In May, the Tennessee Democratic Party’s executive committee voted 41-18 to remove Rep. John DeBerry Jr. from the ballot for the August primary, despite DeBarry serving 26 years in office as a Democrat.
DeBarry has been expelled from the Democratic party for his views on abortion, which have not changed in his time as a public servant.
The vote to remove DeBarry took place after the deadline had passed for him to run as an Independent or a Republican, and he was forced to rely on legislators to pass a measure allowing him to be listed on the ballot anyway, avoiding a write-in campaign.
DeBerry is an ordained minister with the Church of Christ, and says that he has never hidden his pro-life beliefs, despite the executive committee declaring that his constituents do not realize what he stands for.
“For them to say that folks don’t know where I stand, they actually said that the people in my district don’t have sense enough to elect their representative,” DeBerry said.
In August, DeBerry joined more than 100 other Democrats in signing a letter lobbying to fix an “extreme” deviation on the subject of abortion in their party. Pro-life Democrats are being alienated, and fear that the topic will cause many Democrats to vote Republican this fall.
"We should not cede large swathes of the United States to the Republican Party," the letter read. "We support reintroducing the conscience language from 2000 into the 2020 platform, which acknowledges that Americans have differing and deeply held views on abortion.”
Many Democrats are now lobbying for abortion until birth, as well as taxpayer-funded abortions. Liberals declare that the issue is one of basic human rights and racial equality.
On the flip side, Black anti-abortion activists claim abortion is comparable to genocide for their community.
But what do the polls say? Voters tend to support some limits on abortion, but not the all-or-nothing approach often advanced by each side. In May, Gallup found that 50% of voters thought abortion should be legal only under certain circumstances. And while a plurality say abortion is “immoral,” moderates (55%) tend to identify as "pro-choice."
According to a June Gallup report, 24% of Democrats consider themselves pro-life. And a Marist poll, conducted with the Knights of Columbus, from January showed 44% of Democrats said they were "more likely to vote for" candidates who would limit abortion to the first trimester.
DeBerry has also gained attention this year for his remarks that the protests going on in the U.S this summer would be more successful if they remained peaceful. He recounted his family’s participation in civil rights activism in the mid-twentieth century, and he personally witnessed the civil rights protests of the time. He argued that the civil rights movement overcame these things because it had integrity and class, worked peacefully and had common sense and strong values.
As the Democratic party moves more firmly to the left, those that consider themselves Moderate are being left behind, choosing either to sit out future elections, or vote Republican in an attempt to elect a politician with morals.