Mello Fury Exposes Democrats’ ‘Big Tent’ Problem

Pelosi, Perez, Durbin contradict each other on whether Democratic candidates can be pro-life

by Edmund Kozak | Updated 24 Apr 2017 at 12:50 PM

Furious uproar over Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) endorsement of Omaha, Nebraska, mayoral candidate Heath Mello, who is pro-life, reveals the extent to which the Democratic Party has been hijacked by radical progressives.

Illyse Hogue, president of the radical NARAL Pro-Choice America, called Sanders’ endorsement a “betrayal of women.” Her reaction was typical.

“Can you be a Democrat and [get] the support of the Democratic Party if you’re pro-life?”

The uproar surrounding Mello’s campaign has raised a simple question: are pro-life voters and candidates welcome in the Democratic Party? Leading Democrats say yes and no — mostly no.

“There’s been a lot of back and forth, especially among abortion-rights activists, about a decision of the Democratic Party to support a candidate for mayor in Omaha, a Democrat, who happens to be pro-life,” noted NBC’s Chuck Todd during a Sunday “Meet the Press” interview with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

“Can you be a Democrat and [get] the support of the Democratic Party if you’re pro-life?” he asked.

“Of course, of course,” Pelosi responded emphatically. “I have served for many years in Congress with members who have not shared my very positive … position on promoting a woman’s right to chose,” Pelosi said.

Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin, however, disagreed. “Listen, I am committed to women’s rights under the law, reproductive rights certainly, and our party is. We have made that part of our platform and position for a long, long time,” Durbin told CNN’s Andrea Mitchell, only hours after Pelosi made her comments.

“When it comes to the policy position, I think we need to be clear and unequivocal. We need to be understanding of those who take a different position because of personal conscience. But, as long as they are prepared to back the law, Roe vs. Wade, prepared to back women’s rights as we have defined them under the law, then I think they can be part of the party,” said Durbin.

Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez was forced to issue a statement essentially promising that Mello had recanted his pro-life beliefs like a heretic hauled before his progressive inquisitors.

“I fundamentally disagree with Heath Mello’s personal beliefs about women’s reproductive health,” Perez said. “It is a promising step that Mello now shares the Democratic Party’s fundamental position on women’s fundamental rights,” Perez continued.

“Every candidate who runs as a Democrat should do the same, because every woman should be able to make her own health choices. Period,” Perez continued.

The Republican Party is routinely reported to struggle with fostering a "big tent" mentality according to the mainstream media. But the Mello incident suggests, at least at the moment, it is the Democratic Party that is more ideologically rigid.

The country is nearly evenly split on the issue of legalized abortion, and many favor some restrictions.

According to Gallup polling, 46 percent of Americans identify as pro-life while 47 percent identify as pro-choice. Only around 19 percent believe abortion should be legal in all circumstances.

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