Elite donors push Democrats left on climate and immigration, but right on taxes

December 26, 2016 | | Vox |

Bernie Sanders has identified the cancer he thinks is coursing through the Democratic Party’s bloodstream. In speech after speech, the Vermont senator has gone after the party’s donor class — and its hold on politicians — as the central impediment to both a more populist Democratic Party and its electoral success.

Sanders’s argument has a lot going for it. Hillary Clinton campaign’s spent much of the summer fundraising with super-elite donors, and ignored the union organizers in the Rust Belt in a way that backfired spectacularly. The WikiLeaks emails revealed that conservative donors like Israeli hawk Haim Saban were closely involved with the Clinton team’s policy shop. Her campaign was certainly to the right of Sanders’s, which relied on an unprecedented grassroots fundraising effort.

But a report published last week by the think tank Demos appears to complicate this story. The research suggests that one of Sanders’s goals — to free the party of its elite campaign contributors — may actually be at odds with his other plans to move the party to the left. [...]