Opening Act: Rich People

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Sept. 18 2012 8:25 AM

Opening Act: Rich People

Blake Zeff tries to understand why candidates pander so badly to people with fat wallets. Not that complicated, actually.

[A] “high dollar” campaign fundraising event will be billed as a chance to hear the “real inside scoop” of what's going on in the campaign. So, candidates are often admonished by their fundraising staff not to give their usual stump speech, because these donors expect more. It’s the same reason big money folks are invited to take part in "strategy" calls with campaign staff, who run them through the latest polling (most of it publicly available) and offer optimistic assessments and broad strokes about the strategy moving forward.

Marin Cogan hangs out with Al Sharpton, who has built a relationship with Democrats similar to the one Sean Hannity has with Republicans.*

He considers himself an ally to the president. "He gives me access. Just like, I had access with Bush or Clinton." But there's a crucial difference in the relationship. On some level, Bush and Clinton needed to show deference to the black and civil rights leaders, and the relationships with them were always push and pull—the leaders of the black community pressuring the White House to take them more seriously. The expectations for sensitivity to the issues plaguing the black community were much higher with Obama, which is why academics like West and Smiley and members of the Congressional Black Caucus have been so disappointed with the president's response to chronic unemployment and foreclosures. "The reason that we also ended up working out a good, working relationship is that I didn't expect him to do what I did, and I think a lot of them wanted him to emulate them," Sharpton said. "I accepted him the way he was. He was much more moderate than me. As long as you tell me the truth, I'm with you."

Politico publishes, at last, a story about why Obama's winning, which won't quiet down this new chorus of "the media's tryin' to rig it for him!" chatter.

*Disclosure o'clock: I'm an MSNBC contributor.

David Weigel, a former Slate politics reporter, is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics


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