The New York Times reported that Elizabeth Warren recently earned the support of the Working Families Party (WFP), a progressive group with a growing electoral influence that backed Bernie Sanders in the 2016 election. The decision was not well-received by all, and some suggested there may have been unseen factors influencing the decision. Given that there are tens of thousands of party members in the WFP, but just 56 national committee leaders hold half the voting power, some asked for the WFP to release the full vote details; the party declined to do so.
Now, Jordan Chariton, journalist and CEO of Status Coup, a progressive media company, reveals that WFP might have made their Warren endorsement for financial reasons. According to Chariton, the think tank Demos gave the WFP $45,000 in 2017 to 2018. Warren's daughter, Amelia, is the chairwoman of Demos — although she is not currently listed on the think tank's website.
"A source of mine familiar with Working Families Party's inner dynamics told me at the time of the @ewarren endorsement that they were 'broke' and expect more money to come into it as a result of Warren endorsement," Chariton tweeted.
Although Chariton admits that the donation isn't a significant amount of money, he claims that a WFP source said that the money to WFP acts more as a "signal" that the group will continue to receive money if they endorse Warren. He also highlights that Warren's campaign treasurer, Paul Egerman, is still on the board of Demos.Interestingly, Chariton claims that WFP was pushing the media narrative that Sanders supporters were harassing Warren supporters following WFP's endorsement of the 70-year-old progressive — a move he called "right out of Hillary Clinton and David Brock's playbook." Even more concerning is that Warren's daughter signed a letter from WFP decrying "harassment" from Sanders supporters.
Warren has surged into second place in the Democratic primary, and her campaign continues to draw attention for its purported grassroots support. But as Shane Goldmacher highlighted in The New York Times, skeptics point to the money funding Warren's campaign, some of which she received from wealthy donors through fundraisers. Although she swore off these big-money circuits, she admits she will return to them if she secures the nomination.
"The open secret of Ms. Warren's campaign is that her big-money fund-raising through 2018 helped lay the foundation for her anti-big-money run for the presidency," he wrote.
While Warren supporters suggest she shouldn't be faulted for trying to "change the system" from within, others point to other more grassroots campaigns, such as Sanders', and claim that Warren — a former Republican — is not as progressive as she leads on.