OHIO VALLEY — A clip of Martha Plimpton's exuberance over the "best" abortion she ever had played out on the television overhead of a gas-station counter somewhere along U.S. Route 422 between Ohio and Pennsylvania.
A woman with a name tag noting her as the manager rolled her eyes and said to no one in particular as she went about stacking the shelves behind the counter, "And they wonder why people don't vote for Democrats around here anymore."
Plimpton, 46, is best known for her role in the 1980's Steven Spielberg classic kid adventure movie "The Goonies." She made her remark in an interview with Dr. Willie Parker at a #ShoutYourAbortion event in Seattle in June.
After saying Seattle was the home of some of her family, she went on to cheer what she did in her teens: "I also had my first abortion at the Seattle Planned Parenthood. Yay!"
With equal exuberance, she also revealed her Seattle abortion wasn't her last.
Actions like Plimpton's do not help the Democratic cause in achieving power and influence back in Washington, D.C. At least not with Main Street voters. Nor does it help Democrats win local races.
"Democrats used to debate the legal right to have one, and that was a point of view that was shared by most voters," said Michael Wear, a theologically conservative evangelical Christian and Democrat who served in Barack Obama's faith outreach office in the White House.
"I don't understand why, 14 months before a midterm election, why would you push 20 percent of voters who would love to support Democrats out the door? Better yet, why would you speak of pro-life Democrats as though they were some extraterrestrial who just landed on earth?" he said.
It is rare that anyone who has had an abortion celebrates it — Plimpton seems to fail to understand few in this country do. Maybe the privileged class celebrates abortions? Even if they did, that won't help the Democratic Party win back voters. Or is it the intellectual class that celebrates them? Even if they did, that doesn't win back majorities either. Or maybe it's the celebrity class that does? If so, there's not enough of them to win back the House or Senate.
In short, this is not the message you want to win every down-ballot seat the party has let waste away under the thrust of identity politics.
It is not that voters like Republican candidates — it's just that they just dislike Democrats more.
The face of the Democratic Party has increasingly become the face of celebrity, scold, and entitlement. The people they used to attract to their "stand for the working class" creed have faded from their reach; they have lost touch with their needs and values and they certainly have lost touch with any type of meaningful message.
They do not celebrate hard work, they demand supporters are pro-abortion, expect them to be agnostic and also expect them to stand for their multitude of identity politics. Instead of bringing people together and being part of a greater political party, division is the only way forward.
"We have seen a tendency in some part of the progressive coalition to react to Republican extremism by becoming extreme in our own voices," Wear said. "Well, that's not helpful."
The argument that Democrats aren't forceful enough in their progressiveness is the Democrats' weakness, Wear said. He remains hopeful things will change, "They have to or we won't win."
Last week during a confirmation hearing for Amy Coney Barrett, a nominee for the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, Dianne Feinstein, the Democratic U.S. senator from California, attacked Barrett for her Roman Catholic faith.
The Notre Dame Law professor was confronted by Feinstein for some of the materials Barrett used for her writings about the role of religion in public life as well as academic lectures she delivered to Christian legal groups.
In short, Feinstein asserted Barrett's religious views would prevent her from judging fairly.
"When you read your speeches, the conclusion one draws is that the dogma lives loudly within you," Feinstein said. "And that's of concern when you come to big issues that large numbers of people have fought for, for years in this country."
Wear cringes at Feinstein's anti-Catholic remarks and line of questioning, as well as Sen. Dick Durbin, who asked during the same confirmation hearing if Barrett was an ‘orthodox Catholic.'
"This is just wrong and it doesn't just hurt and target people of faith, it hurts good Democrat candidates like Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, or Joe Donnelly of Indiana who take their faith seriously.
"I know both men along with other Democrats running for office will be asked during the upcoming midterms to disavow Feinstein and Durbin's attitudes and line of questioning. It's a mark against them and the party to be put in this position."
Here in the Ohio Valley down-ballot Democrats have lost their seats in spades; on both the Pennsylvania and state sides, from state legislator to state senator to Congress and the presidency, the voters began peeling away from the left since Al Gore in 2000.
A nationwide exit polling data shows Trump won Catholics by 52 percent to 45 percent over Hillary Clinton. A huge swing from the past two elections for Barack Obama when Catholics voted for him by margins of 9 points in 2008 and 2 points in 2012.
Why is that important? Well, in states like Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and all through the Midwest ,the Catholic vote is a very important voting bloc no matter what you are running for — and that includes running to retake the majority in 2018.
The last thing Democrats should be doing is to purposefully stiff-arm people we are going to need to win. "If we have one chance to turn to take back Congress, this strategy is not going to it," Wear said.
Salena Zito is a columnist for the Washington Examiner.