Former representative Donald Fraser (D-Minn.) warned fellow liberal Democrats that the "new right" will use insilence even private citizens it opposes and called on "progressive Democrats" to fight back.
Fraser, a congressman from Minneapolis for 16 years, was narrowly defeated in his party's senatorial primary by conservative businessman Bob Short. The contest split the previously dominant state Democrat-Farmer-Labor Party and paved the way for the election in November of two Republican senators and a Republican governor in what has since been called the Minnesota Massacre. Fraser was the avowed target of anti-abortionists.
In a letter to 10,000 of traditonal Minnesota supporters, Fraser said "progressives" all over the country could not quite accept that voters would "believe the outrageous charges made against us or the distortions and falsehoods peddled daily to the media."
He said a "new right" alliance is well organized and its longterm goal is to build a new political party.
"They seek and find constituences among Democrats and Republicans and will embrace any issues they believe will serve their cause... They are finding allies among the social conservatives within the Democratic Party -- many who call themselves 'pro-family, 'pro-life,' 'pro-decency,' those who seek to undermine public confidence in public education, and the anti-ERA and anti-gun control activists."
In his strongest statement since his defeat, Fraser said he decided to speak out when "a small group of anti-abortion activists, using threats of disruption and violence," forced cancellation of a speech he had been asked to make Feb. 24 in a Minnesota Catholic Church.
"I assumed that once I became a private citizen I would be free of harassment from the groups who sought my defeat as a candidate," he said.
rFraser is now a part-time counsel to the Members of Congress for Peace Through Law in Washington.