Sanders, Warren, O’Rourke inspire patriotic small donor waves

Sanders, Warren, O’Rourke inspire patriotic small donor waves
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During the 2016 presidential campaign, Senator Bernie SandersBernie SandersCentrists gain foothold in infrastructure talks; cyber attacks at center of Biden-Putin meeting Democrats facing tough reelections back bipartisan infrastructure deal The Hill's Morning Report - ObamaCare here to stay MORE (I-Vt.) fired the small-donor fundraising shot that was heard around the political world and now stands on the brink of transforming American politics for a long time to come.

The Sanders fundraising triumph in 2016, raising huge amounts of money by refusing dirty special interest money and appealing to intensely patriotic and idealistic small donors, is a living legacy that is demonstrating enormous political power as the midterm elections and the 2020 presidential campaign come closer.


Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenCentrists gain foothold in infrastructure talks; cyber attacks at center of Biden-Putin meeting Democrats have turned solidly against gas tax Overnight Health Care: Takeaways on the Supreme Court's Obamacare decision | COVID-19 cost 5.5 million years of American life | Biden administration investing billions in antiviral pills for COVID-19 MORE (D-Mass.), a leading progressive voice in the Senate and on the national stage, is inspiring her own wave of patriotic small donors.


Like Our Revolution, the Sanders affiliated group that is supporting progressive groups nationwide, Warren has parlayed a powerful base of small donors into supporting national efforts to elect enlightened candidates to regain Democratic control of the Senate and House of Representatives.

Now Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas), who is surging in his campaign to defeat Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzWhite House denies pausing military aid package to Ukraine Ted Cruz says critical race theory is as racist as 'Klansmen in white sheets' Pentagon pulling 'certain forces and capabilities,' including air defenses, from Middle East MORE (R-Tex.) in their Senate race and who refuses to accept donations from political action committees, raised a staggering $6.7 million from powerful small-donor support in the first quarter of 2018.  

In a new Quinnipiac poll, the underdog O’Rourke is running virtually even with Cruz, who leads in this latest poll by only 47-44 percent.

The success of Beto O’Rourke, widely seen as a rising star in the political world, is particularly noteworthy because he is campaigning in communities across Texas that have been bastions of deep-red GOP support that Democrats rarely visit and even Republicans often ignore. 

While some Texans suspect that Cruz has one eye on New Hampshire and Iowa, voters in small towns across Texas are thrilled to see O’Rourke taking his message of integrity and courage in politics to farming and rural communities, as well as large cities and suburban neighborhoods that are increasingly turning to enlightened Democrats.

Beto O’Rourke does not use a speechwriter to put words in his mouth. He does not take campaign polls to determine which way the political winds are blowing. He does not take money from special interest groups that direct him which way to vote.

Small donors are flocking to O’Rourke with donations while voters are increasingly backing him in polls.

In 2016, Bernie Sanders pioneered a political revolution based on financing campaigns from huge numbers of small donors who want to make America better, rather than smaller numbers of large special interest donors who support candidates solely to buy influence in Washington.

It is impossible to overstate the contribution that Sanders has made to American democracy by proving that a fundraising model driven by patriotic small donors can effectively compete with, and often outperform, the corrupted old fundraising model that turned tragedy into farce after the Citizens United decision by the Supreme Court.

In elections where special interest money flows to candidates that support their special interests, democracy suffers and the people lose.

In elections where money flows to candidates from patriotic small donors whose only motivation for giving is to make their communities and country a better place, democracy thrives and the people win.

Isn’t it a joy to wonder how shocked Ted Cruz must feel to learn that Beto O’Rourke, the candidate of small donors and not special interests, is dramatically gaining on fundraising and coming on in the latest polling? 

Isn’t it spectacular to watch Elizabeth Warren reap a huge surge of support from small donors and help other Democratic candidates succeed so Democrats can regain control of the Senate and House?

A thousand flowers are blooming for enlightened candidates running for office across the nation. One major reason is the patriotic small donors who want to take America back from the Trump Republicans in Washington. 

Brent Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) and former Rep. Bill Alexander (D-Ark.), who was chief deputy majority whip of the U.S. House of Representatives. He holds an LLM in international financial law from the London School of Economics.