Is Abortion What the Democratic Primary is About? Really?


Social media sites are buzzing about Bernie Sanders upcoming appearance at the Vatican, to speak on matters such as economic inequality and climate change.

The media, traditional and social, however, could care less about substance. Instead, the issue du jour is whether the invitation was unsolicited or one Sanders sought out. Pardon me, but in the words of Hillary Clinton: “What difference does it make?” I know one speaking invitation Sanders didn’t seek out: the annual AIPAC conference.

The denigration of Sanders for having perhaps asked to be invited has the Ready for Hillary crowd all giddy. To some extent, that’s just typical campaign bullshit. But there’s a more troublesome aspect to it, in terms of the battle for the heart and soul of the Democratic Party (a figure of speech one could question here, given the doubt that Debbie Wasserman-Schultz has a soul).

Consider this side note from a HRC supporter pushing the “Sanders solicited the invite” meme:

I personally could not care less what a male religious leader who believes women are walking baby machines thinks about our Presidential election but I can understand why either candidate would seek his favor.

Translation: “It’s all about abortion for me.”

I’ve noted numerous times on these pages that the way to spot Democrats who will sell us out on economic justice is it to look for those who wear their support for abortion rights and LGBT rights most prominently on their sleeves. For an Arizona example of this, check out Kyrsten Sinema.

Well, you couldn’t find a better explanation for that phenomenon than the comment I quoted. I’m an atheist. I represented Planned Parenthood for years. The idea that a 15 year-old girl who becomes pregnant by accident should be compelled to take the pregnancy to term is lunacy to me. And religiously motivated, first amendment-violating lunacy at that.

But that doesn’t mean the Pope is a piece of garbage.

Yeah, he’s all wrong, in my mind, about abortion.

But he’s done incredibly good things on other fronts, most notably economic justice and climate change.

When Democrats, HRC supporters or not, are categorically dismissive of the Pope because of his abortion stance, it doesn’t bode well for America’s poor and middle class, or the climate. It is in effect agreeing to a Faustian bargain with an element of the  billionaire class: Don’t restrict abortion rights (and fund the campaigns of centrist Democrats) and you can keep all that wealth for yourselves. At the same time, the bible-thumping poor have agreed to a similar Faustian bargain with a (slightly) different element of the billionaire class: Pledge to end abortion rights (and fund Republican campaigns) and you can keep all that wealth for yourselves.

Which guarantees us one thing: Both elements of the billionaire class will get to keep all that wealth for themselves.

While America continues to have the highest level  of inequality in the Western world.

While 20 million Americans live in extreme poverty (less than $2 per day).

While we race to the point that climate change becomes irretrievable (if it has not already)

Nonetheless, to many, abortion is what the Democratic primary is all about.

As if Bernie Sanders is a foe of abortion rights.

It’s too bad.


  1. “Nonetheless, to many, abortion is what the Democratic primary is all about.”

    Wow. You’re jumping the shark on this one, Bob. This is a standard Republican put-down tactic to marginalize choice advocates.

    Women won’t have equality as long as we don’t have full control over our bodies, equal pay for equal work, EQUAL representation in government, and the Equal Rights Amendment.

  2. the issue for many democratic and independent voters is not wither hillary clinton is qualified ;but does her vote on the iraq war for personnel gain so the republican couldn’t use her vote against her when she ran for president disqualifying . the answer is YES! on a progressive radio talk show yesterday I was told we all supported the war in the beginning. and went to another caller before I could say I never supported the iraq war. on the weekend of the start of the iraq war I called in to the jay lawrence show (that was before the mormon station felt in to dangerous take listeners calls) and said the iraq war was crazy! it would be like when japan bombed pearl harbor and roosevelt declared war on mexico! I told jay and the listeners to watch the movie the battle of algiers to see what was going to happen. cheney wouldn’t let dubya see the movie.

  3. Wow, Bob. Have you actually talked to HRC supporters how they feel about the Pope, or do you, like some, just read the headlines or one quote from one person, and put all HRC supporters into a neat little pile? HRC supporters that I know are very well rounded and look objectively into many issues. We are not one issue voters. Wow…..

    • I didn’t intend to put them in a “neat little pile.” Check out my third to last and eighth to last paragraphs. Seems like I’m doing just the opposite. In the eighth to last paragraph, I’m saying that the “pile” includes both HRC supporters and others, right?

  4. The authors conclusion that the only reason thinking people dislike the pope is his stand on abortion, is lunacy. The current pope has gone out on his international pr campaign to sell the moderation of the church. However what real change have we seen? His speeches have factioned the church and brought condemnation from conservatives, but it is still a male dominated church that excludes and condemns billions of people. And until he condemns the last pope who was a nazi, he has really done nothing of merit. Words are cheap and so far It’s just the same bullshit with a new spin. I personally feel that sanders visit is a mistake, and it makes me question my support of him.

    • ISIS wishes they had the murderous track record that the Catholic church has, no doubt, but you can say the same thing about all paternalistic Sky Daddy based religions.

      My favorite quote from the Rum Diaries – This country was built on genocide and slavery. We killed all the black guys over here and then we shipped in new black guys of our own. And then we brought in Jesus like a bar of soap.

      Our entire foreign policy for the last 50-60 years was shaped by Christians like John Foster Dulles and his little brother Allen and our Jesus based government has murdered at least 4 million people since WW2.

      So would we be the pot or the kettle in the US vs. Rome discussion?

      Bernie’s running to be POTUS of everyone, including Catholics.

      I’m pretty sure Sanders is pro choice.

      Praise be to the FSM, praise his name.

      • My goodness!! Such bitterness and angst spewing out of such a small message. It takes a long time for such hatred to build up so that you are unable to see any good in something…or, in your case, in anything.

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