Sanders's small donors are changing the political world
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Words cannot fully express the profound power and game-changing impact of the small donors to Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersHillicon Valley: Apple rolls out coronavirus screening app, website | Pompeo urged to crack down on coronavirus misinformation from China | Senators push FTC on price gouging | Instacart workers threaten strike Overnight Energy: Court upholds Trump repeal of Obama fracking rule | Oil price drop threatens fracking boom | EPA eases rules on gasoline sales amid coronavirus The Hill's Campaign Report: Sanders pushes on in 2020 race MORE's (Vt.) presidential campaign, who are proving — who have proven — that a national campaign can be funded by an army of small donors who together can compete against any campaign that the most wealthy individuals and corporate financial power can buy.


In the month of February alone, the Sanders campaign raised some $42 million, more than the approximately $30 million raised by rival Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonHillary Clinton on US leading in coronavirus cases: Trump 'did promise "America First"' Democratic fears rise again as coronavirus pushes Biden to sidelines Clintons send pizza to NY hospital staff treating coronavirus MORE's campaign during that month and more than the amount of money raised by any Republican presidential campaign in February.

From the moment he launched his presidential campaign, Sanders has reached out to small donors to advance his campaign to create a revolution in American politics, and his small donors have reached back. Day after day, week after week, month after month, his small donors have come through with a generosity of spirit and an idealism of purpose to build a better future for American democracy.

Having spent a career working for and with Democratic leaders and writing columns published in the major media I am a charter member of some wing of the political establishment — even though I have written in columns and said on television that, in my view, this establishment has become corrupted by the stench of dirty money and the stain of special interests.

Even my most cynical readers should be be astonished and amazed by the degree to which the Democratic establishment and the media establishment are resistant to facts that are proven by the Sanders campaign and the degree to which they are intimidated by the implications of these facts. Yet even my readers who are the most cynical about and politically depressed by the corruption of the system should be be astonished and amazed by the potential lasting impact for good that the Sanders campaign has now brought within reach.

It gets the attention of the establishment — big time, trust me — when any candidate can generate the immense enthusiasm quantified by campaign cash flow achieved through small donations that the Sanders campaign has achieved in record and historic numbers.

If Sanders is fighting for a political revolution that transforms American politics, his small donors are the colonists who rose at Lexington and Concord to create America in 1776.

Sanders's small donors do not dream of someday working in government for the purpose of someday making big money marching through the revolving doors to lobbying firms. No; they dream of making government more responsible for the well-being of the people. They dream of a society that helps the poor, lifts the middle class, educates the students, cares for the elderly, cures the ill and protects the planet.

What the Sanders donors have proven is that one man and one woman multiplied millions of times, each giving a small amount of money, can together have as much power as the billionaires and the super-PACs and their lobbyists and PR voices. And they can use this power for the good of America and the world, not to feather their own nests or satisfy their egos or lobby for their special interests.

I will soon offer dramatic proposals to change and reform the Democratic Party, which, if implemented, can help build a new and powerful progressive movement. For today, I tip my hat to the small donors who are creating a new paradigm for campaign fundraising and a new hope to lift and change America and the world — a process that is beginning in real time in primaries today as campaign 2016 unfolds.

Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) and former Chief Deputy Majority Whip Bill Alexander (D-Ark.). He holds an LL.M. degree in international financial law from the London School of Economics. Contact him at