Senator Elizabeth Warren’s commitment to fighting corruption is well established.
Now, for her presidential campaign, she’s imposed stringent fund raising rules on herself: no fund raising events, dinners, receptions, or preferential treatment for wealthy donors such as phone calls and direct private access to her.
In a recent email to supporters she wrote that her campaign would give up “fancy receptions or big money fundraisers only with people who can write big checks…for every time you see a presidential candidate talking with voters at a town hall, rally, or local diner, those same candidates are spending three or four or five times as long with wealthy donors — on the phone, or in conference rooms at hedge fund offices, or at fancy receptions and intimate dinners — all behind closed doors.”
She’s Challenging Her Competitors
Warren’s announcement is sure to put some of her Democratic competitors who have courted big-dollar donors in an uncomfortable position. She had previously foresworn accepting any PAC money and donations from federal lobbyists and has pressured others Democratic candidates to do the same.
It’s a shrewd move by one of the top candidates in what’s getting to be a very crowded field and includes such serious contenders as Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, and Julian Castro of Texas. Most Americans oppose big money in politics and are overwhelmingly in favor of limits on campaign spending. Her decision to voluntarily limit the sources and amounts of donations is sure to boost her already substantial credibility.
Giving Us Credit For Our Smarts
To her credit, Warren understands that the majority of Americans are well aware of the problems created by the Citizens United SCOTUS decision that’s resulted in a tsunami of dark money flooding into politicians’ accounts and effectively influencing government policy in favor of the wealthy and large corporations.
Indeed, to me one reason she’s a serious contender for the presidency is because she treats us like intelligent people.
But she’s got some tough competition on grassroots fund raising from Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders who raised nearly $6 million within the first 24 hours of officially launching his campaign. It’s a testament to the power of small donor contributions, something President Obama harnessed in his 2008 campaign and shocked many people with the results.
Harnessing Grassroots Power
Warren understands this power and intends to leverage it as strongly as she can both nationally and in the states. As she wrote in her email announcing her self-imposed limits, “By then we’ll be up against a Republican machine that will be hell-bent on keeping the White House.They will have PACs and Super PACs and too many special interest groups to count, and we will do what is necessary to match them financially. That means investing—starting now — in each and every one of our state parties, and in our national party too.”
Get The Corruption Out
I’m delighted with this development, being one of the millions of Americans who’s been opposed to the Citizens United decision since the get go, and is appalled at the corruption it unleashed.
Warren’s emphasis on grassroots fund raising is refreshing. I’m curious to see if other candidates besides Sanders follow suit. I believe it could give her a significant advantage in a crucial 2020 election.