Closing the Wallet

Linda Hirshman makes a great point on Salon — namely that pro-choice donors in general and women in particular should loudly proclaim they will not be donating to Democrats as long as the party treats their rights like an afterthought. Gay donors have joined a boycott, lead by John Aravosis of AmericaBlog, to withhold contributions to the DNC, OFA and the Obama campaign until the Obama administration and Congress start working on behalf of LGTB Americans who support them. Hirshman writes:

Now the Democratic majority the women enabled is about to make the Hyde Amendment worse, and women are negotiating only about how much worse it’s going to get. Anyone who knows anything about bargaining recognizes the dynamic: give in the first time, and you’re weakened in the next round. And so it goes until you finally stop going along.

All histories of the gay movement record how much the founders took from the racial civil rights movement and the feminist movement that came before. It’s time for women to return the favor. Gay leaders can threaten the Democratic Party with a few paltry million-dollar donations. To paraphrase the lady at the diner in “When Harry Met Sally,” I’ll have what they’re having.

Promises have been made for years by Democratic politicians to both these communities. It’s clear that the party, under the leadership of the President, is not currently prioritizing honoring their commitments. Now is the time to withhold money and show elected officials that the base won’t stand for rollbacks of women’s rights under a Democratic administration. Making influence felt through money may be somewhat cynical, but it’s this cynicism that is needed. We know the other side will do everything they can to make their influence felt when they want to curtail the right of choice or prevent loving couples who aren’t straight from being able to marry. It’s time for progressive interest communities to up the ante and the force of the tactics they use.

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