TIME Hillary Clinton

Ghost of Hillary Clinton Haunts Liberal Convention

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Charlie Neibergall—AP Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks during the Iowa Democratic Party's Hall of Fame Dinner on July 17, 2015, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

The raucous Democratic base is skeptical of Hillary Clinton

For an eclectic snapshot of the Democratic left, look no further than a squat civic building in downtown Phoenix on Friday night. A loud punk band was packing up, men in uniforms were clearing away vats of orange-and-mint flavored ice water, and stragglers were tucking away thin cucumber slices topped with cheese and bacon bits. The last of the elaborately tattooed young folks were mixed in with the suits, as the party, hosted by a food workers union, wound to a close.

“I’m a long, longtime admirer of Secretary Clinton,” Greg Stanton, the mayor of Phoenix was saying. He wore a jacket, sipped a can of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer and mingled. “I’m probably in the minority here, but mayors across the country are big Hillary fans.”

Surrounded by union organizers and progressive activists, Stanton was definitely the exception. Hillary Clinton may safely be the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination, but at the largest gathering of the liberal grassroots in the country, enthusiasm for her campaign was as mushy as day-old oatmeal. The Netroots Nation conference was much more excited about Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, a self-described socialist and populist firebrand.

“It’s a pragmatist versus idealist race,” said Krissi Jimroglou, communications director for Working America, explaining the enthusiasm for Sanders as the union-hosted party cleared out. “This is a very idealist crowd.”

MORE: What Hillary Clinton Learned From This 2013 Campaign

It didn’t help that Clinton was nowhere to be found. In fact, she was in Iowa and heading to Arkansas, even while her rivals for the Democratic nomination—Sanders and Martin O’Malley—were en route to Phoenix and preparing to court the progressives. The bloggers, unions, teachers, techies, activists, organizers, laborers, musicians and non-profit founders who come to Netroots are the vocal base of the Democratic Party. They’re key for Democrats seeking to winning national elections.

Clinton has sought to attract progressives like these her campaign, many of whom believe that she is too closely connected to Wall Street and corporate interests, and too similar to her centrist husband, President Bill Clinton. The folks at Netroots may well ultimately vote for her in a general election, but for now they’re not enthusiastic about the prospect.

Clinton has talked like a populist and laid out a liberal vision for the country, centering her economic policy around solving income inequality instead of some “arbitrary growth figure” like gross domestic product. She has already called for raising the minimum wage, requiring paid family leave, reducing the cost of college and reining in Wall Street, and she has a host of other progressive policies lined up for the coming months. And she is leading in the polls by large margins, with polls showing her favorability ratings on solid ground.

MORE: Hillary Clinton Will Set Out a Progressive Economic Vision

But the the Netroots attendees are thirsty for specifics. “She’s done a great job explaining the problem: that we have economy that works really well for the top 1% and not everyone else, and we need to fix it,” said Charles Chamberlain, executive director of Democracy for America, the grassroots organization founded by former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean. “Now she needs to detail the policy behind it that puts meat on the bone.”

And even then, they may not be sated. A lot of attendees spoke of a general feeling—a sort of populist touch—which they say they’re not sure Clinton has. Sanders, they say, has it. There was also a widely shared resentment at Netroots that Clinton hadn’t come to kiss the ring. “There’s something people have been looking for that they haven’t been seeing,” said a woman at the Phoenix Convention Center on Friday named Hillary Keyes. She was wearing a button that said “I’m a Hillary for Bernie.” Clinton not coming, Keyes said means for “the people here she loses credibility.”

“We’re disappointed the Democratic frontrunner could miss such a great opportunity,” said Arshad Hasan, chair of the board of directors of Netroots Nation. “The silence from her side makes Bernie shine all the brighter.”

With Clinton gone, the Sanders crowd had full rein. The morning he addressed the crowd, a group dressed as robber barons replete with top hats and bow-ties chanted ironically, “Capitalists for Bernie!” while holding signs saying “Long live the oligarchs!” Others carried huge cutouts of Sanders’ head with a Robin Hood hat.

Clinton’s campaign said their candidate could not attend because of scheduling conflicts—though the organizers set the date for the conference a year in advance. Netroots would have been an unwieldy and raucous stage for Clinton, who tends to favor controlled spaces. And this year was less controlled than usual, as Black Lives Matters protesters derailed the presidential town hall meetings featuring O’Malley and Sanders.

