George Soros and Neoliberalism Still Own the Democrats

There is nothing philanthropic about drowning a democracy in money

George Soros on August 19, 2010 in New York City.

George Soros on August 19, 2010, in New York City. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Calls to overturn the 2011 Citizens United Supreme Court decision stem from billionaires pouring millions of dollars into national, state and local elections, in turn diminishing the integrity of democracy in the United States. As fundraising increasingly plays a larger role in elections, the power of American voters decreases by an equal and opposite amount. Courting donors supersedes engaging voters and debating the issues they care about.

Sen. Bernie Sanders’ disavowal of Super PACs elevated the issue of campaign finance reform which, although Democrats vocally supported, they’ve also embraced billionaires and have continued to attack Sanders progressives. This hypocrisy has come to define neoliberals and the leadership roles they hold within the Democratic Party. The establishment functions under the false pretense that it can fight for liberal reforms and progressive issues under a partnership with the most powerful elites in the country—and this has converged liberal elite donors and Democratic Party leaders such that they are now one in the same.

Three billionaires have expressed interest in running for governor on Democratic tickets in 2018. In Florida, billionaire donor Stephen Bittel is eligible to run for Florida Democratic Party Chair, a campaign the Democratic establishment overwhelming supports.

Clinton puppet David Brock planned an inauguration weekend retreat for billionaire and millionaire Democratic Party donors in West Palm Beach, to develop the Democratic under Trump’s presidency. Billionaire George Soros, one of the wealthiest people in the world, held his own three-day conference behind closed doors with fellow wealthy donors and establishment Democrats—including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

Perhaps more than any other Democratic donor, Soros’ fingerprints are on nearly every facet of the Democratic Party, including liberal think tanks and voting ballots across the country. The amount of money Soros has provided Democrats and Democratic-leaning organizations has earned him a reputation among Republicans that often provokes conspiracy theories and allegations of interference via protests or civil disruptions. Soros’ donation records alone are enough to elicit immense concern over the influence and access one person has to a major political party.

Soros gave nearly $5 million to help Clinton campaign manager John Podesta found the highly influential Center for American Progress, an organization which has churned out alumni to fill positions in the mainstream media, Democratic Party, Clinton campaign and White House. Soros has also gave $1 million to David Brock’s Media Matters and, either directly or through his Open Society Foundations, he has funded several other organizations, initiatives and think tanks.

Based on FEC records, Soros personally provided over $30 million to Democratic candidates, most of which was donated since the 2011 Citizens United ruling. His son, Alexander, has given over $5 million since 2010. Soros has poured even more money than that into elections by way of Super-PACs, lavishing donations on Democrats in Congress, and in down ticket races on the local level.

The Denver Post reported in October that a Soros-run PAC spent nearly $200,000 in a Jefferson County District Attorney race against a Republican incumbent. The Houston Chronicle reported in the same month that Soros made a $500,000 ad buy for a local county District Attorney. The Orlando Sentinel reported in August that a Soros PAC spent over $600,000 to run ads in support of a Democratic challenger to a District Attorney race in Orange-Osceola County. In September, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Soros was pouring money into Henry County’s District Attorney race. Politico dubbed this phenomenon of donating large sums of money to District Attorney races as “Soros’ quiet overhaul of the U.S. Justice System.”

Though Soros calls himself a philanthropist, there is nothing philanthropic about drowning a democracy in money. Democratic partisans have relegated outrage over Soros’ immense funding of the Democratic Party and organizations. The mantra “Republicans do it too” does not warrant turning a blind eye to one man singlehandedly financing a large portion of the Democratic Party.

Ignoring the corruption bred by massive funding from the billionaire class is what keeps authoritarian neoliberals in power. Those willing to challenge this status quo are constantly told to fall in line or are replaced entirely by those who perpetuate a more favorable narrative. Entire apparatuses exist to serve this hierarchy. Editorials rife with elitist condescension are churned out by Vox on a regular basis. MSNBC’s Joy Reid parades Twitter’s most popular centrist conspiracy theorists on her show every week. The Center for American Progress and Brock’s propaganda machines breed neoliberal robots to populate the Democratic machine’s functioning parts—from staff members serving elected officials to mainstream media outlets, think tanks and policy organizations.

Whether by gaining access or inducing action, the top one percent pull the strings of the Democratic Party to their liking. If Democrats want to get serious about recouping their losses and sincerely representing the working and middle class, they need their elected officials and party leaders to be brave enough to disavow themselves from corporate and wealthy donors. So far, Democrats have passed on the opportunity for reform that Clinton’s election loss provided, opting instead to distract the public from their own toxicity by exploiting Donald Trump.