Putting aside the fact that Eric C. Jacobson, the Los Angeles lawyer behind the effort, will have to change the name because unaffiliated PACs can’t bear the name of the candidate, the goal of “Billionaires for Bernie” is exactly as it sounds.
Jacobson is a self-described progressive, who likes Sanders because he’s “unbossed and unbought.” But to get Sanders to the White House means competing at the levels of a Hillary Clinton or Jeb Bush.
And in today’s politics, that takes money.
Jacobson believes liberals’ general position against unlimited contributions in politics is limiting their ability to compete.
“I’m hoping to facilitate a level playing field where a billionaire of conscience can write a check … and I’m going to encourage them to do it,” Jacobson told the Loop. In his view, there are plenty of “well-heeled” liberals who should get in the big money game.
He’s on the hunt now for those billionaires. He already has one in mind, Ronda Stryker, a Michigan philanthropist. He doesn’t know where her allegiances are, but he knows she cares about progressive causes.
Too bad in 2013 Stryker was quoted in the Kalamazoo Gazette disparaging partisan politics.
“I don’t have a passion for politics,” Stryker said then. “I don’t like what it does to people. I’m always disappointed.”
But she did give $50,000 to President Obama’s first inauguration, so maybe she can be persuaded?
Now, no one at Sanders campaign responded to our inquires about this new “Billionaires for Bernie” endeavor, but the Vermont socialist has made clear he does not want super PAC help.
The Citizens United “decision is undermining American democracy. I do not believe that billionaires should be able to buy politicians,” he said on “Face the Nation” in May.
But Jacobson is not deterred. It will be a “very unaffiliated effort,” he told us.
“There’s going to be full-court press to outspend the Sanders camp — the Hillary billionaire drown out,” he said. “This is about First Amendment freedoms. … I’m a pretty true believer in this and I think it can make a difference.”
Brought to you by Billionaires for Bernie.