MORE: Sanders and O’Malley Stumble During Black Lives Matter Protest

Despite her absence, Clinton’s ghost defined much of the proceedings here. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, the Massachusetts progressive who is beloved among the Netroots crowd, said in a speech on Friday that all the presidential candidates should move to stop the revolving door between Wall Street and the Cabinet, an applause line that was largely seen as aimed at Clinton. Many of the activists spoke about “moving Hillary to the left,” a common refrain among Democrats.

And activists said at Netroots they could build a huge progressive network to support Clinton in her left-leaning positions. “It is up to everyone in this hall to actually draft a progressive agenda,” said AFL-CIO executive vice president Tefere Gebre in an interview. “And give Hillary Clinton a backbone, or give Bernie Sanders a backbone, or give anyone else a background to govern on that agenda.”

For Clinton, who is establishing her progressive credentials but has not yet managed to capture the imagination of the Netroots demographic, the key will be driving them out in heavy numbers to vote for in a general election. Sanders may know how to rile up the base. But if Netroots is a barometric reading of devotion, then Clinton may have some work to do.

“It’s a degree-of-enthusiasm question,” said Stephanie Taylor, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee. “Democratic activists here will probably go out and vote for her. But will they go out to canvass for her, mobilize for her and make calls for her? It really depends on her.”

Meanwhile, on Saturday night, Sanders gave a speech in Phoenix’s convention center, the final big event of the weekend. It was the largest rally of Sanders’ campaign, and 11,300 people streamed through the sand-colored streets of Phoenix and down two long escalators into a cavernous auditorium with the feel of an ocean trench.

Sanders took the stage and delivered his blistering attack on billionaires and the multinational corporations. But first, some context. “When we were coming to Arizona, somebody said Arizona is a conservative state,” thundered Sanders. “What were they talking about?!”

Read Next: Hillary Clinton Faces Unrest Among Organized Labor

TIME Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton’s Digital Team Likes Barack Obama’s Style

Democratic U.S. presidential hopeful and former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks to members of the media July 14, 2015 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.
Alex Wong— 2015 Getty Images Democratic U.S. presidential hopeful and former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks to members of the media July 14, 2015 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.

Hillary Clinton campaign’s deputy digital director said Friday that the White House’s online outreach is a model for how public figures can connect with voters, offering a hint into how the Democratic frontrunner will Instagram, Tweet, and email during the 2016 race.

Speaking during a panel at Netroots Nation, a convention of liberal activists in Phoenix, Jenna Lowenstein pointed to the increasing importance of using the web to create a feeling of intimacy with voters.

“You can have a candidate who everyone loves and wants to sit down and have a drink with them, 99% of people aren’t going to be able to do that. Digital is an opportunity,” Lowenstein said “to be a proxy of that.”

Lowenstein said the White House has been notably effective at different kinds of digital outreach, pointing to Obama’s hour-long interview with Marc Maron, and the president unveiling his proposal for free community college in a nine-second Vine.

“When the president rolled out free community college, they did it in this Vine and it was the perfect delivery mechanism,” said Lowenstein. “It was kind of this badass moment where the president was sitting on Air Force One and in 9 seconds explained the policy.”

Read more: Hillary Clinton Launches a More Personal Campaign

The Clinton campaign has projected its candidates’ persona online as personable, funny, and approachable. Clinton’s first Instagram was a photo of pantsuits with a tongue-in-cheek hashtag of the title of her book, “Hard Choices,” and the campaign has frequently posted childhood pictures of Clinton.

TIME 2016 Election

Elizabeth Warren Sends Hillary Clinton a Message

Senator Elizabeth Warren listens to Janet Yellen's testimony during a Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee during a hearing on The Semiannual Monetary Policy Report to the Congress.
Anadolu Agency—Getty Images Senator Elizabeth Warren listens to Janet Yellen's testimony during a Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee during a hearing on The Semiannual Monetary Policy Report to the Congress.

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren drew a red line on Friday for 2016 presidential candidates, calling for them to commit to end the so-called “revolving door” between Wall Street and the Cabinet.

The firebrand populist said specifically that all the presidential candidates should support Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin’s bill introduced this week that would prohibit bonuses for Wall Street executives who take government jobs.

“Anyone who wants to be President should appoint only people who have already demonstrated they are independent, who have already demonstrated that they can hold giant banks accountable,” said Warren, speaking in Phoenix at Netroots Nation, a convention of liberal activists.

