Opinion: Chicago Mayor Lightfoot Calls for Democratic Party that Unequivocally Supports Women’s Equality and Abortion Rights

Lori Lightfoot

On this day of the 2020 Women’s March, masses of people across the nation will gather and march to call for recognizing the human rights of women as a necessary element of a truly just and equal society for all.

Especially in this context, it is worthwhile to highlight efforts within the Democratic Party to ensure a united front when it comes to genuinely advocating for women’s equal rights and to promote an understanding of exactly what constitutes equal rights for women.

The anti-women attitudes and policies of the Republican Party are well-documented. It is not a question that, in general, when it comes to supporting rights for women, the Democratic Party is the lesser evil.

That’s right—the lesser evil.

Granting women full equal rights—human rights—entails empowering women to control their own bodies and make decisions about their own health. In other words, women’s equal rights means women have the right to abortion. This position does not have unified support in the Democratic Party.

Recently, Lori Lightfoot, the first African-American lesbian woman mayor in Chicago, elected in 2019, called for a Democratic Party that is unequivocally unified when it comes to supporting women’s equality, meaning abortion rights as well.

Achieving this unity, she bravely asserted, entails revising the proudly advertised moniker of the Democratic Party as the “big tent” party to instead promote a party identity solidly and unconditionally defined by its support and advocacy for women’s rights.

This assertion took the form of a tweet last January 4 against the candidacy of long-time Democratic House Representative Dan Lipinski from Illinois’ 3rd Congressional District.  Lipinski is an outspoken foe of a women’s right to choose and one of the two Democrats who signed a legal brief asking the U.S. Supreme Court to revisit and overturn Roe v. Wade, joining two hundred congressional Republicans.

She tweeted:

“I support a big tent but there’s no room under the flaps for anyone who is actively seeking to deny women control over our bodies,” Lightfoot tweeted from her political account. “Time to leave @danlipinski.”

This tweet, reverberating and garnering press attention in the Chicago area and throughout Illinois, constitutes an important salvo into the discourse around women’s rights and abortion rights, particularly within the Democratic Party.

As I’ve written about in the pages of PoliticusUsa, last November’s elections in Virginia, which resulted in Democrats achieving control of the state government for the first time since 1993, inspired hope that Virginia would become the 38th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment and pave the way for potential ratification of a constitutional amendment.

Let’s remember exactly what the content is of the Equal Rights Amendment that continues to make this nation quake and resist.

Here’s the statement in the ERA this nation trembles to validate:

“Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any state on account of sex.”

And Lightfoot’s point is that it is not simply the nation that trembles to validate this basic assertion; there are elements of the Democratic Party, with its arguably overly big tent, which refuse to support women’s equal rights. Lipinski is one of those elements.

Indeed, one of the long-standing points of resistance to granting women full personhood has been the fear that constitutionally affirming women’s equality would effectively affirm and eternalize in the Constitution women’s right to an abortion, making it more difficult, if not impossible, to limit or overturn The Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade.

Of course, without control over their own bodies, women can’t enjoy full equality.

Remember last year when Florida House Speaker José Oliva repeatedly referred to pregnant women as “host bodies”?

This kind of language, and the political attitudes embodied in it, should make clear that living up to our nation’s ideal of equality requires granting women the right to control their own bodies and to have access to an abortion—that they don’t have equality if they are effectively viewed as “host bodies.”

Lightfoot’s gesture, her tweet, was a powerful one in calling for a Democratic Party that is not weakened and diluted by division in calling for women’s equal rights.  It is, indeed, not enough to rail against Republican misogyny; one must get one’s own house in order as well and cultivate political and moral integrity in one’s own party.

Calling out Lipinski and arguing he has no place in the Democratic Party provides a model for the Democratic Party, most basically, in defending our Constitution and resolving a wounding and embarrassing contradiction in our nation’s history.

The question as to why this nation can’t and won’t ratify the ERA is even more puzzling when we recall the language of the 14th amendment, which includes the clause:

“nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

The only way women don’t already have what the ERA is asking for, according to this language, has to be because they aren’t considered people.

So, refusal to ratify the ERA is a more than tacit admission that the nation is not prepared to grant personhood to women, to acknowledge that women, like corporations, just might be people.

Antonin Scalia, former Supreme Court Justice, clearly didn’t see women as people, asserting the Constitution did not afford women equal rights.

In this sense, Lightfoot is simply asking for a basic constitutional literacy and an end to women-hating.

And she has started with her own house, her own party, re-defining unity in a way that does not brook compromise on essential principles.

On this day of marching for women’s rights and equality, Lightfoot urges us not to accept the lesser evil but demand the uncompromised goodness of full human rights.

 

 

How Democrats Will Kill Trump in 2020 Using Digital Media

Democrats lost the presidency to Donald Trump in 2016, partly because the Clinton campaign couldn’t compete in the arena of digital media.

But that was then. Now, it’s a whole new world, and Democratic 2020 candidates have all made using the internet effectively one of their top priorities.

And because of this, having a very competitive Democratic primary will actually help the ultimate nominee destroy Trump in November. This will give Democrats a chance to hone their digital skills against one another.

Speaking to POLITICO, Robby Mook, campaign manager for Clinton in 2016 pointed out how times have changed, saying:

“It’s fantastic we are seeing digital natives and digital experts in the highest ranks. Digital leaders in management roles is now the new normal.” read more

U.S. Democrats pick Milwaukee for 2020 presidential convention

(Reuters) – The Democratic Party on Monday picked Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to host the 2020 nominating convention to formally select its candidate for U.S. president, four years after Hillary Clinton narrowly lost the Midwestern state to Republican Donald Trump.

Clinton, who did not campaign in Wisconsin during the presidential campaign in 2016, also lost the states of Michigan and Pennsylvania by narrow margins, helping give Trump the path to victory.

The Democratic National Convention will run July 13-16, marking the first time the party will hold it in a Midwestern city other than Chicago in over a century, the party said in a statement.

While presidential nominees from both major U.S. parties often had enough delegates well before their conventions in recent election cycles, the events play an important role by providing a televised national forum to showcase their message and highlight up-and-coming political personalities.

Milwaukee is the largest city in the swing state of Wisconsin. The party had also considered Miami and Houston as host cities.

At least a dozen Democrats have announced that they are seeking the nomination in the state-by-state voting contests that kick off in Iowa in February 2020. The unusually crowded and diverse field includes five women serving in the U.S. Senate.

Both Bernie Sanders, a democratic socialist and U.S. senator who rose to national prominence when he ran in 2016, and Joe Biden, a former U.S. vice president who has not formally declared but is expected to run, have emerged as front-runners in recent opinion polls.

The Republican National Convention will be held in Charlotte, North Carolina, more than a month later, Aug. 24-27.

Democrats had won Wisconsin in presidential elections going back to the 1980s until Clinton narrowly lost the state to Trump.

The party did well in Wisconsin in the 2018 midterm elections, with Democrat Tony Evers elected governor, replacing Republican Scott Walker.

“The Democratic Party is the party of working people, and Milwaukee is a city of working people,” said Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez. “We saw in this last election what we can accomplish when we come together, invest, and fight for working people, and that was proven right here in Wisconsin.”

The convention will be held in Fiserv Forum, home to the Milwaukee Bucks National Basketball Association franchise, local media reported.

Trump is seeking a second term in the election on Nov. 3, 2020.

(Reporting by Jonathan Allen in New York; Editing by Scott Malone and Jeffrey Benkoe)

Kavanaugh Leads To Record Fundraising For Democrats

The Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court hearings, along with the testimony from his sexual assault accuser Dr. Christine Ford, have generated a windfall of cash for Democratic candidates.

ActBlue, an online clearinghouse for Democratic donors, reported that they raised $10 million from small donors on Friday, their highest daily total ever since the site was founded.

Small-dollar donors made their voices heard today more than ever. They’ve raised over $10 million today alone — more than any other day in ActBlue history — to fight back and help get Republicans out of office.”

Small-dollar donors made their voices heard today more than ever. They’ve raised over $10 million today alone — more than any other day in ActBlue history — to fight back and help get Republicans out of office. pic.twitter.com/By3oXPWc52 read more

Study Shows Swing Voters Will Be the Ones to Create a Blue Wave in 2018

A new study of voting attitudes and preferences shows that the key to this year’s midterm elections will be so-called “swing voters” and not the voters who are historically partisan in favor of either Democrats or Republicans.

This study, called The 2018 VOTER Survey, identified swing voters as those who split parties in their votes during the two most recent presidential elections.

One group of swing voters went for Mitt Romney in 2012 and Hillary Clinton in 2016 (Romney-Clinton voters) and the other group went for Barack Obama in 2012 and Donald Trump in 2016 (Obama-Trump voters).

The study is important because it discounts the popular theory that partisan voter turnout this year holds the key to victory for either of the two major parties. Democrats and Republicans have both said that to prevail in the midterms they must get their core voters to the voting booth in very high numbers, which is difficult in off-year elections.

So, for example, the study shows that Democrats will be better off if they focus on retaining the loyalty of the Romney-Clinton voters for the 2018 elections than focusing on turning out those voters who have always voted for Democratic candidates.

Support for this theory can be seen by recent polls and even special elections in suburban districts of affluent voters who were traditionally Republican and favored Mitt Romney in 2012. Many of these college-educated suburbanites switched to Clinton in 2016 and also plan to vote for Democratic candidates in 2018. Turning out these voters to support Democrats is the key to the party’s chances of taking back control of Congress — especially the House of Representatives — this year.

On the other hand, the strategy for the Republicans is to get a high turnout from voters who went for Trump and consider themselves economic populists. Historically many such voters were Democrats from blue collar or working class neighborhoods, as well as from small towns and cities.

Republicans hope to pick up seats in the U.S. Senate in 2018, and to do this they will need to defeat some incumbent Democratic senators running for reelection in so-called “red” states that

voted overwhelmingly read more

Obama Warns Democrats: You Are Right to Be Concerned

Barack Obama

Earlier today we reported thatFormer President Obama is planning to come back into American politics and campaign for Democratic candidates in September ahead of the November midterm election.”

And now POLITCO has reported that the popular former president spoke to an event for the Democratic National Committee last night and said people are “right to be concerned.”

Because Barack Obama has been laying low since he left the presidency and Donald Trump became president, many people are relieved and happy that he is finally speaking up about the current state of politics in this country.

In his speech he did not mention the current president by name, which is understandable, because many good Democrats have a very difficult time uttering the name of one of the most unpopular and dangerous presidents to reside in the White House in U.S. history.

However Obama did gratify his partisan audience by making some extremely politicized comments which he has seldom done since he left the White House.

In his remarks Obama said:

“Fear is powerful. Telling people that somebody’s out to get you, or somebody took your job, or somebody has it out for you, or is going to change you, or your community, or your way of life — that’s an old story and it has shown itself to be powerful in societies all around the world. It is a deliberate, systematic effort to tap into that part of our brain that carries fear in it.” read more