One of Last Remaining Pro-Life Dems Defeated in Primary

Posted: Mar 18, 2020 7:30 AM
One of Last Remaining Pro-Life Dems Defeated in Primary

Source: AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais File

Illinois Rep. Dan Lipinski, one of the few remaining pro-life Democrats, lost to progressive challenger Marie Newman Tuesday night by two percentage points. 

While Lipinski was backed by pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, which launched a five-figure campaign to support the incumbent, Newman was backed by pro-abortion Emily’s List as well as Justice Democrats, which “helped make” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. 

“This isn’t just a loss for one incumbent,” Justice Democrats said on Twitter. “It’s a defeat for machine politics and big corporate donors who want to stop our movement for ‘Medicare for all,’ a Green New Deal and reproductive rights.”

As many observed, Lipinski’s loss represents the Democratic Party’s slide leftward. 

Despite their official stance that the party backs incumbents, top Democrats did not go out of their way to advance Mr. Lipinski’s cause. During a trip to Texas last month, with 10 days to go until the state’s primary, Speaker Nancy Pelosi dropped in on the campaign offices of another conservative Democrat, Representative Henry Cuellar, boosting his successful battle to defeat a Justice Democrats-backed challenger, Jessica Cisneros. Ms. Pelosi did not do the same for Mr. Lipinksi.

And Mr. Lipinski’s fellow Illinoisan, Representative Cheri Bustos, who leads the party’s campaign arm, canceled a planned fund-raiser for Mr. Lipinski last year, bowing to progressives who were outraged by the congressman’s anti-abortion rights stance. Her decision raised questions about whether there was room left in the party for lawmakers who oppose abortion.

The day after Ms. Ocasio-Cortez endorsed Ms. Newman, Representative Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, a centrist Democrat and the majority leader, told reporters that there was “absolutely” room in the party for candidates who oppose abortion rights. But some veteran rank-and-file Democrats, including two others from Illinois, Representatives Jan Schakowsky and Luis Gutiérrez, openly backed Ms. Newman. (NYT)

If one thing was made clear during the Democratic presidential primary, it's that pro-lifers are no longer welcome. Last month, Sen. Bernie Sanders said being pro-abortion was an "absolutely essential" part of being in the Democratic Party. 

The only (former) 2020 Democrat who expressed at least an openness to including pro-life Democrats in her coalition was Sen. Amy Klobuchar.