At least 80 wealthy liberals have pledged to contribute $1 million or more apiece to fund a network of think tanks and advocacy groups to compete with the potent conservative infrastructure built up over the past three decades.
The money will be channeled through a new partnership called the Democracy Alliance, which was founded last spring -- the latest in a series of liberal initiatives as the Democratic Party and its allies continue to struggle with the loss of the House and the Senate in 1994 and the presidency in 2000. Many influential Democratic contributors were left angry and despairing over the party's poor showing in last year's elections, and are looking for what they hope will be more effective ways to invest their support.
Financial commitments totaling at least $80 million over the next five years generated by the Democracy Alliance in recent months -- at a time when some liberal groups, such as the George Soros-backed America Coming Together, are floundering -- suggest that the group is becoming a player in the long-term effort to reinvigorate the left. The group has a goal of raising $200 million -- a sum that would inevitably come in part at the expense of more traditional Democratic groups, although alliance officials say donors have committed to maintaining past contribution levels [...]
The Democracy Alliance will act as a financial clearing house. Its staff members and board of directors will develop a lineup of established and proposed groups that they believe will develop and promote ideas on the left. To fulfill their million-dollar pledge, each partner must agree to give $200,000 or more a year for at least five years to alliance-endorsed groups.
The alliance is the brainchild of longtime Democratic strategist Rob Stein, who spent years studying conservative groups -- in particular their success in sustaining GOP politicians and achieving many of their policy goals. Simon Rosenberg, president of the New Democrat Network, is working with Stein and is a leading promoter of his effort.
Big development in the rise of the Vast Left Wing Conspiracy. The Right spends between $400-500 million every year in just the think thank, training, and legal advocacy groups in its machine. That number doesn't even include their network of media outlets.
$200 million over four years doesn't seem like a lot comparatively, and it technically isn't. But their machine was built for 20th century politics. Ours doesn't have to be as big and expensive as theirs. And we can craft ours to better suit the digital political warscape we face in the years ahead.