On Tuesday, Lupe Valdez, former Dallas Sherriff, won the Primary Runoff race for Democratic gubernatorial candidate to run against Texas Governor Greg Abbott. Since March, Valdez has been in a close race with Andrew White, whom she debated in Austin recently. The candidates debated several contentious issues, including elective abortion. Anti-Life politicians of yesteryear held the banner of “safe, legal, and rare,” implying that abortion was an unfortunate “necessity” in certain difficult situations. Now, the Democratic Party dogmatically believes that abortion is a “right” and social good. Thus, as Valdez’s and White’s recent debate showed, Pro-Lifers are not welcome in the Democratic Party. Texas Democrats who hold even personal Pro-Life beliefs will soon be extinct under the new abortion dogma, and politicians like Valdez will make certain they are.
White positioned himself as the moderate candidate the Texas Democratic Party needed to win over middle-of-the-road Republicans in order to secure victory in November against Governor Greg Abbott. Throughout the campaign, White reiterated his personal opposition to abortion, stating that he and his wife “have made the decision that we respect Life.” Additionally, while on the campaign trail White declared that we do not know when Life begins, and for this reason he and his wife “err on the side of caution.” However, immediately following such statements, White always reasserted that despite his personal views on Life and abortion, he would not allow his personal views to influence his governing decisions.
The dichotomy between White’s personal and public positions on abortion proved one of the most contentious issues of the Democratic gubernatorial race this election cycle, a fact highlighted in the Austin debate. When the issue of abortion rose during the debate, White reiterated his talking points, that while he is personally opposed to abortion, he supports elective abortion and would veto any Pro-Life legislation if elected. Valdez pounced on White’s conflicted stance. She stated that his position implies that the women who decide to have an abortion do not respect Life and that he owed an apology to such women. White stood his ground, asserting that his personal opinions would not influence his trust in women making their own health care decisions. Valdez, whom Planned Parenthood endorsed, told reporters after the debate that holding a Pro-Life position is welcome in the Democratic Party. However, as she so aggressively demonstrated, that position is not above scrutiny, and that she would work proactively to protect access to elective abortion.
Some stars of the Democratic Party attempted the tight rope walk of White’s dichotomous abortion beliefs, including former Vice President Joe Biden and former vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine, who each touted personal Pro-Life convictions but an opposite policy perspective. Although such high-profile Democratic figures occasionally indicate there is room in their party for Pro-Life views, the Democratic Party is increasingly becoming more radical on abortion. Progressive Democrats ostracize anyone who hints at even the slightest diversion from the ideological aggressiveness of abortion on demand that has come to define the Democratic Party. Valdez, who won while positioning herself as the liberal gubernatorial option, attacked White for showing even the slightest Pro-Life inclination. Valdez is following the footsteps of the Texas “Abortion Queen” Wendy Davis, who originally garnered headlines for filibustering Pro-Life legislation, which included protecting pain capable preborn children from the injustice of gruesome abortions.
Because many progressive Democrats vilify any and all dissenters on elective abortion, Pro-Life Democrats are vulnerable to intra-party attacks. Representative Ryan Guillen, one of the handful of Pro-Life Democrats left in the Texas Legislature, sustained a primary challenge in March. Although Rep. Guillen will return to Austin next spring, he was almost ousted for his heterodox views. His Pro-Life position was under attack in the Primary, and he’s become more of a minority in his own caucus.
Life is a top issue for Republican voters and has been a central plank in the Republican Party Platform since 1976. Earlier this year, The New York Times published an article alerting the Democratic Party to the fact that the political polarization surrounding abortion is stifling their growth. How many such warnings are necessary for the party to realize that their stubborn radicalization on the issue is harmful? Currently, the Democratic Party will not even entertain softening their radical rhetoric on abortion. Increasingly they will not even consider candidates who deviate in any way from this stance. With such a radical commitment to the killing of the preborn, the Democratic Party will not win favor in Texas. The supposed threat of an impending blue wave crashing over Texas remains unlikely. Valdez won the gubernatorial primary on a radical abortion stance, but she will not win Texas.