Liberals and Democrats are doing a lot of soul-searching these days as they grapple with the reality of Hillary Clinton’s unexpected loss to Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election. Progressive activist and multi-billionaire George Soros is no exception. For example, George Soros changed his plans and participated in a meeting of important Democratic supporters sponsored by the Democracy Alliance just a few days after the election. The conference was organized some time ago, but it featured a hastily reworked agenda in view of the election results.
George Soros is one of the founders of the Democracy Alliance, which is a donor’s club of high-end liberal and progressive contributors . It was started in 2005 after John Kerry lost to George Bush. The aim of the organization is to provide funding for liberal groups and activist efforts, including political campaigns.
Soros, who is in his 80s, has not been active in the DA in the last few years. His direct involvement suggests he is planning to participate more in efforts to address issues raised by the election outcome. This makes sense in light of his lifelong commitment to the cause of human freedom worldwide. His passion grew out of his boyhood experiences under authoritarian regimes in Hungary. After surviving the Nazi occupation despite his Jewish heritage, George Soros escaped the Soviet-backed government that replaced it. After graduating from the London School of Economics, he moved to the United States. Soros became one of the most successful stock and currency traders in history. He has devoted much of his wealth to aiding refugees, promoting immigrant causes and a variety of liberal issues and politicians.
At the DA conference, Soros hosted a session that centered around his experience with authoritarianism. Attendees expressed the view that his background provides insight into how they can resist Trump’s agenda. This notion of resistance is one of two themes that emerged from the meeting. George Soros and others appear to be determined to oppose efforts to repeal Obamacare and other liberal reforms.
The second theme of the conference was an effort to identify why Democrats did so poorly in 2016, and to start making changes aimed at rebuilding. George Soros contributed an estimated $25 million to Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid. In analyzing what went wrong, many participants suggested that Democrats focused too much on identity politics by reaching out mostly to women and minority groups. Soros and others put forward the idea that much more attention needed to be given to the working class, and to increasing involvement in state and local politics.
Refocusing on localized political issues appears to be due in part to the example set by George Soros. During the 2016 election season, he donated $2 million to a PAC called Maricopa Strong. His contribution, along with money given by several other major Democratic supporters, financed a successful bid to unseat Sheriff Joe Arapio of Maricopa County, Arizona. Arapio, who is currently under a federal contempt citation issued by the Justice Department, is the controversial anti-immigration hardliner who has repeatedly made national headlines for allegedly discriminating against immigrants, and for violating their civil rights. His defeat, along with contributions to oppose right-leaning district attorneys by Soros in Phoenix, Houston and Denver, may be seen by Democrats as a road map for future political strategy.
Read more from George Soros over at The New York Review of Books