While the call to action was aimed at everyone running in 2016, its clearest target was Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton, who is courting the very types of progressive activists in the audience in both the primary and general election.

MORE: How Elizabeth Warren’s Populist Fury is Remaking Democratic Politics

While Warren declined to run for president, her supporters give her credit for pushing Clinton to the left and setting the liberal standard on a host of issues.

Clinton has already gone at least part of the way to satisfying Warren’s demands. During a speech Monday on her vision for the American economy, Clinton called for greater regulation of financial institutions.

“I will appoint and empower regulators who understand that Too Big To Fail is still too big a problem,” Clinton said on Monday. She outlined plans to rein in Wall Street and “go beyond Dodd-Frank.”

Baldwin’s bill is aimed at addressing what progressives see as a profound governmental problem: that government finance appointees often have close ties to Wall Street. In her speech, Warren pointed out that three of the last four Treasury Secretaries, the vice chair of the Federal Reserve and other key government officials have had close ties with Citigroup, a major Wall Street bank.

“Elizabeth Warren offered a framework for how Democratic presidential candidates can reduce Wall Street influence in key appointments,” said Stephanie Taylor, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee after Warren’s speech.

Unhappy with President Obama’s less aggressive approach to Wall Street, the Democratic left has searched for a liberal champion who can address issues like income inequality and campaign finance reforms and found some of its voice in Warren, a former Harvard law professor and consumer protection advocate.

While Clinton has rhetorically embraced much of Warren’s logic, she has not gone as far as her fellow Democratic presidential candidates, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley.

O’Malley called earlier this month for appointing regulatory officials who had for at least three years not worked in the financial sector and would be willing to prosecute criminal financial cases, laying out a detailed plan to regulate Wall Street with much of the same language Warren has used.

In her speech Friday, Warren spoke about a surging progressive movement across the country, calling Washington, D.C., out of touch with the rest of America.

She ticked off a litany of issues that she said Americans are further to the left on than elected officials, including raising the minimum wage, reducing the cost of college, requiring paid sick leave, increasing social security benefits, and enacting campaign finance reform.

“I’m here to make an announcement to insider Washington: America is far more progressive than you are,” Warren said.

It’s a message Warren is counting on resonating in the 2016 election. Warren added that the economic crisis in 2008 would have been different if there had been left-leaning economists in high governmental positions instead of Wall Street alums.

“How would the world be different today if, when the economic crisis hit [in 2008], Joe Stiglitz had been Secretary of the Treasury?” Warren said.

Stiglitz is now advising Hillary Clinton.

MONEY Economy

Would Hillary Clinton’s Profit-Sharing Plan Put More Money in Your Pocket?

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks during a campaign town hall meeting in Dover, New Hampshire July 16, 2015.
Brian Snyder—Reuters Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks during a campaign town hall meeting in Dover, New Hampshire July 16, 2015.

It might. But it wouldn't address the bigger forces holding down wages.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton on Thursday outlined a plan to encourage companies to share more of their earnings with workers. It’s a tax credit companies could get for two years if they set up a profit-sharing plan tilted toward the lower- and middle-income employees on the payroll. (The tax credit would phase out for higher-paid workers.) In an example used by the campaign, if an employee was paid $5,000 in a profit-sharing bonus, the company would get a tax break of up to $750.

At least at first, the plan has generally been interpreted as part of Clinton’s tilt toward the progressive side of the economic debate. “Veering left…” is how the insider political paper The Hill put it.

Clinton herself has fit profit sharing into her broader message about fixing economic inequality. Here’s a graphic from the campaign website that illustrates the story Clinton is telling about what’s driving inequality. Companies are doing great and getting more productive, but they haven’t haven’t been sharing those gains with workers:

SOURCE: hillaryclinton.com, based on data from the Economic Policy Institute

But even though profit sharing has the word “sharing” in it, it’s actually a pretty business-friendly approach. (The idea that the credit phases out for higher earners is the main way you can tell the proposal comes from a Democrat.) Lots of companies like the idea of paying their people more only when the business is doing well; the flip side is they can pay less in fallow years. In the jargon of human resources, other names for profit sharing are the much less warm and fuzzy sounding “pay-at-risk” and “variable pay.” Walmart, a company that’s famously tough about holding down its labor costs, used to be well-known for profit sharing.

