Evangelical Movement Within The Democratic Party - Good or Bad?
by kspidel, Fri Nov 13, 2009 at 07:47:18 AM EST
I was going to post this topic under a specific state as there is a race catching a lot of attention, but I am going to broaden this question and talk about Democratic strategy versus core Democratic values.
That actually brings up a larger question about Democratic values and what are they... really?
There is a growing movement since 2004 of evangelical leaders embracing the Democratic Party. Many feel that Bush used this base to get him elected, then turned on them.
The question I have for the readers of this post today, is:
Is a growing Christian base of leaders and voters good for the party?
In this case, we have Ben Lowe in IL06. I managed the Campaign of Christine Cegelis in 2006. She was the first candidate to run in this very Republican district (Henry Hyde) in decades. Her candidacy in 2004 put the district in play. So much so that the DCCC made it a target seat. They threw Tammy Duckworth into the primary against Cegelis. At this time, this was not the Democratic Party I wanted to build. I wanted to support local grassroots initiatives to strengthen our party. In the end, we lost in the Primary and Duckworth went on to lose the seat to right wing radical Roskam.
Ultimately, I feel we won because now there is existing party structure and organization in DuPage county and townships, where prior there was none. Her candidacy and her activist have built a great organization.
Flash forward to 2010. A few weeks ago it appeared that we had no challenge to Roskam from a Democrat. The local groups have focused on down ballot candidates and it appears there are some strong candidates for these races. Seemingly out of the blue, a young national figure within the environmental justice movement decided to throw his name into the mix. His name is Ben Lowe. His sustainability activism is rooted in his Christian faith. He is from the growing evangelical youth.
His background is not political. His background is rooted in environmental justice, community, and has lived his life on this path. His Christian faith touches on some core issues that many Democrats have an issue with. Specifically on the issue of "life."
I say "life" purposely. I did not use the word "choice."
I ran Dennis Kucinich 2004 National Field operations. Prior to his Presidential bid, he was also pro-"life." After all, what human is really anti-life?
I am pro-choice. I am male, and should never stand in the way of a woman's right to a choice.
Dennis Kucinich, at one time... saw this as a life issue. Not a choice issue. To this day, he still views it as a life issue... his faith and spirituality guide this aspect on his decision to preserve life in healthcare, in preventive care, in issues of the death penalty, etc.
Dennis changed his view on this issue when he ran for president because someone close to him sat down and said that legislating any prevention to access of issues related to a woman's health is an aspect of holistic view of life.
There is a growing movement of Democrats for Life that are anti-choice.
Ben Lowe is progressive on every aspect yet comes from a conservative family and running in a conservative district against a right-wing nut. He brings a voice of moderation, youth, and is part of this growing evangelical movement. His main motivation for quickly building a base to collect signatures in days and qualify for the ballot was his path of community and environmental justice. This is why he is running as a Democrat.
Currently there are a lot of my dear friends and associates from that district wanting him off the ballot. These are good Democrats with passionate views of disagreement with his evangelical roots rested in life.
I understand both sides. I also know this district is a conservative family district and his message would resonate with the families there.
If the issue of a woman's right to choose a core value for a Democrat? Should it be a litmus test?
Should the party turn away the evangelical movement looking to make the party it's home?
Do we want to not support this opportunity for a moderate Democrat in a moderate District?
Curious your thoughts?