An Open Letter To Biden Supporters Calling For Progressives To Fall In Line

To Biden supporters calling for progressives to fall in line: Is celebrating fundraising numbers from high-ticket events your best bet? Ava DeSantis writes on the latest piece of evidence that Biden supporters just do not understand.

Photo by Adam Schultz / Biden for President

Tuesday night, Biden held a fundraising event with former President Obama, bringing in $11 million. $3.4 of this came from high-dollar donors at a “clutch” closed meeting, prior to the open event. Biden's staffers and supporters see this event as one in a positive pattern of successful pitches to the donor class.

The Biden supporter called $500 the “grassroots” level, despite the now well-known statistic: 40% of Americans don’t have $400 in the bank for an emergency.

One supporter said cheerily of an event with former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed. Randell, “We raised from $500 to $50,000. Virtually no one I reached out to turned me down.” 

The Biden supporter called $500 the “grassroots” level, despite the now well-known statistic: 40% of Americans don’t have $400 in the bank for an emergency.

A less confident supporter worried that it is difficult for the campaign to get large Clinton donors on board. “The biggest donors have money to give - but they just had a much longer history and connection to [the Clintons],” she said. Attempting to reassure her fellow supporters, she promised “they will get more active.”

The strategy of building support by publicly celebrating big-donors might work on other potential big-donors, but it will not work on progressives. 

As prominent Sanders supporter, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez explained on the campaign trail, taking donations from the wealthy makes a politician a representative of their interests, not the interests of working-class people.

“I go into work all the time and I hear people saying, ‘What will my donors think?’ I see that billionaires have members of Congress on speed-dial and waitresses don’t,” she said. Sanders echoed this sentiment, “we don’t have a Super-PAC. We don’t want a Super-PAC.” His campaign promised to ban corporate donations to the Democratic Party Convention.

The strategy of building support by publicly celebrating big-donors might work on other potential big-donors, but it will not work on progressives. 

When Sanders left the race, Biden called for democratic progressives to fall in line, saying “I see you, I hear you, and I understand the urgency of what it is we have to get done in this country. I hope you will join us. You are more than welcome. You’re needed.” 

Biden’s continued appeal to the donor class means even if he understands what needs to be done, he cannot accomplish it. Throughout his campaign, Biden received the most money from healthcare and pharmaceutical executives, Sanders received the least. 

While Biden continues to pitch to big donors, his appeal to progressives will fall flat for progressive Democrats.

 


 

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