Our 2020 book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics. Among other things, it discusses how polarization has affected American life.
At Axios, Sophia Cai reports that the congressional parties are almost completely polarized on abortion.
Driving the news: Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) — described by his primary challenger, Jessica Cisneros, as "the last anti-choice Dem in the House" — was barely clinging to a lead after Tuesday’s runoff election.Joe Manchin of West Virginia is the only Senate Democrat who joined Republicans earlier this month blocking the advancement of legislation that aimed to codify federal protections for abortion rights.
Democrats further down the ballot who oppose abortion rights are being pushed out or walking away.In New Jersey, the Morristown Democratic Committee voted last year to strip Aaron Oliver of his chairmanship because of his anti-abortion views. "It was awful," Oliver told Axios. "I didn't want to resign, but this issue right now with the Democratic Party is an absolute litmus test."
In Texas, state Rep. Ryan Guillen—the only Democrat to vote for the state's new near-total ban on abortion—switched to the Republican Party last November.
In Tennessee, former state Rep. John DeBerry Jr. lost his re-election bid as an independent in 2020 after state Democrats decided he couldn’t run in their primary due to his voting record on abortion and school choice.
The other side: Republicans who support abortion rights are also a rare breed. There are just two in the Senate — Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski — and none in the House.
Flashback: In 1976, the Hyde amendment banning federal funding for most abortions first passed the House, with 247 Democratic votes. Just 22 Democrats voted no, and 16 did not vote.That was a modern high mark for anti-abortion Democrats in the House, Kristen Day, executive director of Democrats for Life of America, told Axios.
The roll call notably shows Republican opposition greatly outnumbering Democratic opposition — and more Republicans voting no than yes — underscoring how drastically both parties have shifted in the decades since.
By the numbers: Today, about 26% of Democrats describe themselves as “pro-life,” according to Gallup, and about 22% of Republicans describe themselves as “pro-choice.” Among national officeholders, though, the issue is almost fully polarized.The GOP began adopting an increasingly hard line on abortion in the 1980s, as New York Magazine recently detailed, By 2018, there wasn’t a pro-choice Republican left in the House.
Anti-abortion Democrats still made up about a quarter of the Democratic House majority as recently as 2010, but a slew of those members either lost their races or retired. Two of the last holdouts, Reps. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) and Dan Lipinksi (D-Ill.), both lost their seats in 2020.
What they're saying: "The Democratic Party is making it inhospitable to be pro-life and in the Democratic Party," Day told Axios. "It's a huge mistake."