and have forfeited more seats to Republicans in the U.S. House than at any time since Herbert Hoover was elected….

Republicans lost control of Congress in 2006 when their views were out of step with all of New England and most of the Midwest. In that election, Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.), then the leader of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, was canny enough to put aside ideology and recruit pro-gun, antiabortion candidates to pick off conservative seats that would have otherwise been out of reach. Today, the situation is reversed, with many Democratic leaders and activists more focused on ideological purity than on regaining political power.

Continuing on that course will lead to even more Democratic defeats, and to what Democrats fear most: more support in Congress for Trump.


US Bishops: Reject GOP Attack on Social Safety Net, ‘Devastating’ Medicaid Cuts

via the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB):

The BCRA’s restructuring of Medicaid will adversely impact those already in deep health poverty. At a time when tax cuts that would seem to benefit the wealthy and increases in other areas of federal spending, such as defense, are being contemplated, placing a “per capita cap” on medical coverage for the poor is unconscionable. The BCRA also connects yearly increases to formulas that would provide even less to those in need than the House bill. The Congressional Budget Office’s analysis indicates that an additional 22 million people will be without insurance over time. This loss of coverage will be devastating….

All people need and should have access to comprehensive, quality health care. Unfortunately, the Senate bill does not provide access for all people which is truly within their means. In many places, older and lower-income people will pay more than under current law because of decreased levels of tax credit support and higher premiums. Immigrants need quality care as well, but their access is not improved in the BCRA….

The Bishops value language currently in the legislation recognizing that abortion is not health care by attempting to prohibit the use of taxpayer funds to pay for abortion or plans that cover it. Safeguards pertaining to the use of tax credits for plans that include abortion face steep challenges in the coming days. Even as is, the bill needs to be strengthened to fully apply the longstanding and widely-supported Hyde amendment protections….

Removing vital coverage for those most in need is not the answer to our nation’s health care problems, and doing so will not help us build toward the common good. For the sake of persons living on the margins of our health care system, we call on the Senate to reject changes intended to fundamentally alter the social safety net for millions of people.


Leaning into the Gospel

Millennial writer Meghan Clark has a new article at US Catholic:

Revisiting stories as we search for our humanity and deeper truths is in part what Christians do each Sunday as we listen to the gospel. We know the story; we know the characters and the ending. It is easy then to tune out when we hear the young scholar of the law ask Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” We think we know the Good Samaritan and what he teaches us. Yet it is easier to follow the example of the Pharisee and Levite in that story. Complacent, we stop listening and keep walking. When we stop listening to the story, we stop hearing the good news.

Seeing and hearing *mark performed, I was pulled into the narrative of the gospel anew. It was one of the most profound spiritual experiences of my life. I felt Jesus’ frustration at these men who, despite all of his examples and stories, still just don’t get it. Jesus was keenly aware of the pedagogical power of stories and parables. So, too, the gospel writers and editors invite us into a narrative that is at once theirs and ours. It is an invitation into the story. It is also an invitation into the deep humanity of the disciples.

You can read the full article here.


Cardinal Cupich: Where are the US Bishops on Immigration Reform?

Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago writes:

Pope Francis has talked about the “globalization of indifference” toward immigrants and said that they are not “pawns on the chessboards of humanity” and that they are victims of a “throwaway culture.” In other words, in many nations migrants are used for their labor and then cast aside and scapegoated, when convenient, for a nation’s social ills. This is true in America. In many ways, the real issue is that many want a broken system, as we are able to take immigrants’ sweat equity without giving them rights and protections. It is a nod-wink system. Such a misuse of our fellow human beings is immoral.

The Catholic community, including the bishops, is in a position to influence Congress and the administration to take a different course. This should not be a political issue for Catholics, but a humanitarian one. As Catholics, we must not be divided by the issue, but must move forward with one voice.

We cannot stand by as our neighbors live in fear and are threatened with deportation and the separation of their families. We cannot stand by as U.S.-citizen children are left behind, without their parents, or forced to go with them to a country they do not know. We must do all we can, within the law, to help them, our brothers and sisters.

We are at a tipping point in our country. We can pull up the drawbridge and try to grow on our own, without the contributions of immigrants, or we can embrace our immigrant heritage and enact laws which are fair and prepare us for the 21st century. As Catholics, we must act and work to advance sensible immigration reforms.


Seeing the Truth of Laudato Si in Antarctica

Millennial writer Christopher White has a new article at Crux. He writes:

But the Antarctica to be discovered today is one quite different than the one that was found by the early explorers. Today it is under siege-not from nations seeking to plunder it, but from the ravages of climate change. The West Antarctic Peninsula is considered to be one of the most rapidly warming areas on earth, with the European Space Agency estimating an unprecedented rise of more than 4 degrees in the past fifty years.

The forces of climate change that imperil the continent have global ramifications that must be reckoned with, too. Ninety percent of ice on planet earth is found in Antarctica and earlier this year it was reported that a massive crack has occurred in the Antarctic ice sheet, likely to break off in a matter of weeks or months.

That ice will eventually float into the ocean and melt, resulting in what could be a devastating rise in the sea level. As a New Yorker who lived through the havoc of Hurricane Sandy, I know this was just an appetizer for what the world will endure if we fail to take the effects of climate change seriously….

Incidentally, I set sail for Antarctica just weeks after the world continued to process the unlikely victory of Donald Trump. On our boat, the aftershocks of the election season filled many of my conversations with fellow passengers from around the globe-and with the backdrop of Antarctic grandeur-I couldn’t help but to ponder the question Francis posed: “What kind of world do we want to leave those who come after us?”

For far too long, those of us in the Western world-both collectively and individually-have lived lives defined by greed and boundless consumption with a selfish shortsightedness toward the generations that will follow our own. The Paris Climate Agreement of December 2015 offered a first step to reversing this pattern but that too is now under siege. A radical change in our policies and our personal ways of living is needed.



Cardinal Turkson on Economic Injustice, the Refugee Crisis, Creation Care

Cardinal Peter Turkson, prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, recently spoke at Georgetown University.

You can watch the full video here:


And here are a few highlights: