It is a major reason why pro-choice activists are working overtime to defeat Trump in the 2020 election. The Democratic Party is the political home for these activists and the party will surely nominate a presidential candidate who is pro-choice on the abortion issue. In fact, pro-life Democrats are becoming a very rare breed indeed.
Interestingly, Louisiana has one of these unusual politicians as Governor, John Bel Edwards. He has genuinely campaigned and governed as a pro-life Democrat. In fact, Edwards signed a bill which will protect the life of an unborn baby once a fetal heartbeat is detected. If it is implemented and survives legal challenges, the bill will protect the life of an unborn baby as young as six weeks old. It will also require an ultrasound before an abortion can be performed.
Politically, one of the reasons that the Governor can openly express his pro-life views is that he knows that his position is popular in Louisiana. A recent poll by the Public Religion Research Institute discovered that Louisiana is the most pro-life state in the nation with 60% of the respondents maintaining that abortion should be illegal. The survey showed a mere 34% of the participants support abortion rights in “most or all cases.” The nationwide results are much different with only 40% supporting a pro-life position and 54% supporting the pro-choice viewpoint.
This is another case where the people of Louisiana are at odds with the rest of the nation. It also shows how Governor Edwards is at odds with the vast majority of his fellow Democrats, especially those located outside of Louisiana.
In his upcoming race for re-election, Edwards will need to have the strong financial backing of national Democrats who are pro-choice. He will also have to convince more liberal pro-choice Democrats in Louisiana to support him despite his pro-life views, while, simultaneously, persuading more moderate Democrats, Independents and Republicans that he is truly pro-life and to support him as well.
It is a balancing act that will require tremendous campaign skills, but we have seen impressive political dexterity from Edwards in the past few years. Nevertheless, one surefire way for his opponents to score political points against Edwards is to tie him to the unpopular views of the national Democratic Party. Surely, Edwards will have to support the presidential candidate of the Democratic Party. This nominee, whether it is former Vice President Joe Biden or any of the other candidates, will be staunchly pro-choice.
His opponents can ask how can Edwards be truly pro-life if he will support a Democratic Party presidential nominee, who, if elected, will nominate pro-choice U.S. Supreme Court judges? In actuality, while professing pro-life views, Edwards supports a party and candidates who support abortion rights and nominate judges to make sure it will always be a legal right in this country.
This may be one of the many issues that Edwards will have to address in the weeks ahead as he attempts to win a second term. He certainly has the power of incumbency, the support of statewide media, an impressive war chest and a record that he believes merits a second term. However, one of his major liabilities is that he is a member of a political party that is unpopular in Louisiana. If his opponents can closely tie him to that liberal party platform, and the progressive candidates that lead the Democratic Party, he will be in danger of losing.
Jeff Crouere is a native New Orleanian and his award winning program, “Ringside Politics,” airs locally at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and at 10:00 p.m. Sundays on PBS affiliate WLAE-TV, Channel 32, and from 7-11 a.m. weekdays on WGSO 990-AM & www.Wgso.com. He is a political columnist, the author of America's Last Chance and provides regular commentaries on the Jeff Crouere YouTube channel and on www.JeffCrouere.com. For more information, email him at [email protected]