Is ‘Moms for Liberty’ on the Ropes?

In the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, conservative culture warriors saw a surge in interest and support. Much of it was driven by anger over prolonged school closures, which caused academic and social harm. 

Perhaps the most prominent group to capitalize on that anger was Moms for Liberty (M4L). The conservative “parental rights group” began as a reaction to pandemic policies. But it also took on issues like race, LGBTQ rights in schools, and book bans.

M4L had huge electoral successes in some parts of the country. In 2022, a number of M4L-backed candidates won school board races in California, setting up many of the recent showdowns over pride flags, trans notification policies, books, and so-called “Critical Race Theory.”

But three years after its founding, there are signs of trouble. M4L — which was designated an extremist group by the Southern Poverty Law Center last year — is experiencing dwindling membership, funding, and drive.

Last year, one of the co-founders, Bridget Ziegler, was embroiled in a scandal after a woman accused Ziegler’s husband of sexual assault. Bridget Ziegler admitted that she and her husband had engaged in threesomes with the accuser, igniting charges of hypocrisy. According to authorities, some of these sexual encounters were taped by the Zieglers without consent. 

In 2023, M4L’s electoral fortunes also changed. The group lost important school board races across multiple states, including Iowa.

With another election season underway, it appears there’s more trouble ahead. Waning interest in the group’s activities recently led to the shutdown of its Lehigh County, Pennsylvania chapter, the Daily Beast reports.

“I guess there wasn’t as much willingness to do the work that’s required to propel the movement forward,” chapter founder Janine Vicalvi said.

The progressive New Republic magazine reports scant participation by M4L members at school board meetings in places like Brevard County, Florida. The lack of representation may have been significant. The school board ended up rejecting a ban on books that M4L supporters had deemed inappropriate.

It turns out that the government denying children of an education was a good rallying cry for M4L. Other positions, like opposing Social Studies, maybe not so much. 


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Thursday, March 28, 2024 - 09:07

School construction bonds faced some headwinds during the March 5 primary, with a passage rate of around 60% compared with the 73% seen in typical past primaries.