We know this election cycle’s been hanging over your heads for what seems like forever, though probably still not as long as it’s been since you’ve returned your grandma’s voicemails. (Give her a call back, for heaven’s sake!) In so many ways, though, we’re just getting started. The general election is steadily approaching, and for weeks, all we’ve been hearing about is the need for party unity.
Forget the noise over the GOP’s forbidden romance with its nominee for a moment. We want to turn your attention to the other side of the aisle, where the Democrats’ call for unity is mired in its own silent travesty.
The Democratic National Committee is set to rally behind a nominee and orient the party at the Democratic National Convention in July. Now, some of you might say to this: “Great. The DNC will finally establish a strong party platform based on the good work of the last seven years, say, the Affordable Care Act, and set itself apart from an oppositional Republican agenda.”
This line of thinking would, after all, match the rhetoric of DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, who’s posted statements on Twitter read, “The ACA has helped millions of Americans, and we can’t let Republicans follow through with their attacks on it.” So, this is where the story should end, right? Unless, for instance, the DNC somehow relied entirely on private, corporate donations to cover the $80 million cost of the July Democratic convention: That’d be crazy.
Unfortunately, this is exactly the case. An act passed in 2014 ended public funding of the conventions and, instead, dedicates the leftover cash to pediatric disease research. Clearly, investment in child health is essential for progress, but the consequences of this act are anything but desirable.
The last time our convention fundraising was entirely private was 1972. A $400,000 pledge to the then-Republican convention from ITT Corporation was later linked to a favorable outcome for the company in a federal antitrust decision, as The New York Times editorial board wrote recently. So, how does this funding relate to false claims to unity on the Democratic side, now, in 2016?
Well, the committee set up to host the Democratic convention, as The Intercept reports, is composed of Republican donors and anti-Obamacare lobbyists. For example, the committee’s finance chair, Daniel Hilferty, serves on the board of lobbying groups that directly opposed the ACA. Hilferty also donated over $25,000 to a committee designed to re-elect House Republicans and contributed equal amounts to Chris Christie’s, Jeb Bush’s and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaigns.
As if this weren’t bad enough, the dubbed special adviser to the committee, David Cohen, is the executive vice president of Comcast, a staunch opponent to the current rules of net neutrality and a donor of over $33,000 toward the re-election of GOP senators.
For all the rhetoric of the DNC, bolstering of Obama’s platform and attacks on Republicans, top party officials have no qualms with accepting the money from same private interests that fuel the GOP.
And lobbyists would never invest this kind of money or step up to host these committees if they didn’t expect some kind of return on their investment or special access – such as the reserved seating at meetings of high-level, Democratic officials that the DNC offers to top donors at the convention.
So, dear readers, all we ask is that for the remainder of this election, remember: Actions speak louder than words.