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Disney Heiress and Wealthy Democratic Donors Withhold Funding Until Joe Biden Exits Presidential Race

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Lauren Miller

July 8, 2024 - 13:45 pm

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Disney Heiress Abigail Disney Halts Donations to Democrats Until Joe Biden Exits Presidential Race

Abigail Disney, heiress to the Disney family fortune, has decided to withhold her financial support for the Democratic Party until Joe Biden steps down from the presidential race. This move comes after a recent debate performance that many viewed as lackluster. Disney, granddaughter of Roy O. Disney, co-founder of The Walt Disney Co., expressed her concerns in a statement to CNBC. She emphasized that her decision is rooted in realism, not disrespect, acknowledging Biden's service to the country but stressing the high stakes involved. Disney firmly believes that if Biden remains the candidate, the Democrats will lose the upcoming election, with dire consequences.

Wealthy Donors Follow Suit in Withholding Funds

Disney is not alone in her decision. Gideon Stein, president of the Moriah Fund, has also decided to pause $3.5 million in planned donations to nonprofits and political organizations connected to the presidential race. Stein praised Biden's effectiveness as president but insisted that a new candidate is necessary to defeat Donald Trump. Similarly, Karla Jurvetson, a major Democratic donor, has hinted at pausing her contributions until Biden steps down, aligning with the growing sentiment among influential donors.

Biden's Determination to Stay in the Race

Despite the pressure from significant donors, President Joe Biden has stated that he has no plans to withdraw from the presidential race. This stance has created a rift within the party, with some members calling for his resignation following his debate performance against former President Donald Trump. Representative Lloyd Doggett, D-Texas, is among those urging Biden to step down, arguing that the debate showcased Biden's inability to effectively challenge Trump and bridge the gap in the polls.

Polls Reflect Biden's Struggles

A New York Times/Sienna College poll conducted after the debate showed Biden trailing Trump by 6 percentage points among likely voters. This has exacerbated the anxiety within the Democratic Party, with many fearing a repeat of past election losses if Biden remains the nominee. The poll results have intensified calls for a new candidate who can energize the base and compete more effectively against Trump.

Abigail Disney's Longstanding Support for Democrats

Abigail Disney has been a consistent supporter of Democratic causes over the years. In April, she donated $50,000 to the Jane Fonda Climate political action committee, which has contributed $35,000 to Democratic congressional candidates. In 2014, Disney gave $150,000 to Planned Parenthood Votes, a PAC that has spent over $400,000 supporting Democrats this election cycle, including $26,000 for Biden. Her decision to withhold donations marks a significant shift in her political engagement.

Kamala Harris as a Viable Alternative

Disney has pointed to Vice President Kamala Harris as a strong alternative to Biden. She argues that Harris has the potential to defeat Trump, provided the Democratic Party can rally around her and address any perceived shortcomings with the same tolerance extended to Biden. Disney believes that embracing Harris as the candidate could lead to a decisive victory in the upcoming election.

Broader Donor Sentiment

The sentiment expressed by Disney and Stein reflects a broader frustration among major Democratic donors. Many believe that a new candidate is essential to invigorate the party and secure a win against Trump. The reluctance to fund the current campaign under Biden's leadership highlights the critical juncture at which the Democratic Party finds itself.

Implications for the Democratic Party

The withholding of funds by prominent donors like Disney, Stein, and potentially Jurvetson could significantly impact the Democratic Party's campaign strategy and resources. With financial contributions paused, the party may face challenges in mobilizing voters, funding advertisements, and supporting down-ballot candidates. The situation underscores the importance of addressing donor concerns and possibly re-evaluating the party's leadership and strategy.

Biden Campaign's Response

As of now, representatives for the Biden campaign have not responded to requests for comment. The silence from the campaign adds to the uncertainty surrounding Biden's future in the race and the overall direction of the Democratic Party. The party's ability to navigate this internal conflict will be crucial in the lead-up to the election.

The Stakes for the 2024 Election

The upcoming election is pivotal for the Democratic Party, with high stakes in both the presidential race and congressional seats. The party's success will depend on its ability to present a united front and rally support from both grassroots activists and wealthy donors. The current turmoil highlights the need for decisive leadership and strategic planning.

The Path Forward for Democrats

In the face of donor dissatisfaction and internal divisions, the Democratic Party must chart a clear path forward. Whether this involves rallying behind Biden or selecting a new candidate, the party's leadership will need to make strategic decisions to ensure a strong and cohesive campaign. Addressing the concerns of influential donors like Abigail Disney will be a key component of this process.

Conclusion

Abigail Disney's decision to withhold donations, along with the similar actions of other wealthy donors, underscores a critical moment for the Democratic Party. As the party grapples with internal conflicts and external pressures, its ability to navigate these challenges will determine its success in the upcoming election. The call for new leadership highlights the broader demand for change and revitalization within the party.