This past Monday, Hillary Clinton formally announced her post-2016 election plans. She will be establishing a political organization aimed at funding “resistance groups” that are standing up to President Donald Trump.
On the one hand, we can have empathy for Clinton because of the pain of losing 2016 presidential election. But among the reasons why she lost was the fact that she was virtually inseparable from big money and the people who have it. Unlike her primary opponent, Bernie Sanders, she did not raise the bulk of her money from individuals. Rather she consistently went to wherever the big money was, whether it was on the west coast with George Clooney or on the east coast on Wall Street.
When it comes to money for political purposes, Democrats are going to have to move beyond Hillary Clinton. For that matter, they are going to have to also move beyond Barack Obama. If you’re talking about “resistance,” what could you be resisting more than the entrenchment of big money?
Bernie Sanders showed that you can fund a campaign “by the people.” Barack Obama might have been able to do it in 2008 but he chose to forgo public financing and went where the big dollars were.
Hillary Clinton’s Democratic Party is the party of yesteryear, or at least we should hope that it is. If she were to turn her personal clock back fifty years and be the student she was at Wellesley, she would probably agree. Somehow, in her evolution, both as an individual and as a Clinton, she became enamored with money and the accouterments that surround it. For the base of the Democratic Party – the working poor, the non-working poor, the middle class, professionals, progressives, it is time to move on. The kind of communication that is necessary in political movements and campaigns is relatively inexpensive. There is no need to rely on mass mailings and television advertising is become less effective.
One of the reasons that Barack Obama’s Organizing for America was such as failure is that what was supposed to be a political movement to support his policies became just another fund-raising enterprise. Asking for money is a pain in the ass for everyone. It promotes false bragging and unseemly begging.
Democrats need to walk the walk along with talking the talk. That means acting in a fashion that is commensurate with the way in which its primary constituencies live. It need not be elitist. It is essential that it is real and honest.
Most of the money that Hillary Clinton would raise for resistance groups would be tainted, and if the organizations are really grassroots, that money would not be needed. Hillary Clinton has done a great deal for the country, particularly in her younger and less varnished years. While she has a clear understanding of what was done to her in the 2016 election, she is very unenlightened about what she did to herself. Until she can reach that level of understanding and acceptance, she is of very little value to the Democratic Party and the country. Let’s hope that she takes time away from secluded circles and can reconnect with her roots. Then it will be time to listen.