At qz.com, writer Alison Shrager worries that more profit-sharing would just shift more pay out of steady wages and into up-and-down bonuses, adding another source of instability to the finacial lives of low-and middle-income workers. The Clinton campaign told Vox.com that companies would only be able to get the credit for profit sharing above regular wages—presumably meaning they couldn’t cut salaries and then get a credit for adding a profit-sharing plan. But over time, as companies gave out regular raises and made new hires, or as new firms started up, the mix of pay might still shift toward variable bonuses. Profit sharing eligible for the credit would be capped at 10% of salary.

If Clinton’s proposal became law, it would really be just one more of several tax policies that shape how companies structure their pay. If you get health insurance at work or a 401(k) match, that’s because the tax code makes it appealing for companies to pay you that way. You pay less tax on $1 of health insurance or $1 of a 401(k) match than you do on $1 of straight cash pay, so companies like to offer those benefits; similarly, it would be slightly cheaper for a company to give you $1 of profit sharing than to give you $1 of a raise. As an economist will tell you, the health insurance you get at work isn’t a free gift on top of your pay. It’s part of your overall compensation. If companies didn’t offer health coverage, they’d have to pay us more. (Of course, then we’d still have use that money to buy insurance.)

So perhaps Clinton’s plan would largely move money from one line in your pay stub to another. But it might be better than a zero-sum game. For one thing, it’s effectively a tax cut on pay, which the Clinton campaign says is worth $10 billion to $20 billion over ten years—not huge as these things go. Companies would get the credit directly, but to the extent that it encouraged companies to make more money available for profit-based bonuses, the tax break could flow through to workers. (Though the campaign says one purpose of the temporary credit is simply to offset the administrative costs of starting up a profit-sharing program.)

And there’s at least some evidence that companies with profit sharing actually do pay more overall. An influential think-tank policy paper on “inclusive prosperity,” which the Clinton campaign is reported to be be drawing from, points to a study of the effects of profit sharing by the economists Joseph Blasi, Richard Freeman, and Douglas Kruse. Based on surveys of workers, it found that pay was generally as high or higher among companies that gave workers some kind of stake in company performance. That includes not just profit-sharing bonuses but employee stock options and other programs.

Why? Partly it may be because you have to give people a shot at higher total pay to compensate for the risk that they might not do as well in some years. Or, the economists write, it could be that people are getting paid more because profit sharing spurs them to be more productive. That looks like a win-win, but its not exactly money for nothing. Maybe profit sharing works because it improve morale, reduces employee turnover and gives people an incentive to worker smarter and more creatively. Or perhaps anxiety over losing a bonus scares people into working harder and faster.

But the wage stagnation of the past several decades isn’t mainly a productivity problem—just look at the Clinton campaign’s own graphic above. People with jobs these days are already working smart and working hard.

Profit-sharing tax credits might nudge some companies to share more of the gains from that productivity with people outside the C-suites. But the story of the last several years is that it’s taken employment a long time to climb back from the hit it took in 2008. One thing that really helps people get more pay—whether it’s in cash, bonuses, stock option, pensions, or insurance—is full employment and a hot labor market, where companies have to do everything they can to get the workers they need. That’s something Washington has had a hard time delivering.

TIME 2016 Election

Donald Trump is Dominating Facebook Chatter in Iowa

US-POLITICS-TRUMP
FREDERIC J. BROWN—AFP/Getty Images Donald Trump gestures while speaking surrounded by people whose families were victims of illegal immigrants on July 10, 2015 while meeting with the press at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, California. (FREDERIC J. BROWN--AFP/Getty Images)

But we can't tell whether those mentions are positive or negative

Donald Trump is monopolizing the conversation in Iowa, at least on social media.

According to data from Facebook, Trump’s name has appeared in over 200,000 Facebook interactions between 66,000 people in the early-voting state in the last week. That’s more than double the interactions of the next-most-talked about candidate, Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton, who was the subject of 86,000 interactions between 31,000 people.

Trump also dominated the Facebook conversation compared to his Republican rivals. The next-most-talked-about GOP hopeful is Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, with 37,000 interactions among 14,000 people. Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush’s name came up 23,000 among 12,000 people. Facebook measured the data between July 10 and July 16, just among Iowa voters.

