How do Bernie Sanders’s 2 million donations stack up historically? It’s hard …
A Union Endorsement for Bernie Sanders.
“With 271,527 votes cast — and all three presidential candidates campaigning directly for your vote — the results are in and they are extraordinary,” the organization wrote on its website Thursday. “Bernie Sanders has earned Democracy for America’s endorsement in the 2016 Democratic Party presidential primary with an astonishing, record-breaking 87.9 percent of the vote.” The liberal group says its “endorsement brings with it a million person-strong grassroots army that has knocked hundreds of thousands of doors, made over 11 million phone calls, and raised and contributed more than $32.7 million to help elect 843 progressive candidates nationwide.” Though Dean started Democracy for America with activists from his 2004 presidential run, the former Vermont governor has endorsed Hillary Clinton in this Democratic primary. Bernie Sanders won one of the most significant endorsements of his presidential campaign on Thursday when Communications Workers of America, the largest communications and media labor union in the country, announced its support of the Vermont senator’s White House bid. The only other person to do that at this point in a presidential campaign was Barack Obama in 2007. (Clinton had 600,000 donations from 400,000 donors through the end the third quarter — end of September.) Sanders has been raising the bulk of his money in small donations — 71 percent of his donations were $200 or less in the third quarter. Sanders’s growing support from big labor, however, poses challenges to a candidacy built around his independence from big money and special interests.
It’s a much needed boost for a candidate whose campaign’s momentum seemed to stall a bit lately, and it comes just two days before the party’s next presidential debate in the crucial state of New Hampshire. Clinton’s, on the other hand, has relied on larger donors — 74 percent of contributions to her campaign were of $1,000 or more, according to numbers from the Campaign Finance Institute. He’s also touting new fundraising numbers, demonstrating his ability to raise millions of dollars online at a pace comparable to President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign. Sanders and his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton have competed for union support throughout the election. “CWA members have made a clear choice and a bold stand in endorsing Bernie Sanders for President,” CWA President Chris Shelton said in a statement. “I am proud of our democratic process, proud of CWA members, and proud to support the candidate whose vision for America puts working families first.” The decision was made after nearly three months of meetings and an online vote by general membership.
The decision to endorse Sanders followed a survey of the organization’s national membership in which the Vermont senator was the choice of 88 percent, while Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton received 10 percent and former Maryland governor O’Malley registered at less than 1 percent. Bernie has called for a political revolution – and that is just what Americans need today.” Clinton leads Sanders in polls of national and Iowa Democrats. The union represents workers in telecommunications, media, health care, public service and manufacturing. “Our politics and economy have favored Wall Street, the wealthy and powerful for too long,” Shelton continued. “CWA members, like voters across America, are saying we can no longer afford business as usual.
But Sanders and Shelton suggested that the leadership of the unions might be out of step with their membership. “What we are seeing is a lot of grassroots support in union after union throughout this country, but that support has not necessarily trickled up to the leadership,” Sanders said. “I can’t tell you what every member of the AFT or the NEA believes,” he said, referring to two major teachers unions that backed Clinton. “So the answer is, what I would have hoped is that unions who believe in democracy would have done what the CWA did, which was to really bring a wide open process … I think we would have won a lot more union support than is currently the case.” “I believe that’s the way it should be done because I think an endorsement coming from me or our executive board alone would have been an empty endorsement,” added Shelton of his union’s process. But Sanders is leading Clinton in polls in New Hampshire, where a Real Clear Politics polling average has Sanders at 48 percent, Clinton at 43 percent and O’Malley at 4 percent. The unusual process did not include the executive board interviews common in other unions, though CWA officials did interview the candidates when they appeared at the AFL-CIO’s summer meeting this year. The CWA executive board followed that lead with a unanimous Thursday morning vote, Shelton said, because of Sanders’s stances on the financial sector, debt-free college, health care, and “retirement security,” among other issues. His team announced Thursday it had received 2 million financial contributions from supporters – underscoring Sanders’ online fundraising successes.
CWA’s immediate past president Larry Cohen, joined Sanders’ campaign as a advisor shortly after stepping down this summer. “Hillary Clinton is humbled to have such tremendous support from labor unions who represent a diverse coalition of millions of hardworking union men and women across the country. Shelton declined to comment on other unions’ endorsements of Clinton, which include those of AFSCME, the Laborers, and the American Federation of Government Employees. Excluding contributions to the two parties and their congressional campaign arms, here are the campaigns with the most individual contributions since 1980. She shares their commitment to fighting for an economy that works for every single American, not just those at the top,” said Clinton spokesperson Jesse Ferguson Thursday. At the top is the 2008 Obama campaign, understandably, followed by his 2012 race. (There are occasionally multiple committees associated with campaigns, so some candidate-cycle combinations show up multiple times.) Obama’s 2012 campaign committee actually got enough contributions in the 2014 midterm cycle to make the top 50.
Sanders, who has sworn off super PACs, has faced questions over spending on his behalf from a super PAC affiliated with a nurses union that endorsed him. If Bernie doesn’t want to take it, ok, I respect that, but we’ll use it to make sure we’ll do everything we can to get the vote out.” Unlike many other unions, CWA did not ask Sanders to answer a questionnaire or sit for interviews with their executive board. Every once in awhile, he makes a decision that isn’t aligned with the grass roots.” Chamberlain said the organization plans to use it 1 million members to help raise money for Sanders and provide targeted support in Iowa, New Hampshire and other early nominating states. Sanders, by contrast, “supports our issues, supports working issues, supports union issues,” said Anetra Session, another board member who wore a red T-shirt and a CWA lanyard.
Sanders’s campaign manager, Jeff Weaver, who jumped on the call, said the campaign has built an infrastructure that will allow groups like Democracy for American “to plug in” seamlessly. Just 261 of the campaign’s donors given the legal maximum contribution of $2,700, the campaign touted. “You can’t level the playing field with Wall Street banks and billionaires by taking their money,” Sanders says in new TV advertisement touting the number.
Clinton has locked up nearly 20 labor endorsements accounting for about 11 million members, including influential unions, such as the National Education Association and the Service Employees International Union. The Democratic National Committee dropped the local TV sponsor of the event, WMUR, because the station has not resolved a labor dispute with one of it’s unions. The endorsements give a lift to Sanders’s campaign as the senator attempts to consolidate labor support and prove that he would do more to promote workers’ rights than Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton.
Elizabeth Warren into the presidential campaign earlier this year and many of its backers migrated to Sanders’ campaign after Warren opted not to run. DFA, which cites a membership of 1 million, said it would run a “100 percent positive campaign” in support of Sanders and would back any candidate who secures the Democratic nomination. Ed Zschau’s 1986 senate race in California.) Incidentally, that ActBlue in 2016 — the committee that’s got the most contributions so far this cycle — is raising money for a guy named Bernie Sanders.
Linda Sanchez, of California, in a Spanish-language op-ed. “Lasting change was bound to take more than a single presidency,” she wrote. “It will take a multi-generational effort, led by someone with the skills and the scars that making real progress often demands.”
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