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Democratic Party Image Makeover

by James Kroeger


August 12th, 2005

The Democratic Party has been victimized by Republican Party strategists in a number of different ways. One of the things they’ve done in recent years is “brand” the Democrats as ‘pro-gay’ and ‘pro-abortion.’ Today I am going to argue that it is both possible and desirable for the Democratic Party to separate itself completely from the divisive abortion rights and gay rights issues. How might it do such a thing?

Well, formally, by declaring in its platform that the Democratic Party has no identification whatsoever with either the pro- or anti-abortion positions, or the pro- or anti-gay rights positions. It should also formally state that Democrats welcome opponents of abortion and gay marriage into the party as long as they sincerely identify with the Democratic Party’s historic mission to pursue economic justice and improve economic security. We want them to feel free to express their opinions on these hot topics as individuals, but not as Democrats.

If we can do this, the Democratic Party will succeed in becoming a true Big Tent Party, since it will become more inclusive than ever before.

It should not be a secret any more that there are gay Republicans who like the GOP’s anti-tax policy, and anti-abortion Democrats who believe passionately in the goal of economic justice. In distancing itself from any specific position on the most polarizing of social/moral issues, the Democratic Party would be telling the American people that it recognizes (1) that these divisive issues cut across party lines, and (2) that none of the positions on any of these moral issues is necessarily connected to either the economic agenda historically pursued by the Republican Party or the economic agenda historically pursued by the Democratic Party.

Yes, Values Liberals who currently identify with the Democratic Party can be expected to scream and yell and protest this proposal vehemently, but nothing is stopping them from focusing their energy on building up a strong, passionate non-partisan Advocacy Movement that would promote their agenda across party lines.

After all, we have to ask why those who are passionate advocates of, say…gay rights…would want to intentionally alienate those Republicans who might be sympathetic with their cause? There is a reason why there are Gay Republicans. It’s because they do not agree with the economic agenda that the Democratic Party has historically pursued.

If gay rights advocates were to separate their cause from the Democratic Party and make it ‘non-partisan’, they might even find that their funding would improve substantially. Why intentionally alienate potential financial contributors by unnecessarily connecting your cause to a particular economic philosophy?

It is certainly not dishonorable to promote a moral cause you feel deeply about in a non-partisan fashion. Indeed, doing so tends to give your movement a claim to moral superiority above partisan interests.

In order to successfully pull off this identity makeover, all Democrats—no matter what their persuasions—-would need to zealously defend the Party’s non-partisan stance on divisive social morality issues. Any Democrats who try to represent their personal views on these hot-button issues as the views of the Democratic Party should be zealously reprimanded by the party faithful.

We should encourage those who feel strongly about Abortion rights, Gay Rights, etc. to speak loudly for their causes—-not as Democrats—-but as advocates of certain causes who also happen to identify with the Democrats’ economic agenda.

What we’re talking about, people, is tolerance. Tolerance of differing opinions on ‘peripheral’ topics. Democrats already have to tolerate different viewpoints within the party on foreign policy and other issues. Why shouldn’t we be tolerating different opinions within the party on the issues of abortion and gay rights?

It’s a solution that I think almost all parties would benefit from. Gay Rights and Abortion Rights advocates would be free to directly appeal to sympathizers in both parties and the Democratic Party would be able to escape the branding that has worked so well for the Republicans for so long.

The only interest group that would really stand to lose from this kind of Identity Makeover would be—-you guessed it—-THE REPUBLICANS!



More trenchant political analysis by James Kroeger:

Middle East Peace Talks: Will Israel Bring Lasting Peace To The Region?

Reclaim the Moral High Ground

Democrat Image Makeover

When the Republicans steal an election

Our Soldiers Are Victims

Are You Proud To Be An American?


Economic Analysis...

Make The American People Richer


Trade Policy and Jobs


Universal Health Care


Government Bureaucratic Waste vs. Private Sector Efficiency


The Relationship Between Savings & Investment


Do Tax Cuts Stimulate The Economy?