The Bernie Sanders campaign has found a new wedge issue in the head to head contest with Hillary Clinton for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination: the massive amounts of cash that Hillary receives from Hollywood's biggest bundlers and donors.
After the Sanders campaign derided the Vermont senator’s opponent for fundraisers that the Clinton campaign has scheduled, which feature George Clooney, Sanders himself appeared on CNN and said that bundlers such as Clooney represent “the problem with American politics.”
Sanders gave a nod to Clooney's acting skills but then suggested that the use of Clooney for extravagant Hollywood fundraising activity is unseemly.
On April 15, 2016, the same day that working folks routinely recognize as tax day, donors who wish to dine at the head table with Clooney, wife Amal, and the Democratic front-runner will first reportedly have to fork over a whopping $353,400 per couple.
The following evening Clooney and Amal will host a Clinton fundraiser at their Los Angeles home, where Hillary supporters will be able to gain admittance for a mere $33,400 per person.
Simultaneously, the Clinton campaign is promoting a contest in which those supporters who are unable to afford the exorbitant admission amount will be permitted, for a smaller donation, to enter into a lottery, with the chance to potentially win a ticket to the Clooney fundraising event.
It is no coincidence that Clinton’s Hollywood fundraisers with the Clooneys are scheduled to take place less than two months before the critical California primary, which will be held on June 7, 2016.
The California contest will ultimately award a total of 475 Democratic delegates.
In an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Sanders said, “It is obscene that Secretary Clinton keeps going to big-money people to fund her campaign.”
Using a familiar refrain from his own campaign, Sanders said, “ . . . this is the problem with American politics . . . Big money is dominating our political system. And [my supporters and I] are trying to move as far away from that as we can.”
The Sanders campaign regularly points out that, unlike Clinton's well-heeled Wall Street and Hollywood donors, the Vermont senator's supporters have funded his campaign with small individual donations. In contrast with the Clooney event, Sanders indicated that admission costs for his events are typically at a more modest amount of “$15 or $50.”
The self-proclaimed socialist said that his statements are “not a criticism of Clooney” but rather “a criticism of a corrupt campaign finance system, where big money interests . . . have undue influence on the political process.”
Before Sanders had publicly discussed the matter, his campaign had weighed in on the issue in an email to supporters.
“In the movie Oceans 11, a gang of lovable thieves successfully heist $150 million from a vault in the basement of the Bellagio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas,” campaign manager Jeff Weaver wrote.
“Fueled primarily from high-dollar donations, Hillary Clinton has raised more than that in this campaign, and is now enlisting the support of George Clooney (Danny Ocean) to pad that total at a dinner event that will cost people up to $353,400 to attend.”
Weaver used the same phrase as Sanders employed in his TV appearance, labeling the cost of a ticket to the fundraiser an “obscene amount of money.”
To demonstrate what a huge amount of money the admission price is, Weaver noted that an employee making the federal minimum wage would have to “work 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, for more than 5 years” to hit the top admission mark for the Hillary fundraising event.
In language that conjures up a similar type of power struggle that is taking place in the GOP primary, the email indicated that “the great question of this campaign is will we restore a vibrant democracy in this country, or will we slide into an oligarchy in which the economic and political life is controlled by a handful of billionaires?”
Supporters of Sanders were recently encouraged by their candidate’s wins in Democratic caucuses that took place in Alaska, Washington, and Hawaii.
“What we showed yesterday is in fact the momentum is with us,” Sanders said on ABC’s “This Week.”
He added, “We think we’re going to do well in Wisconsin. We think we got a real shot in New York. And then we go out to California. You go out to Oregon. That’s the most progressive part of America. We think we’re going to do very well there.”
James Hirsen, J.D., M.A., in media psychology, is a New York Times best-selling author, media analyst, and law professor. Visit Newsmax TV Hollywood. Read more reports from James Hirsen — Click Here Now.
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