Today’s Wall Street Journal article, “Emily’s List Candidates Are Quiet on Abortion,” reports that “none of Emily’s List’s statewide candidates in Southern states refer to abortion in their TV ads or in the issues section of their websites, including Wendy Davis, the Texas lawmaker whose filibuster of antiabortion legislation catapulted her into a gubernatorial campaign.” Is this surprising?
Perhaps not, as Women and the Democratic Party: The Evolution of Emily’s List has described, because “unlike NARAL, whose activity and mission is centered on achieving its policy goals, ELIST’s interest-group function and its goal of protecting Roe v. Wade (1973) is not a zero-sum game” and because “it is a multipronged influence organization, the organization’s leadership is ever cognizant of the need to balance the goals and activities of one prong against those of the others.”
This book is the first examination of the growth and transformation of EMILY’s List from its inception in 1985 through the 2008 election cycle. Relying on interviews with organization staff, founding members, and members of Congress, it illuminates the ways in which the organization’s origin and mission are firmly rooted in the goals and activities of the liberal feminist women’s movement of the 1970s. The successes and failures of this movement set the stage for the creation of EMILY’s List. Using qualitative and quantitative data, the study traces the organization’s evolution from its early days as a PAC to its transformation into a multi-pronged influence organization that is a PAC, but also functions as an interest group, a party adjunct, and a campaign organization. The book explores the membership of the organization over time, highlighting EMILY’s List’s efforts to pull in new members and retain its loyal base. As such, this will provide excellent foregrounding of today’s strategy of keeping silent on abortion.
Women and the Democratic Party is part of the Politics, Institutions, and Public Policy in America book series (general editors: Scott Frisch and Sean Kelly).
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