Facebook has no way to know whether the mentions of Trump are positive or negative, and social media buzz does not necessarily translate into votes. And since computer algorithms are notoriously bad at distinguishing between sarcasm and sincerity, it’s hard to know whether the flood of Facebook mentions means Trump is being widely praised or widely mocked. As the 2016 presidential campaign swings into gear, campaigns and data analysis firms are looking for ways to reliably interpret this flood of data and use it to target potential voters, Reuters reports.

 

TIME Donald Trump

When Donald Trump Praised Hillary Clinton

Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump addresses supporters during a political rally at the Phoenix Convention Center on July 11, 2015 in Phoenix, Arizona.
Charlie Leight—Getty Images Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump addresses supporters during a political rally at the Phoenix Convention Center on July 11, 2015 in Phoenix, Arizona.

Republican presidential candidate and reality television star Donald Trump has been deeply critical of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as he has embarked on his campaign, but it wasn’t always so.

The real estate magnate has a long history of delivering admiring comments about the woman he now calls the “worst Secretary of State in the history of the United States,” and a “desperate” and “sad” candidate.

When Clinton last ran for office, Trump was torn between supporting her and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. ” They’re both terrific people, and I hope they both get the nomination,” he told CNN in 2007, adding that he thought Clinton would surround herself with good people to negotiate a deal with Iran. A year later, Trump wondered publicly why Clinton wasn’t chosen as President Obama’s running-mate.

In 2012, as Obama was running for re-election, Trump called Clinton “terrific” again in an interview with Fox News, saying she performed well as Secretary of State.

“Hillary Clinton I think is a terrific woman,” he told Greta Van Susteren. “I am biased because I have known her for years. I live in New York. She lives in New York. I really like her and her husband both a lot. I think she really works hard. And I think, again, she’s given an agenda, it is not all of her, but I think she really works hard and I think she does a good job. I like her.

And on Fox and Friends on Wednesday, Trump explained why he donated to Clinton’s campaigns.

“I’m a businessman. I contribute to everybody,” Trump said. “When I needed Hillary, she was there. If I say ‘go to my wedding,’ they go to my wedding.”

TIME 2016 Election

Hillary Clinton Faces Unrest Among Organized Labor

DOVER, NH - JULY 16: Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks during a town hall event at Dover City Hall July 16, 2015 in Dover, New Hampshire. Clinton spoke about how to build an economy that will boost the middle class. (Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Hillary Clinton
Darren McCollester—2015 Getty Images Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks during a town hall event at Dover City Hall July 16, 2015 in Dover, New Hampshire.

Labor activists are deeply divided over Hillary Clinton's candidacy

Hillary Clinton had good reason to celebrate Saturday. The American Federation of Teachers, a 1.6-million strong union of teachers, nurses and higher education faculty endorsed her, adding a key working-class voice to a campaign that has so far lacked much overt support from organized labor.

“I’m honored to have the support of AFT’s members and leaders, and proud to stand with them to unleash the potential of every American,” Clinton said in response. “Their voices and the voices of all workers are essential to this country.”

But almost immediately, there was a backlash among teachers in far-flung locals across the states. The AFT’s Facebook page lit up with angry comments from those who favored Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders instead. Teachers took to Twitter to condemn the endorsement and at least two petitions were circulated online in opposition. Widely read teachers’ blogs published screeds against the decision, calling it rigged in favor of Clinton, a longtime friend of AFT president Randi Weingarten. Though a June poll among AFT members showed a majority supporting Clinton over Sanders, the fervor of those unhappy with the endorsement ran high.

While the AFT blowback may ultimately prove a minor roadbump for Clinton, it reflects a wider unrest among the ranks of organized labor, and one that may be hard for the campaign to shake.

Unhappy with the status quo and uncertain about the future of labor as union membership shrinks, union members across the country are restive over the possibility of their affiliates endorsing Clinton. Many workers see a more natural alliance with Sanders than with Clinton, according to interviews with dozens of union members, from rank-and-file dues-payers to national union presidents.

Sanders took a year off from the University of Chicago in his early 20s and worked for a local union. He strongly opposes the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade agreement loathed by labor unions across the country, and supports a $15-minimum wage, free tuition at public universities and curbs on corporate power.

Clinton embraced the Trans-Pacific Partnership as Secretary of State, though she has distanced herself from it as a candidate, saying she would only support it if it met high standards for workers and the environment. On Thursday, Clinton declined to support raising the national minimum wage to $15 an hour, though she is in favor of raising it generally, and has broadly discussed reducing the cost of college education.

