The Democratic Party Is Not Going To Save Us

Vote blue this November, but get more involved to save reproductive rights


Why was the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade so devastating? Why was it so influential that Donald Trump appointed 3 conservative, pro-life justices during his term? And why do we rely on the Supreme Court to protect our basic civil rights? Because for the past 50 years, the court has looked beyond its job description of evaluating the law, doing what many moderate Democratic lawmakers have refused to do: passing legislation guaranteeing specific civil rights and liberties. 

Think of some of the most important, landmark moments in human rights development in the United States: desegregating schools, granting the rights to contraception and abortions, and legalizing same-sex marriage. All were approved by a liberal Supreme Court and not by lawmakers.

The Democratic Party has sat idly by as the Republican Party systematically strips vulnerable populations of rights guaranteed by the Constitution and in many other advanced democracies around the world. Democrats could have codified Roe v. Wade. They can still codify the rights to same-sex marriage, contraception, interracial marriage and other social norms, but if the party’s past inaction on pressing issues is any indication, they likely will not.  

While the GOP threads oppression into every line of legislation it writes, the Democratic Party refuses to react productively despite its claims that it is the party that protects reproductive rights. Rather, it is complicit in the GOP’s harm. As John Stuart Mill once said, “The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing,” and when it comes to many modern issues, Democrats have done just that.

Even worse, the party has campaigned on preserving reproductive rights, among other issues, to gain electoral support and donations from voters by claiming that supporting them is the solution. Older, moderate Democrats often use issues important to voters to get their support, but they rarely deliver on their promises.

The Democratic Party tells us that if we want to change, we need to vote for them. But we already did, and still, citizens in half of the country can no longer get abortions legally. At the end of the day, the restriction of reproductive rights is a class issue. No matter their party or their state’s laws, our wealthiest lawmakers’ daughters, granddaughters, wives and mistresses will always have access to safe reproductive care because they can afford to leave the dystopias they created. We cannot. 

A party that doesn’t take action on its citizen’s demands does not deserve their support. But is there really any other option? 

Since neither party meets their ideological needs, some leftists are deciding to abstain from voting entirely. After all, why go to the trouble of researching candidates and filling out a ballot on Election Day when you expect neither party to lead the country in a prosperous direction? 

It is completely fair to be disappointed by both parties, but there is a key difference between Democratic and Republican lawmakers. Democrats will keep the status quo (a status quo where half of the country has lost its reproductive rights and no one is guaranteed the freedoms we had just last week), whereas the Republican Party will actively strip us of the few reproductive rights we have left if it gains control of Congress during the 2022 midterm elections. 

While the Republican Party campaigns on actively taking away reproductive rights, electing Democratic lawmakers stalls the Republicans from enacting their agenda.

While the Republican Party campaigns on actively taking away reproductive rights, electing Democratic lawmakers stalls the Republicans from enacting their agenda. We clearly cannot expect Democrats to protect our reproductive rights, but rather, to fill offices and keep them out of the hands of Republicans who otherwise would destroy the freedoms we’ve come to rely on. 

Because of the United States’ two-party system, we have no choice but to work within the system we have. Voting for a third-party candidate is almost always a guarantee of electoral failure, and abstaining from an election could determine whether a Democrat or a Republican wins an election. 

If we set low expectations for the Democratic Party, we are much less likely to be disappointed when they don’t respond to our needs. Voting is unfortunately often not choosing to support a candidate whose views you agree with, but rather choosing between which candidate is the lesser of two evils. Admittedly, this will not solve any political issues, but rather serve as a necessary precaution against further damage. You may not like the Democratic Party — you may even hate it — but young liberals and leftists must vote for party-supported candidates to prevent a Republican from winning an election. 

So how can you bring political change when your elected representatives are unwilling or unable to act? The next most effective method is to organize. Attend local protests and look for grassroots political organizations that align with your beliefs. 

Also, make sure you do your research on each individual Democratic candidate running for office. Progressive candidates are starting to gain prominence in the party, and some are more willing to advocate for certain policies than others. While we shouldn’t expect a handful of progressive politicians to fix the issues inherent in the party, electing these candidates is one method to get politicians to start actually working for us. 

If you’re looking to make donations to enact change, it matters where you send them. Consider donating to local abortion funds rather than to Democratic campaigns. Giving $17 to Nancy Pelosi will not bring Roe v. Wade back, but focusing on local impact and helping others in your community can make a real difference in someone’s life. 

Finally, contact your representatives and demand that they do better.

Finally, contact your representatives and demand that they do better. No lawmaker is going to move mountains because of one letter, and you may end up feeling like you’re screaming at a brick wall, but at the end of the day, legislators are people too. While your concerns may not be implemented, your representatives will at least know that you are disappointed when they do not take appropriate action.

Looking forward to the midterm elections, we once again have a responsibility to vote blue no matter who. If the Democratic Party wins big this November, we will still live in an oppressive theocracy dealing with the consequences of electing radical conservatives, but if the GOP is successful, reproductive rights as we know them could be eradicated before the end of the year. 

We need to vote, but voting cannot be the end of our political participation. If we mobilize, do our research on candidates and make our voices heard, we can bring real change to our communities. Although Democrats may not save us, it is not too late for us to save ourselves.