[Marxism] Liberals See Hillary Clinton’s Focus on Big Donors as Bafflingly Dated

Ralph Johansen mdriscollrj at charter.net
Sun Sep 25 10:12:38 MDT 2016

Liberals See Hillary Clinton’s Focus on Big Donors as Bafflingly Dated


Hillary Clinton at a fund-raiser in New York City earlier this month. 
She has raised more money than Donald J. Trump, mostly from rich donors.

Credit Todd Heisler/The New York Times

WASHINGTON — In 2012, B. Rowe Winecoff, a retired social worker from 
Newton, Iowa, contributed $120 to President Obama’s re-election 
campaign. But he has yet to give any money to Hillary Clinton in this 
election. “This year just seems dirtier than ever,” said Mr. Winecoff, a 
Democrat, explaining why he has not contributed to the candidate he 
intends to vote for.

Even as newly released financial disclosures reveal that Mrs. Clinton 
enjoys a substantial fund-raising advantage over Donald J. Trump, she is 
struggling to replicate the sort of small-dollar juggernaut that Mr. 
Obama enjoyed in his campaigns and Senator Bernie Sanders relied on in 
this year’s Democratic primaries.

In an illustration of the lack of enthusiasm for her among some liberal 
activists, just 24 percent of the contributors to Mrs. Clinton’s 
campaign so far have given $200 or less. In 2012, 43 percent of the 
money to Mr. Obama was from contributors who gave $200 or less, and this 
year 58 percent of the giving to Mr. Sanders’s grass-roots bid came from 
small-dollar donors.

Without this online network, Mrs. Clinton is being made to continue with 
an aggressive calendar of fund-raisers with rich donors as Election Day 
grows near — events that can limit her time in swing states and 
reinforce concerns that give rank-and-file Democrats pause.

“Hillary has been at so many fund-raisers and off the campaign trail,” 
said Mr. Winecoff, bringing up her schedule without prompting. “And a 
lot of money is coming from special interests, so we’re concerned about 
what that’s going to mean.”

Since Labor Day, the traditional start of general election campaigns, 
Mrs. Clinton has appeared at nine fund-raisers while attending five 
public events in swing states. And that does not include the multiple 
money events she was set to attend in California, but instead sent Bill 
Clinton to after she came down with pneumonia.

Mrs. Clinton has tried to meld her need to raise money for 
advertisements and voter-turnout efforts with her retail campaign. But 
it can be a stretch. After addressing college students at Temple 
University this week, for example, she attended a fund-raiser hosted by 
David L. Cohen, a Comcast executive and Philadelphia Democratic 
powerhouse, that brought in roughly $3 million. Trying to keep with the 
day’s theme, college students and young Comcast employees were also 
invited, to interact with Mrs. Clinton in the kind of rarefied small 
setting typically reserved for wealthy contributors.

Continue reading the main story “What Bernie did in the primary was 
truly incredible, but we’re very happy with the state of our grass-roots 
fund-raising,” said Josh Scherwin, a spokesman for Mrs. Clinton, adding 
that “September is shaping up to be our best month for online 

But the campaign’s traditional approach to raising money is maddening to 
many Democrats, particularly liberals who have witnessed the evolution 
of online fund-raising and are baffled at why Mrs. Clinton is so 
committed to an approach they see as nearly as dated as torchlight parades.

“It boggles my mind that the Clinton campaign didn’t learn their lessons 
from 2012 or even earlier this year, and haven’t moved toward a more 
open and public campaign, one that constantly has her in front of real 
people instead of rich people,” said Markos Moulitsas, the founder of 
the blog Daily Kos.

Graphic: Donors for Bush, Kasich and Christie Are Turning to Clinton 
More Than to Trump He continued: “Sanders certainly proved that if you 
focus all of your energy on the voting public, that core supporters will 
reward that love with real money. Instead, Clinton’s campaign still 
seems stuck on the old model of never-ending high-dollar fund-raisers. 
As a result, she looks secluded and out of reach, further reinforcing 
the notion that she cares more about the wealthy than regular folks.”

This close to the election, though, Mrs. Clinton may not have much of a 
choice. Given Democratic fears of Mr. Trump and her advantage in the 
race, there is an intense demand for her in the ranks of major 
Democratic givers.

“Just trying to find a date has been a challenge,” said James Hodges, a 
former South Carolina governor who has been trying to organize an event 
for Mrs. Clinton before the election. Further, the very fund-raising 
model she is depending on demands a continued stream of events with 
contribution levels that begin at five figures and often run higher. It 
is an approach that she and Mr. Clinton are well acquainted with, dating 
to the 1990s when raising soft money for the national parties was legal.

They have enduring relationships with donors in all 50 states going back 
to those days. So unlike in the campaigns of Mr. Obama and Mr. Sanders, 
who began as insurgents, necessity has not demanded that Mrs. Clinton 
raise money any other way. (Mr. Obama ultimately fashioned a network 
that relied on both modest givers and the wealthy.)

“She’s invested heavily in the infrastructure of human beings: finance 
directors across the country, photo lines and donor-circle membership,” 
said Scott Goodstein, the founder of Revolution Messaging, an online 
Democratic fund-raising firm. “Now they’ve got to play that out. She, 
unfortunately, made that commitment to do those five house parties or 
what have you in New York and now she has to stand on that because her 
bundler network needs it.”

Mr. Goodstein, whose firm ran Mr. Sanders’s online fund-raising effort, 
added that “the mistake that I think they made was not reaching deeper, 
building deeper infrastructure and a deeper coalition.”

Instead, she is relying on the sort of access-oriented fund-raising that 
is a staple of Washington. And she is not the only one making herself 
available to major contributors who want to influence policy. This 
month, for example, Michele Flournoy, who is seen as a favorite to be 
Mrs. Clinton’s defense secretary, headlined a fund-raiser in 
defense-industry-rich Northern Virginia where the top contribution 
requested was $5,000.

Mrs. Clinton’s low-dollar fund-raising has picked up in recent months, 
and over half of the total money she raised last month came through 
online contributions, according to a campaign aide.

And with polls tightening, Democrats expect Mrs. Clinton’s online 
success to pick up.“Urgency really drives action,” said Mitch Stewart, a 
veteran of Mr. Obama’s campaigns.

It is Mr. Trump who is drawing more from modest givers as a percentage 
of his total contributions. Sixty-one percent of his donations through 
the end of July were in amounts of $200 or less, a figure that is partly 
explained by the resistance to his candidacy from wealthy Republican 

Yet many in Mrs. Clinton’s own party believe she could have done far 
better had she made Democratic activists feel as invested as the party’s 

“The campaigns with the most effective networks of small-dollar donors 
are the campaigns where small-dollar donors feel their donations 
matter,” said Ari Rabin-Havt, a SiriusXM radio host who has worked on 
online fund-raising campaigns for Democrats.

Agustin Armendariz, Amy Chozick and Rachel Shorey contributed reporting.

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