Thursday, November 6, 2008

Women's Groups, Some of Many

Over at the New York Times' Caucus blog, Sarah Wheaton makes the case that Democrats could not have won this election without the help of the women's groups. She points to the fact that women went for Obama by a higher margin than men (note that this is almost always true except when you look at the subset of married white women) and that groups like Emily's List are to thank for congressional pickups like Jeanne Shaheen*.

And I think that Wheaton is right to make sure we thank the work of groups like Emily's List. After all, women's groups (and there are a lot of them) have been around a long time. They've tapped into fundraising and organizing in ways that lots of other groups are still trying to work out. But this election wasn't thanks to just women's groups. Part of the success of this election is thanks to a lot of different pieces of infrastructure that have been building from the beginning of the Bush administration. It's not just women's groups, but youth groups, environmental groups, groups of people of color, and a new coalition of liberal media and blogs that have been pushing the agenda to the left in this country. It's hard work, but it's starting to pay off.

Wheaton's point is a valid one, but I don't think she should stop short of demanding that Democrats just "thank" women's groups. Instead, she should ask that Democrats be accountable to the interests of women: protecting the right of abortion and birth control, ensuring heath care reform and health care for children, and pursuing legislation that hopes to close the pay gap. All of these groups, including women's organizations, worked hard to elect a progressive president. Now they should go about the work of holding them accountable.

*Wow, I called her Cindy. What's wrong with me today?

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