And what that tells about Planned Parenthood’s plans during the 2016 election cycle and the nature of the Democratic primary thus far.
Yesterday the Planned Parenthood Action Fund (PPAF) – the political wing of Planned Parenthood (a women’s organization that focuses on women’s health) – officially announced they would be backing Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in the 2016 primaries. While the endorsement itself isn’t that surprising, the fact that it’s come while the first votes haven’t even been cast in the Democratic primaries is surprising. For the PPAF to endorse a candidate this early in the primaries is unprecedented and important for a number of reasons.
- The most obvious being that it gives a huge boost to the Hillary Clinton campaign, which currently sits on an already sizable lead over her other Democratic primary opponents, Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley. With the endorsement of the PPAF, Clinton will be able to effectively mobilize support (and more importantly fundraise millions) in the name of women’s health. Even though it was pretty clear from the start she would be the “woman’s issues candidate”, an endorsement from Planned Parenthood makes that all but offical.
- For those that think Bernie Sanders has been gaining momentum in the past few days, this could be a wake-up moment for many of his supporters. During these primaries, Sanders positioned himself as the liberal alternative to the Democratic Establishment’s pick of Clinton. Yet time and again, major liberal endorsements have eluded the Sanders campaign. While he was never going to get an endorsement from the PPAF – in a year where Hillary Clinton (an ardent supporter of Planned Parenthood) is running for the presidency, Sanders never really had a shot at the endorsement – yet to announce it this early in the primary cycle is surprising. It not only demonstrates the dominance of the Clinton campaign in these primaries, but shows a larger point Planned Parenthood’s aggressive push in 2016.
- Planned Parenthood was never going to be on common ground with many conservatives, but over the past few years a quiet distain from the GOP has turned into open hostility in this election cycle. So much so that a Republican president would be a massive hit to their organization (especially when it comes to their government funding). In past primaries, the Planned Parenthood had the luxury to recognize niceties and wait for a clear Democratic nominee to come through. This time, with more opposition coming from Republicans to defund Planned Parenthood than in the past and Clinton’s monolithic lead thus far in these primaries, supporting her campaign this early was in Planned Parenthood’s best interest. Sources say that Planned Parenthood is set to spend more than $20 million on candidates in 2016, making it the most they have ever spent on an election cycle. With the early endorsement of Clinton, Planned Parenthood has made it clear that when it comes to this election cycle, they are the “not fucking around crew!”
(Photo Credit: Planned Parenthood Action Fund’s Twitter)