Rumor has it that George Soros was none-too-happy with the outcome of the 2016 presidential election. He and other Democratic leaders met at a high level summit aimed at regrouping and retooling in the face of what’s sure to be a contentious future. While Soros typically shuns the spotlight, he seems to be contributing both financially and strategically to the Democratic cause and holds the ears of the highest progressive operatives.
With the election of Barack Obama, Soros had taken a long hiatus from involving himself in presidential politics. With the rise of the Trump candidacy however, that all changed. The Soros machine spun into high gear, with PACs under his control donating more than $25 million to Hillary Clinton’s doomed campaign in the months leading up to the election.
Soros and Hillary Clinton have a relationship spanning decades. But there’s no doubt the financier was irked by how diametrically opposed the Trump camp was to all of Soros’ cherished causes. Among the core tenets of Soros’ philosophy of open societies is the free movement of people and capital, ideas explicitly rejected by Trump. Soros also views a Trump presidency as potentially imperiling his pet projects of criminal justice reform and religious tolerance, particularly with regard to Islam.
It was pointed out by various pundits that Soros’ donation to the Clinton campaign likely galvanized other donors, leading to one of the most well financed campaigns in history. In addition to that Soros has funded other PAC’s with more narrowly defined purposes. For example he sent $5 million to Immigrant Voters Win, a PAC dedicated to encouraging low-turnout Hispanic populations to get out and vote in swing states. Another $5 million was given to a group called Voting Rights Trust which is aimed at getting rid of obstacles minorities face in their effort to cast ballots. Millions more were funneled from Soros controlled accounts to an assortment of other pro-Hillary causes.
Soros hasn’t engaged in this level of spending since 2004 when the disastrous Iraq invasion motivated him to do everything in his power to help defeat Bush. Unfortunately for the US, his efforts fell short and Bush was granted four more years. Despite noble intentions, he was heavily ridiculed by conservatives. He thereafter swore off getting involved in presidential politics in such a big way. True to his word, he contributed little to presidential candidate Obama in either of his election runs despite endorsing him.
By comparison Soros’ world-wide philanthropy is famous. His Open Societies Foundation has spend over $13 billion (yes, that’s billion with a “b”) on causes ranging from increasing education access to defending human rights. His anti-Bush donations of $27 million during 2004 pale in comparison.
Interestingly, he may have been as motivated by his genuinely warm relationship with Hillary Clinton as by his antipathy towards Trump. Clinton reportedly maintained an open door policy with Soros whereby he could call or stop into her office any time and discuss policy issues that concerned him. This level of access is unusual for a cabinet member to grant a civilian, and it’s widely believed Soros was impressed by her commitment to his causes and ideas.
Whether George Soros will continue his history of big money donations in presidential politics remains to be seen. But there seems to be a consensus among those in the know that his participation in the 2016 race was driven as much by his warm personal affinity for Mrs. Clinton as it was by his disdain for all things Trump.