George Soros and other rich liberals who spent tens of millions of dollars trying to elect Hillary Clinton are gathering in Washington for a three-day, closed door meeting to retool the big-money left to fight back against Donald Trump.
The conference, which kicked off Sunday night at Washington’s pricey Mandarin Oriental hotel, is sponsored by the influential Democracy Alliance donor club, and will include appearances by leaders of most leading unions and liberal groups, as well as darlings of the left such as House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chairman Keith Ellison, according to an agenda and other documents obtained by POLITICO.
The meeting is the first major gathering of the institutional left since Trump’s shocking victory over Hillary Clinton in last week’s presidential election, and, if the agenda is any indication, liberals plan full-on trench warfare against Trump from Day One. Some sessions deal with gearing up for 2017 and 2018 elections, while others focus on thwarting President-elect Trump’s 100-day plan, which the agenda calls “a terrifying assault on President Obama’s achievements — and our progressive vision for an equitable and just nation.”
Yet the meeting also comes as many liberals are reassessing their approach to politics — and the role of the Democracy Alliance, or DA, as the club is known in Democratic finance circles. The DA, its donors and beneficiary groups over the last decade have had a major hand in shaping the institutions of the left, including by orienting some of its key organizations around Clinton, and by basing their strategy around the idea that minorities and women constituted a so-called “rising American electorate” that could tip elections to Democrats.
That didn’t happen in the presidential election, where Trump won largely on the strength of his support from working-class whites. Additionally, exit polls suggested that issues like fighting climate change and the role of money in politics — which the DA’s beneficiary groups have used to try to turn out voters — didn’t resonate as much with the voters who carried Trump to victory.
As liberals look to rebuild the post-Clinton Democratic Party on a more aggressively liberal bearing, Ellison has emerged as a top candidate to take over the Democratic National Committee, and he figures to be in high demand at the DA meeting. An Ellison spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Sunday evening. Nor did a Trump spokesman.
The Democracy Alliance was launched after the 2004 election by Soros, the late insurance mogul Peter Lewis, and a handful of fellow Democratic mega-donors who had combined to spend tens of millions trying to boost then-Sen. John Kerry’s ultimately unsuccessful challenge to then-President George W. Bush.
The group requires its members — a group that now numbers more than 100 and includes finance titans like Soros, Tom Steyer and Donald Sussman, as well as major labor unions and liberal foundations — to contribute a total of at least $200,000 a year to recommended groups. Members also pay annual dues of $30,000 to fund the DA staff and its meetings, which include catered meals and entertainment (on Sunday, interested donors were treated to a VIP tour of the recently opened National Museum of African American History and Culture).
The degree to which those groups will be able to adapt to the post-Clinton Democratic Party is not entirely clear, though some of the key DA donors have given generously to them for years.
That includes Soros, who, after stepping back a bit from campaign-related giving in recent years, had committed or donated $25 million to boosting Clinton and other Democratic candidates and causes in 2016.
But, given that the billionaire financier only periodically attends DA meetings and is seldom a part of the formal proceedings, his scheduled Tuesday morning appearance as a speaker suggests that he’s committed to investing in opposing President Trump.