One of the nation’s largest pro-abortion political action committees (PACs), EMILY’s List, has pledged to spend a whopping sum exceeding $10 million on shoring up the public image of Vice President Kamala Harris ahead of the 2024 elections.
During Joe Biden’s term, Harris’s approval ratings have wobbled between the low 40s and mid 30s, suggesting a need for such a large-scale effort. This move is politically unprecedented, highlighting the absence of widespread initiatives to support Harris amid her persistently dismal approval ratings.
Even the liberal group Emily's List knows that a vote for Joe Biden is a vote for Kamala Harris. https://t.co/Y4YtOskMDn
— Nikki Haley (@NikkiHaley) June 12, 2023
Laphonza Butler, President of EMILY’s List, argues that their objective is to “push back against the massive misinformation and disinformation” Harris has faced since the election. EMILY’s List has a vested interest in Harris’s success, having already supported her as Biden’s running mate in 2020. Butler herself guided Harris’s unsuccessful 2020 presidential bid while working for a major California political consulting firm.
EMILY’s List plans to target specific voters across various platforms as they kick off their investment planning. Butler said, “Some age groups and demographics get their information from things like YouTube or TikTok. For some demographics, they are much more interpersonal in terms of how they get and disseminate information.”
Republicans view this development with caution. One senior Republican strategist, speaking anonymously, suggested that Republicans would paint Harris as a “boogeyman” in their campaigns. They argue that a Harris presidency would be “even worse than a President Biden,” given her past campaign as a far-left Democrat. This strategist notes that Harris’s rebranding as a moderate alongside Biden in 2020 doesn’t erase her earlier radical progressive positions.
This substantial funding pledge comes on the heels of reports from May that Harris was discreetly building a group of allies to magnify her role as the White House’s champion against laws that protect unborn babies nationwide in the wake of the end of Roe v. Wade. The group included representatives from abortion industry leaders EMILY’s List, Planned Parenthood and NARAL.
The financial infusion could enhance Harris’s public standing while underlining the recognition that Harris could play a pivotal role in the 2024 elections. In particular, Republican candidates could leverage fears of a Harris presidency to damage Biden’s re-election chances, especially by raising doubts about his age and mental capacity.
Although EMILY’s List’s intervention might be a lifeline for Harris’s image, it also raises questions about the nature of political funding and the power of PACs. Should we be comfortable with the notion that a large injection of PAC funds could essentially buy an image makeover for a struggling political figure? This case will undoubtedly spark further debates about campaign finance reform, the influence of PACs, and the role of money in American politics.