It probably should not be a surprise, yet it is always astounding to see a newspaper that used to hold some stature just blatantly lie.
An article by Washington Post, published this Saturday, August 3rd, makes the absolutely false claim that Elizabeth Warren is “the ONLY candidate who has completely shunned courting wealthy donors at private fundraisers.” Bernie Sanders, of course, is the pioneer for this type of grassroots fundraising, setting the bar during his 2016 run. Between his announcement in April, 2015 to March 31, 2016, he raised $185.8 million (to Hillary’s $186.7m), with over 2 million small donors at an average donation of $27. He is currently out-raising all other candidates and has such an overwhelming number of small dollar donors that a NYT map of small donations is awash in blue (signifying Bernie donors).
The article, seen here, goes on to laud Warren for her second quarter fundraising haul as “*one of* the biggest,” leaving out Bernie’s equivalently large second quarter haul of $18 million, which came from MORE unique donors than Warren’s $19.1 million.
While the article does note that Sanders raised the most money from small donors–$30 million from 746,000 contributors, the highest of any presidential candidate, and states the second highest is Warren, who raising $17 million from 410,000 individuals. There is no highlighting the significance of the fact Bernie has almost double the number unique contributors. The map of his individual donors across the nation, as published in the New York Times this week, provides a stunning visual representation of what this means:
To make Warren’s donor centers visible at all, the NYT had to publish a separate map, taking Bernie Sanders out. Furthermore, Warren has only recently shunned private fundraisers, but raised money with traditional fundraisers and high dollar donations during her 2018 Senate run. She still tapped into her senate fund via a $10,000,000 transfer to her presidential fund to help in the current primary. So, in other words, that money is still aiding her current primary run. While Bernie also transferred $6,000,000 from his senate run, he swore off high dollar fundraisers in that race as well, meaning the money is still from small dollar donors.
Additionally, she has indicated that she will accept all funds–PACS and Dark Money included–for the general election. The purpose of the Sander’s campaign breaking all campaign fundraising models is specifically in order to change the power dynamics of large money contributors buying access. As stated in the Inquirer article, candidates “stressed their appeal to small donors as a sign of their inoculation from corporate influence and the radical change they offer.” This purpose is defeated if money is accepted in the general, as Warren has signaled she will. It really is business as usual and nothing to congratulate.
This kind of claim that Warren is the one who initiated this campaign strategy & will be responsible for changing the relationship between monied interests and politicians has been broadcasted before, like in a Politico article in June, which said:
It’s also been asserted by influencers such as Pod Save America, as in this July tweet by Dan Pfeiffer, again neglecting Warren’s accepting high dollar donations in 2018 and refusing to make this temporary strategy her Modus Operandi going forward, because she agrees to take this money in the general:
It is important to highlight the blatant bias of the mainstream media, and respond to it in real time. We need to demand the Washington Post correct the blatant falsehood that Warren is exclusively shunning small donors. Submit a correction to the Washington Post here. Same link can be used to submit a letter to the editor. Additionally, you can write the reader’s representative (ombudsman) at firstname.lastname@example.org.