The Corner

Elections

The Liberal Voters Biden Doesn’t Want

Former vice president Joe Biden speaks at a campaign event in Wilmington, Del., July 28, 2020. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

In the Wall Street Journal, two leaders of political-advocacy group Democrats for Life have an article called “The Democrats Biden Doesn’t Want,” pointing out that, although they’re liberal, their pro-life views have caused the Democratic Party to reject them.

“According to Gallup, roughly 1 in 3 Democrats consider themselves pro-life, but Mr. Biden has made no outreach to us,” write executive director Kristen Day and board member Xavier Bisits. “In fact, top Democrats have gone out of their way to make it clear that we are no longer welcome in the party.”

This is far from the first time that such a complaint has arisen from pro-life Democrats this year alone. At a townhall in late January, Day confronted former South Bend, Ind., mayor Pete Buttigieg, asking, “Do you want the support of . . . pro-life Democratic voters? There are about 21 million of us. And if so, would you support more-moderate platform language in the Democratic Party to ensure that the party of diversity, of inclusion, really does include everybody?”

Buttigieg offered a lengthy, equivocating reply, but the gist of his response was, essentially, “Take a hike.”

Shortly thereafter, asked about whether there was room for pro-life Democrats in his vision of the party, Vermont senator Bernie Sanders declared that “being pro-choice is an absolutely essential part of being a Democrat.”

When Minnesota senator Amy Klobuchar told Meghan McCain on The View that “there are pro-life Democrats, and they are part of our party,” and argued that Democrats “need to build a big tent [and] bring people in instead of shutting them out,” she faced extensive criticism from the left. And Klobuchar’s concession was, of course, mere rhetoric; on abortion policy she is nearly as liberal as her competitors, gesturing only vaguely at the possibility of limiting some abortions in the last three months of pregnancy.

Day and Bisits, then, have a point. Biden, the party’s presumptive nominee, has shown little interest in appealing to pro-lifers, despite having spent decades touting his Catholic roots and calling himself anti-abortion. Instead of moderating on the issue to reach centrists, he has moved further to the left in response to pressure from progressives.

Last summer, he renounced his decades of support for the Hyde amendment, which prevents federal Medicaid spending from directly reimbursing for elective abortions. His latest overture in the culture war was vowing to require all religious employers, including Catholic nuns, to be complicit in funding abortion-inducing emergency contraceptives for employees.

Day and Bisits have a point when they write, “America’s 21 million pro-life Democrats face a choice between staying home, risking four more years of Donald Trump’s destructive agenda, and voting for Joe Biden, a candidate who snubs us and our values. We would love to vote for Mr. Biden, but if he wants our vote, he will have to earn it. And if he can’t earn it, he should at least ask for it.”

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