NEW YORK — A progressive group founded by former leaders of the far-left MoveOn.org organization are planning a training session with hundreds of Democratic candidates for major office, advocating messaging that pushes a public health care option for all Americans and “debt-free college” policies.
The Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC) told BuzzFeed that 450 candidates are slated to attend its training session in Washington, with 70% of scheduled participants running in elections this year and 64% running in state and federal races in districts won by President Trump during the 2016 election. Besides policy advice, the sessions will also train lawmakers on how to raise funds from small donors.
Individual donors to PCCC include billionaire George Soros and his son Jonathan. Those donations totaled only $5,000 each, the maximum individual contribution that PCCC accepts. The PCCC says it has raised over $26 million in “grassroots donations for its electoral and advocacy work, and directly for progressive candidates and committees.”
The organization’s major issues include social security expansion, a public healthcare option, so-called debt-free college and Wall Street reform.
Framing those issues as “economic populist policies,” Stephanie Taylor, PCCC cofounder, explained the training sessions for candidates are aimed at “helping these people build the infrastructure they need to win.”
“There’s been some debate in the Democratic Party about what candidates to run, with the establishment supporting more centrist Democrats, but economic populist policies are the way to campaign in these districts,” Taylor said. “The average American doesn’t care about corporate tax credits when they’re up and worried about how they’re going to pay for their medical treatments at night, and we need to keep pushing the party to represent these everyday Americans.”
The most prominent PCCC-backed politician is Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Other PCCC-supported officials include Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, Rep. Keith Ellison and a slew of other Democratic congressmen.
The PCCC was co-founded by Adam Greene, who served as director of strategic campaigns and civic communications for the heavily Soros-funded MoveOn.org. Taylor, PCCC’s other co-founder, worked in senior positions at MoveOn.org as well as the AFL-CIO union.
Discover the Networks documented PCCC’s advocacy for a public healthcare option:
During the debate over healthcare reform in 2009, PCCC joined forces with Democracy for America to produce a series of television advertisements calling for the inclusion of a “public option” in any new legislation; i.e., a government-run health-insurance plan, like Medicare, that would compete alongside private insurers in a new Health Insurance Exchange. Asserting that private insurance companies typically “profit by denying coverage” to people in need, these ads sought to persuade left-leaning lawmakers not to sign any reform bill that did not include a public option. Among the senators targeted were Max Baucus (D-Montana), Russ Feingold (D-Wisconsin), Ben Nelson (D-Nebraska), Harry Reid (D-Nevada), Bernie Sanders (I-Massachusetts) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine).
PCCC also circulated a petition addressed to President Barack Obama, which said: “President Obama, please demand a strong public health insurance option in your speech to Congress. Letting the insurance companies win would not be change we can believe in.” To raise money for the promotion of a public option via various media outlets, PCCC set up a donations page on the ActBlue website. This page showed the amount that had been donated thus far, and how additional contributions could help advance the cause further: “$20,000 can make a splash in a DC publication, $40,000 could buy cable news in DC, $100,000 could buy a New York Times ad.”
Also in 2009, PCCC and Democracy for America collaborated to conduct a series of state-by-state surveys suggesting that Democratic candidates who failed to support a public option were likely to face a backlash from voters in the upcoming 2010 elections. In reality, however, the American people overwhelmingly opposed any sort of public option. Moreover, many candidates who supported healthcare reform ultimately paid a heavy political price, as the Democratic Party lost more than 60 House seats in the 2010 midterm elections. (Ascribing the Democrats’ heavy losses to “Blue Dog weakness and watered-down change,” PCCC, in the wake of the Republican triumph, asserted that “it’s time for progressives to teach Democrats how to fight!”)
MoveOn.org, meanwhile, is known for its controversial and far-left advocacy. It shot to fame in 2007 for attacking the personal integrity of General David Petraeus by asking in headlines: “General Petraeus or General Betray Us?” The campaign was widely condemned by both Democrats and Republicans. The group fervently opposes President Donald Trump’s agenda.
Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.
Joshua Klein contributed research to this article.