The answer is, no, there isn’t room for the Katrina Jacksons among national Democrats. Nor Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, now that he had made his bed on the issue of abortion.
A bill, which sensibly imposes regulations on abortuaries similar to those facilities pertaining to surgical centers, that the Democrat state senator sponsored six years ago that became law will come up for adjudication this spring in the U.S. Supreme Court. It became a matter of litigation because of its similarity to a Texas law declared unconstitutional, but differs enough that likely the country’s highest court will uphold it later this year.
This and an appearance at the Washington, DC March for Life last month has put Jackson in the spotlight as an anomaly among national Democrats: pro-life. Several laudatory pieces in national opinion media (obviously from the political right) over the past couple of weeks in different ways pose the question about whether room exists in the national party for a politician like Jackson.
Or Edwards. Although as a state legislator Edwards made some votes that undermined the pro-life agenda and prior to that when contemplating a foray into national politics made at least one statement about his political beliefs that indicated support of abortion rights, several bills he signed as governor came down firmly on the pro-life side of the issue. If he has any political aspirations in the future, he cannot repudiate that.
And, like Jackson, any such career won’t go beyond the state’s borders because of that. Quite simply, abortion on demand has become the litmus test for any Democrat to hold national office. As the current race for the Democrat to oppose Republican Pres. Donald Trump this year has illuminated, every presidential candidate of that party supports abortion on demand through most of pregnancy, and many want no restrictions at all.
Nor do heterodox Democrats on this issue typically win seats in Congress. Comprising more than half of the branch’s 535 voting members, only a half-dozen now identify as pro-life. All have served for a minimum of several years in Congress and despite their incumbency some have faced significant intra-party challenges from supporters of abortion on demand.
That won’t change in Louisiana. When the Fifth Congressional District’s current representative Republican Ralph Abraham, who has contemplated retirement perhaps after one more term, leaves the scene, there’s no way Jackson, who had for her last term (in the House) a Louisiana Association of Business and Industry voting score, based upon fiscal and regulatory issues, of 28 (indicating solid liberalism) can compete against a pro-life conservative Republican.
The same goes for Edwards, who wouldn’t get the time of day from his party in a run for the presidency and would lose handily in any contest against either of the state’s two incumbent GOP senators. After all, in his reelection he barely defeated a political novice who ran mainly on national issues.
Not only because of prevailing political attitudes but also given its nonpartisan blanket primary system, pro-life Louisiana Democrats have the most favorable dynamics in any state to win selection for national office. But they won’t, because they cannot win against Republicans in districts that favor conservatives as does the state as a whole, nor can they win in any districts that would have Democrat absolute majorities, because participating members of their party in policy-making and in voting have become so hostile to protection of the innocent unborn.