Following the very heated ninth Democratic debate between White House hopefuls Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, one major criticism of Clinton that continues to loom over her campaign is the fact that she is influenced by money and backed by greedy corporations.
With that said, it may not be much of a shocker that on the same day that Sanders visited the Vatican to discuss economic inequality and injustice, Clinton will be hosting a lavish fundraiser dinner in San Francisco with actor George Clooney and his wife Amal which costs guests more than $300,000 to sit with them.
Clinton is no stranger to hosting such grand events. Just last month she held a fundraiser at Radio City Music Hall which featured big-name musical artist Katy Perry and the legendary Elton John which raised big money for her Victory Fund.
Although the maximum donation to a presidential campaign is $2,700 for the primary elections (plus another $2,700 for the general), the Hillary Victory Fund can accept larger contributions because it is considered a “joint fundraising committee” which is comprised of multiple committees. This technicality is how Clinton can get away with these elaborate affairs.
While Clinton attempts to argue that she isn’t a pawn in the hands of big corporations, Sanders actually demonstrates that he is not by consistently rejecting Super PACS, large donations and speaking fees.
This crucial difference between the two candidates is illustrated further when you consider the content of Sanders’ Vatican speech in comparison to Clinton’s luxurious dinner plans.
While attending a conference organized by the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences with a theme surrounding how to create a moral economy, Sanders delivered a 15-minute speech in which he said:
“In the year 2016, the top one percent of the people on this planet own more wealth than the bottom 99 percent, while the wealthiest 60 people — 60 people — own more than the bottom half — 3 1/2 billion people. At a time when so few have so much, and so many have so little, we must reject the foundations of this contemporary economy as immoral and unsustainable.”
Sanders spoke in contempt of the way that monetary greed has reared its ugly head in society and in politics:
“Inexplicably, the United States political system doubled down on this reckless financial deregulation, when the U.S. Supreme Court in a series of deeply misguided decisions, unleashed an unprecedented flow of money into American politics. These decisions culminated in the infamous Citizen United case, which opened the financial spigots for huge campaign donations by billionaires and large corporations to turn the U.S. political system to their narrow and greedy advantage. It has established a system in which billionaires can buy elections.”
The irony here is undeniable. Clinton and her campaign have exhibited and benefited from the exact corrupt practices that Sanders denounced in his speech and she is unapologetically continuing on the same path with tonight’s fundraiser dinner.
Sanders received some criticism for leaving New York City just before the state’s critical primary elections to speak to an audience who cannot even vote for him, but his decision further displays that his passions and core beliefs are what drive his strategies and decision making versus his opponent who is driven by money and corruption.
While Clinton’s questionable moves have earned her a significant lead in the presidential race, Sanders is striving for much more with his campaign than a seat in the Oval Office. He is embarking on a journey to reform and reshape American politics as we know it.