Wall Street Democrats known for donating large amounts of money to the party are reportedly warning that if Elizabeth Warren wins the 2020 nomination, they won’t be sending a dime of their money to help elect her over Trump. Concerned about Warren’s ostentatious plans to reign in Wall Street, put banks under considerable regulations, and generally take a hostile approach to the investment sector, these donors have made it clear that they will sit this one out if she is the one running in the general election.
In recent weeks, CNBC spoke to several high-dollar Democratic donors and fundraisers in the business community and found that this opinion was becoming widely shared as Warren, an outspoken critic of big banks and corporations, gains momentum against Joe Biden in the 2020 race.
“You’re in a box because you’re a Democrat and you’re thinking, ‘I want to help the party, but she’s going to hurt me, so I’m going to help President Trump,'” said a senior private equity executive, who spoke on condition of anonymity in fear of retribution by party leaders. The executive said this Wednesday, a day after Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that the House would begin a formal impeachment inquiry into Trump.
The business community’s unease about Warren’s candidacy has surged in tandem with her campaign’s momentum. CNBC’s Jim Cramer said earlier this month that he’s heard from Wall Street executives that they believe Warren has “got to be stopped.” Warren later tweeted her response to Cramer’s report: “I’m Elizabeth Warren and I approve this message.”
That’s all well and good that Warren is using Wall Street’s skepticism of her as a campaign tool, but the fact is: Campaigns need money to be successful. And Democrats get plenty of it from the banking sector. Without that influx of cash, Warren will be forced to rely almost exclusively on small-ball donors…and while there’s a better chance of doing well in that area in 2020 than there was, say fifteen years ago, it leaves her vulnerable. Especially given the unprecedented fundraising powerhouse that is the combined RNC/Trump campaign machine.
There are also questions about how far Democrat leaders will go towards supporting Warren. If THEY are dependent on Wall Street funding, are they really going to go out on a limb to campaign for a woman who threatens to undo the private banking industry? It remains to be seen, but the tea leaves don’t look good.
Warren’s appeal to the base comes from her promise of a revolution. But even if that garners her the nomination (and it’s way too early to say that it will), it could be the very thing that prevents her from winning the big one next November. Certainly, she’ll be forced to do it on a budget, and that alone is a major handicap.