By Matt Hadro
In the wake of Hillary Clinton’s electoral defeat in Tuesday’s presidential election, pro-life Democrats and faith voters criticized the party’s pro-abortion support and lack of religious outreach.
“Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party decisively lost Tuesday’s election, thanks in large part to the party’s extreme abortion position, which alienated would-be Clinton voters,” the group Democrats for Life of America stated in a press release on Wednesday.
“We cautioned in our DNC Report – Make Room for Pro-Life Democrats & Achieve Party Goals Nationwide – that the party is slowly dying and on the way to being irrelevant if it does not start a dialogue with its pro-life members,” Kristen Day, executive director of Democrats for Life of America, stated.
On Nov. 8 Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump defeated Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, earning a majority of electors to become the next president although Clinton narrowly won the popular vote.
Trump, who in 1999 had supported partial-birth abortion, campaigned on a pro-life platform that included promises like a late-term abortion ban and the appointing of pro-life Supreme Court justices.
Clinton, meanwhile, championed access to abortions for women and supported the repeal of the Hyde Amendment, a 40 year-old policy that prohibits federal tax dollars from funding abortions.
Democrats lost many potential voters because of their party’s extreme pro-abortion platform, Day insisted.
She said that in key traditionally-Democratic states that Trump picked up like Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, Clinton lost many voters like “soft Republicans; anti-abortion Independents, and millions of pro-life voters in her own party” who might have listened to her had she not supported abortion so staunchly.
“One of the reasons she lost these groups is that she championed an extremist abortion platform,” Day said.
The abortion plank of the platform – criticized even by President Obama’s 2012 campaign director of faith outreach Michael Wear as “morally reprehensible” – supported late-term abortions, the repeal of the Hyde Amendment, and also the repeal of the Helms Amendment which prohibited the funding of abortions in foreign aid.
Abortion was mentioned 19 times in the party’s platform, Dr. Matthew Bunson, EWTN senior contributor, told EWTN News Nightly during the Democratic National Convention in July, adding “that itself gives us an idea of the seriousness of this issue for them.”
Many voters – especially those in traditionally-Democratic Rust Belt states that surprisingly fell for Trump – were turned off by this “extremist abortion platform,” Day said.
“Americans want to see wages rise, and they want to see more people protected with health insurance, and they want to protect the environment, but they absolutely do not support abortion-on-demand,” she said. “The Democratic Party is going to be the party of coastal, urban elites if it does not change course and respect the social conscience of pro-life voters.”
One young voter agreed that the pro-abortion platform and rhetoric from Democratic circles was toxic to many Democrats and Republicans.
“The abortion plank of the platform was a figurative middle finger, not only to the 21 million plus pro-life Democrats, but also to those who vote Republican purely because of abortion and the tens of millions of other Democrats who favor some restrictions on abortion,” Robert Christian, editor of Millennial journal, told CNA/EWTN News.
“In a tight election, a lot of things would have pushed Hillary over the top, but we can be certain that abortion absolutism was one that cost her the election,” he added.
Christian said that he heard “from dozens upon dozens of fellow pro-life Democrats and progressives” and “young Catholics who sincerely believe in Catholic moral and social teaching” who could not vote for Hillary due to her pro-abortion policies and rhetoric.
Others complained that the Clinton campaign had overlooked certain religious voters. For example, Clinton lost White Catholics to Trump by 23 points, the largest margin of defeat for that voting bloc for a major presidential candidate since at least the 2000 election. Clinton lost Catholics overall by seven percent.
Michael Wear tweeted on Thursday that “The most basic understanding of religious demographics in America suggested Trump’s only path to victory was Rust Belt White Catholics.”
Wear also implied that the Democrats’ support for the repeal of the Hyde Amendment hurt their standing with Evangelical voters.
“I believe there was an absolute failure to reach out to people of faith by the Clinton campaign,” Christian said, noting that Clinton “rarely talked” about her faith.
“It is tough to overstate how foolish this decision was,” he added.
“Bourgeois liberalism, rooted in enlightened self-interest, social libertarianism, and technocratic pragmatism, is not the right answer to populist nationalism.”
“Democrats need to recommit to solidarity, human dignity, and genuine human equality and rebuild the party around a shared vision of social, economic, and global justice; this can only be done by working with religious humanists of all faith traditions to rebuild the party from the ground up.”
Christopher Hale, executive director of the group Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, tweeted that last year, “one Dem official told me that they were going to pursue a ‘post-Christian’ outreach strategy.”
“That worked well,” he tweeted sarcastically.