An effort to display and encourage unity within the Democratic party has backfired, instead further revealing a lack of unity among the party’s supporters.
The catalyst for this latest rift is Omaha mayoral candidate Heath Mello. Mello is a Democrat, so it stands to reason that he might be invited to join other Democrats on stage for a show of unity – right?
See, the thing is … Mello has a history of supporting pro-life causes. Voting for bills that do ghastly things to women. Like informing women that they have the option (a choice!) to have an ultrasound prior to undergoing an abortion. And the super-tolerant liberals who support the Democratic Party just can’t stand to have people with such views in the party.
And so when word got out that event organizers had actually invited Mello to join other Democrats on a unity tour, leftists went on the attack.
“The actions today by the DNC to embrace and support a candidate for office who will strip women … of our basic rights and freedom is not only disappointing, it is politically stupid.” This from the always politically astute NARAL President Ilyse Hogue.
Daily Kos – which apparently does a pretty poor job vetting candidates – issued a statement withdrawing their earlier endorsement of Mello, claiming that they had no idea about his pro-life voting record. “However, as soon as we learned this information, we withdrew our endorsement.”
(As a side note, that statement also included this gem of wisdom hypocrisy: “Daily Kos strives to ensure that all of our endorsements reflect the mutual respect we all expect and deserve”. Unless, apparently, we hold different opinions on abortion – in which case we neither deserve nor should we expect any respect from the fine folks at Daily Kos.)
To their credit, some actual members of the party have defended Mello.
“Voters in our state know he’s pro-life but we have a lot of pro-life Democrats in our state,” said Jane Kleeb, who heads the Democratic Party in Nebraska.
In response to the outrage he’s faced, Mello went on record as saying that if elected as Omaha’s mayor, “I would never do anything to restrict access to reproductive health care.”
Meanwhile, after a contentious 2016 primary that revealed a huge chasm between factions of the party, Democratic leaders surely must realize that incidents such as this one and the exclusion of pro-life women during January’s Women’s March are not helping their unification efforts.
And 2018 will be here before we know it.