Congressional Candidates Need Big Money to Survive

Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton has come under fire recently due to the nature of her fundraisers hosted by George Clooney. These events, which raised $15 million for the Hillary Victory Fund, were the subject of much scrutiny due to their obscene attendance fees. The most vocal of the critiques came from the Sanders campaign, which has long maintained that money is a corrupting influence in politics.

However, comments like these seem a bit out of place for individuals like Sanders, as 99 percent of the raised funds did not go to the Clinton campaign, but were instead shared between down-ticket Democratic candidates throughout the country. This tactic is actually something that Sanders has praised, as a Democrat takeover of Congress is essentially the basis for his beloved political revolution.

Almost all of Sanders’ proposals require congressional approval in one way or another. Yet the current state of Congress makes it extremely unlikely that any left-leaning measures will pass.

History has proven this to be the case. The Obama administration’s greatest successes — the Affordable Care Act, clean energy investments, student loan reformation — did not occur due to the power of small donations and charisma, but because Democrats had control of the House and an impressive majority in the Senate.

Our governmental system is comprised of more than just the executive branch; congressional support is essential for progress. This is evident through the little success Democrats have had in the months since the Republican takeover of the Senate, and if Sanders or Clinton want to change this Democratic losing streak, they need to start considering the upcoming midterm elections to be almost as important as the general.

This starts with halting the petty criticism of fundraising events that benefit the party as a whole. Clinton spokesman Josh Schwerin stated that the vast majority of the funds from the previously mentioned Clooney event specifically went “to the DNC and 32 state parties across the country to help elect Democrats up and down the ballot, including local and statewide candidates.”

Important events such as these cannot continue to be degraded by the voter base due to the spread of misinformation. Party leaders, like Sanders, need to stop taking the easy route and criticizing them based on raw numbers alone, and instead review the specifics and act accordingly.
Sanders needs to join Clinton in supporting the men and women of the party he is asking to nominate him. Political revolutions are not built through some trickle-down system; they start from the bottom up, and in this country that means supporting Democrats in local and state elections.

This article initially appeared online at Washington Square News.

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