by Axios | 1.18.19
Two years ago, the Women's March sparked a movement that propelled a record number of women into politics. But today, it is fractured and so controversial that prominent Democratic women are steering clear of it altogether.
Why it matters: This year's march is scheduled to take place on Saturday in Washington D.C. and 280 other places across the country. But despite its early momentum, the march has become at best an afterthought and at worst politically toxic for elected officials and political organizations that once supported it.
The big picture: Democrats still see women as key to their chances of claiming the White House in 2020. They largely credit the 2017 Women's March — which drew between 3.3 and 5.2 million people — as the spark that ignited the left's political backlash against President Trump and helped elect a record number of women to Congress in November.
What they're saying: "We are organizing under a big tent, and that big tent is always going to be a little messy inside because we've got a lot of people with a lot of history, a lot of priorities, a lot of trauma who are coming together in ways that have not been done before," Rachel Carmona, COO of the Women's March, told Axios.
Still, it's a Catch-22 for Democratic candidates. They know women voters are crucial for their 2020 prospects, and that the Women's March was a significant force in driving them to the polls. But the chaos and factions within the organization itself has put them in a sticky situation. Even those who were active in 2017 are reluctant to align themselves with this year's events.
Some elected officials had yet to finalize their weekend plans, and others were reluctant to respond to the controversies surrounding the Women's March organization, but confirmed they had no plans to participate.
What's next: On Friday, the Women's March released their agenda — a series of progressive policy goals, including Medicare for All and "ending war." These goals embrace the policy proposals of the most liberal wing of the Democratic party.
The other side: Two right-leaning women's groups organized a counter-rally to speak about against the Women's March, calling it a March for ALL Women.
The bottom line: "Big social movements are always complicated and messy," Cecile Richards, former president of Planned Parenthood who spoke at the 2017 march, told Axios. "That’s the history of social movements. I think what’s really important is that the takeaway from all this is that women aren’t going back."
Axios reporters Alexi McCammond and Alayna Treene contributed to this report.
Written by Axios
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