Journal of the Indiana Academy of the Social Sciences

Document Type



This paper focuses on the virtual efforts of several nonprofits to preserve “safety net” programs in the struggle with groups that view these programs as unnecessary or as dependency forming. E-mail messages received by the third author fell into 20 broad categories, of which four are analyzed here, messages often revolving around such programs as unemployment insurance, medical care and insurance, Food Stamp and other nutrition programs, and the Violence Against Women Act. The tone and content of the messages often varied with presidential administrations, the structure of Congress, and economic events, such as the crash of 2008. In all areas, attempts were made to frame the issues in broad terms related to economic needs and benefits to the country as a whole, health and welfare, and social justice or fairness. Our data illustrate the tremendous effort being extended by advocacy groups toward preserving the safety net.