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Kenneth Lerer, a New York businessman who is chairman of Buzzfeed.com, and David Bohnett, a technology entrepreneur and philanthopist based in Los Angeles, are both major financial supporters of Democratic candidates, having each given scores of large contributions over the years. They are both key players in the political fundraising world and wield influence among other donors and fundraisers.
Neither will give another dime to any Senate Democrat who does not support expanded background checks, I’m told — and both will suggest to other donors that they do the same. The move underscores the rising importance of gun control as an issue in Democratic politics — and the rising frustration in some Democratic circles with elected officials who continue to regard gun politics as a third rail, at a moment that presents a real opportunity to achieve serious reform, with a policy that enjoys near universal public support.
As much as we complain about politicians who put their finger in the wind to make decisions based on the shifting winds, Democrats are actually harmed by politicians who don't. As I wrote yesterday, part of our success as a movement has been to get Democrats to understand that they were on the unpopular side of many an issue, from the Iraq War, to equality, to immigration, and so on.
So here we are again, with too many Democrats opposed to sensible gun regulations despite massive popular support, simply because of fear and fealty to an increasingly impotent gun lobby.
But ours is a money-driven system. It was big donors who forced President Barack Obama's hand on marriage equality, the first time I saw a donor revolt pushing the party left. (Wall Street assholes abandoned Obama in 2012, but they were trying to push the Democrats to the right).
Hopefully this is a start of a trend. Too many big liberal voters (those not motivated by Wall Street excess) have given to the party and candidates uncritically in the past. It may be easy for Democrats to ignore a bunch of screaming activists. It's much harder to do so when their end-of-quarter financial reports depend on it.
Originally posted to kos on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 10:16 AM PDT.