Saturday, April 29, 2017

More on the Democratic flap over Heath Mello's candidacy in Omaha

Here are a few more items on the odd corporate Dem/progressive Dem dust-up over the mayoral election in Ohama, Nebraska, in which Bernie Sanders came under criticism for endorsing Heath Mello, who in the past had supported antiabortion positions.

Here are The Young Turks talking about this story, Establishment Concerned About Bernie's "Strange Behavior" 04/21/2017

Joan Walsh calls attention to the oddity of this controversy in The Unity Tour Was Kind of a Mess — and That’s OK The Nation 04/24/2017

Daniel Marans gives a good overview of the controvery in How Democrats Got Mired In A Nasty Internal Battle Over Abortion HuffPost 04/28/2017. He points out a couple of very relevant points. One is:

Now even the DNC is clarifying that it never meant to suggest it would not back Mello or other anti-abortion Democrats.

“Tom does not believe in litmus tests and he never said that he didn’t support pro-life candidates,” a DNC official told HuffPost.

In fact, the DNC invested in Mello’s race and in “candidates up and down the ballot” in the May 9 general election through a contribution to the Nebraska Democratic Party, the official said.
And then, there are the other candidates in this way:

Recently, Mello has cast votes that were consistent with some of Planned Parenthood’s priorities, including a vote to expand Medicaid in 2015. As a candidate, Mello touts his opposition to efforts to defund Planned Parenthood.

In addition, his boosters note, Jean Stothert, the Republican incumbent Mello is challenging, is an even stauncher opponent of abortion rights. (None of the other candidates in the April 4 jungle primary were pro-abortion rights either.)
This controversy also brings new light on NARAL, the prominent pro-choice group:

Meanwhile, progressive analysts more sympathetic to Sanders speculated that NARAL might be taking a tougher line against Mello than other anti-choice Democrats because the group wanted to stick it to Sanders.

NARAL enthusiastically endorsed Clinton in the presidential primary, these critics noted, and it later approved of her running mate, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), despite his personal “pro-life” views and past support of some anti-abortion policies. The organization also endorsed Ted Strickland’s 2016 Senate campaign, notwithstanding his vote to ban so-called partial-birth abortion in 2003, the same year NARAL gave him a 30 percent rating.
As I've said before, if this is a sign that the Democratic base and activist groups are going to be more demanding that their candidates support abortion rights, that's a good thing. Too many Democrats for too long have been trying to Mugmump their way around touchy but important issues, including abortion rights.

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