Democratic Party Image
by James Kroeger
August 12th, 2005
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?
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
interest group that would really stand to lose from this kind of
Identity Makeover would be—-you guessed it—-THE
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