Democratic Rep. Dan Lipinski warned his party that it may struggle to reach voters if it continues to lurch leftward on abortion.
Lipinski, the lone anti-abortion Democrat in the House of Representatives, told the Washington Examiner in a Thursday interview that the Democratic Party may be creating a “problem” for itself in 2020.
“If you are just looking at it from a purely political angle, it just doesn’t seem to make sense to me to be suggesting to voters who consider themselves pro-life that they don’t have a place in the party,” Lipinski said.
Lipinski, who earlier this month lost a heated primary to his pro-abortion rights challenger Marie Newman, said that, in the year leading up to the 2020 presidential race, his party has instituted an unofficial “litmus test” requiring that candidates take strong pro-abortion positions to be deemed viable. He pointed to former Vice President Joe Biden, who, in 2019, reversed his decadeslong support for the Hyde Amendment, which bars most federally funded abortions, as a high-profile example.
In another notable example, former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg told an anti-abortion Democrat during a January Fox News town hall that he did not believe the party should try to appeal to people on both sides of the issue.
“I’m not going to try to earn your vote by tricking you,” Buttigieg said. “I am pro-choice, and I believe that a woman ought to be able to make that decision.”
This trend toward absolute positions on abortion, Lipinski said, does not appeal to the majority of Democratic voters.
“It’s a problem for the Democratic Party, a party in which polls show that one-third of Democratic voters say they are pro-life and about six in 10 Democratic voters in surveys say they want some restrictions on abortion,” he said. “And it’s potentially a problem for the party if pro-life voters feel like they are being pushed out and told that they are not welcome in the party.”
While the coronavirus pandemic and the potential of a recession may overshadow the abortion issue, Lipinski added, the party’s pro-abortion rights litmus test will not likely help it in Midwestern states, which delivered the Electoral College majority to President Trump in 2016.
“I really think that, in 2016, Hillary Clinton’s position on abortion most likely hurt her in some of the states in the Midwest, traditionally Democratic, that President Trump won,” Lipinski said. “I think that should have been a warning to Democrats to be more welcoming of pro-life voters.”
Lipinski has been in the House of Representatives since 2005 and, over that period, has become the only Democrat in that chamber who consistently opposes legal abortion. In a Wednesday op-ed for the Wall Street Journal, Lipinski said that he always voted against abortion because, both as a Democrat and as a Catholic, he believes that it is his job to “serve everyone, especially the most vulnerable.”
“When people have said to me, ‘How can you square being a Democrat and being pro-life?’ I’ve always said that, as a Democrat, I think there’s an important role for the government to play in protecting the vulnerable, helping care for those who can’t care for themselves,” he told the Washington Examiner. “And to me, being pro-life is in keeping with that.”
While he was criticized by members of his own party for his votes on abortion, particularly his opposition to the Obama-era Affordable Care Act, Lipinski said that he never considered changing his position. And though his refusal to flip on abortion cost him his seat, Lipinski hopes his loss will highlight the importance of the issue.
“I’m hopeful that I demonstrate that there are things that are worth sticking to what you believe no matter what it’s going to cost and that it’s just encouraging to others to do the same,” he said.
The post Dan Lipinski warns pro-abortion ‘litmus test’ could cost Democrats in 2020 appeared first on Washington Examiner.