For Clinton, the trouble seems to lie in a rift between organized labor’s heart and its head. Activists in a wide array of unions including the American Federation of Teachers, Communication Workers of America, the American Postal Workers Union and the AFL-CIO locals say they are eager to support Sanders. But some of the national leaders are reticent to endorse a candidate like Sanders, who is still considered a long shot in the Democratic primary, and risk losing influence with Clinton down the road or even damaging her candidacy in the general election.

Union leaders “don’t realize how upset rank-and-file membership is and how positively they’re responding to Bernie Sanders’ message,” said David Newby, a former president of the AFL-CIO in Wisconsin. “Clinton’s going to have to be more specific and more hard-hitting than she’s been in the past if she’s going to slow down the rank-and-file momentum towards Bernie.”

“Many of our members have a deep dissatisfaction with both political parties, and the corporate agenda they feel that both the political parties represent,” said Mark Dimondstein, president of the American Postal Workers Union. “In our ranks there’s a lot of interest and excitement for Sanders, and it’s bubbling up.”

Support for Sanders isn’t universal, though, and Clinton has some enthusiastic supporters among both rank and file and leadership. Part of the support is based in the belief that she can defeat a Republican in a general election. Zeph Capo, president of the Houston Federation of Teachers said he admired Clinton’s decision to join the Children’s Defense Fund after graduating college and added he believed Clinton had a much better chance of winning the general election. “I’ll stand by her from now until November and then forward,” he said. International Association of Fire Fighters President Harold Schaitberger said Clinton’s work for public safety officer benefits after 9/11, and her cosponsoring of a collective bargaining bill as New York Senator endeared her to many in his union.

“Hillary Clinton can take the Republicans on in 2016 and win which is critical to protecting working families wages, benefits and rights to collective bargaining and organizing,” said Jesse Ferguson, a spokesman for the Clinton campaign. “She has been a tireless and tenacious fighter for working families all her life and now she’s working hard to earn their support for President.”

But some of the loudest labor voices are coming from Clinton’s left.

Two AFL-CIO locals in Vermont and South Carolina have passed resolutions supporting Sanders, a petition called “Labor for Bernie” has circulated online and garnered signatures from over 4,000 people. Larry Cohen, the president of the Communication Works of America until last month, has joined as a full-time volunteer for Sanders’ campaign. Citing AFL-CIO rules about early endorsements, several union presidents declined to speak on the record but voiced enthusiasm for Sanders, saying that picking safe, winning candidates over hard-core labor backers has hurt the movement.

Sanders and Clinton have both been making their case to labor. On Monday, Sanders held a private meeting with union leaders at the American Postal Workers Union headquarters in Washington D.C. The next night, many of the same leaders met with Clinton in campaign chairman John Podesta’s home, where Clinton spoke for about 20 minutes and rehashed much of her speech on Monday about her vision for the American economy. According to several people who attended both meetings, Sanders was more specific than Clinton was in addressing labor issues.

MORE: What to Know About Hillary Clinton’s Economic Proposals

“Bernie has complete command of the facts and the need for change,” said Larry Hanley, president of the Amalgamated Transit Union who attended both meetings. “We’re waiting to hear that from Hillary.”

The decision by AFT’s leadership and Weingarten to endorse Clinton early in the primary contest was met with particular vitriol, not just by Sanders supporters but also by union members who felt it was a poor strategic move to endorse so early in the contest.

Around a dozen AFT members, including local board members and local presidents, said in interviews with TIME that they were deeply upset by the early endorsement of Clinton. They said they were broadsided by the endorsement, and many state and local presidents were not aware the AFT was preparing to endorse Clinton until it was announced on Saturday.

“Right now, Sanders is better on our issues than Hillary is,” said Morton Rosenfeld, president of an AFT local in Long Island, New York. “Our goal should be to drive Hillary closer to our position than she already is. That’s the way the politics works.”

In an interview, Weingarten defended the early endorsement of Clinton, saying that a majority of the AFT said they supported endorsing the Democratic frontrunner early in the primary process.

“She shares our values, the sentiment of our members are with her, and she’s clearly best positioned as a Democrat to be elected,” said Weingarten. “We’ve got to win this race.’

Weingarten pointed to a poll of 1,150 randomly selected members from teachers in all the union divisions that showed 67% of members supporting Clinton over Sanders. Weingarten said the support for an early endorsement was “overwhelming.” The executive council of the AFT, which is elected by the locals, voted nearly unanimously in favor of a Clinton endorsement. Weingarten added that by endorsing early, the AFT could control the narrative of the race with a closer link to the campaign.

Among some of the dyspeptic teacher members, however, suspicion lingered over the endorsement, a reflection of some of the alienation among rank-and-file members. They noted that the poll being conducted by Hart Research, a firm led by Clinton allies, and Weingarten’s board membership on Priorities USA, a super-PAC that supports Clinton’s reelection campaign.

The members of the AFT are more naturally aligned with Clinton than those in many other AFL-CIO affiliates. Clinton has long championed early childhood education and supports universal pre-kindergarten, issues particularly important to AFT members. And Clinton’s support as secretary of state for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which most manufacturing-based labor groups oppose, is less of a concern to a teachers union.

In addition to the AFT, some other union leadership say Clinton’s message resonates. Much of Sanders’ message on the environment and defense spending does not sit well with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, for instance, said president Tom Buffenbarger, which represents workers in the defense and forestry products industry.

“We want someone who is seasoned and experienced and has a track record to run on. In all respects that would be Hillary,” said Buffenbarger. He added that he hears from his members so far that they support Clinton.

Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, has struggled to hold many of the unions in line and stop them from endorsing candidates early. After the South Carolina and Vermont AFL-CIOs passed resolutions supporting Sanders, he circulated a memo reminding the state divisions of the union’s bylaws not to unilaterally “endorse a presidential candidate” or pass resolutions supporting any of them.

Sources say Trumka also privately asked leaders of the affiliate unions—including the AFT—not to endorse a candidate before the end of July, when presidential candidates Clinton, Sanders, former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a Republican, meet with union leadership to discuss their platforms. (Update: On July 21, the AFL-CIO tweeted that the AFT endorsement is “playing by the rules.”)

Members of the AFT complained that by endorsing early, they gave up a key tool in pushing Clinton further toward progressive issues. It represents a central concern among labor activists, who want to hold out an endorsement until candidates like Clinton embrace their positions. Without taking a tough line with candidates, the labor movement will continue to decline, several union presidents told TIME.

One unionized teacher in New York who supports Sanders said he had hoped the AFT would hold out an endorsement.

“The AFT is always looking for a seat at the table. But when they get seat at the table, for us teachers, we feel like we’re the dinner,” said Arthur Goldstein, a chapter leader of an AFT affiliate at high school in New York. “We want to build out own table and make the politicians come to us.”

More than anything, the unease reflects anger with President Obama’s push for the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the overwhelming sense among many that unions are losing their political influence.

Labor is searching for a candidate that can buck the trend.

“We are not going to salute the status quo,” said Hanley, president of the transit union. “That is not happening.”

TIME Hillary Clinton

Here’s How Hillary Clinton Thinks Corporate Profit-Sharing Should Work

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton addresses the media in between meetings on Capitol Hill with House and Senate Democrats in Washington, Tuesday, July 14, 2015.
Congressional Quarterly—CQ-Roll Call,Inc. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton addresses the media in between meetings on Capitol Hill with House and Senate Democrats in Washington, Tuesday, July 14, 2015.

Hillary Clinton announced on Thursday the details of a corporate profit-sharing proposal, part of the slow drip of policy plans the Democratic frontrunner will unveil as part of her plan to boost middle-class incomes.

Under Clinton’s plan, companies that share their profits with employees would receive a two-year tax credit from the federal government with the goal of boosting employee wages and incentivizing workers.

In a speech at the progressive New School in New York previewing the plan, she called it a “win-win” for workers.

“Studies show profitsharing that gives everyone a stake in a company’s success can boost productivity and put money directly into employees’ pockets,” Clinton said. “That’s good for workers and good for business.”

Companies would get a tax credit of 15% of profit-sharing distributions or greater, and profit-sharing would be capped at 10% of an employee’s wages, the campaign explained in a fact-sheet Thursday. The campaign said the cost to the government would be between $10-$20 billion over 10 years, a budget hole that would be “fully paid for through the closure of tax loopholes.” She did not outline which loopholes she would close Thursday.

Under the plan, the campaign said, an employee earning $50,000 per year could receive $5,000 in shared profits. The company would then receive a $750 tax credit for that worker. The profit-sharing proposal would be targeted at middle- and low-income workers and phase out for higher earners.

Called Rising Incomes, Sharing Profits, the tax credit is also designed to help grow the economy and worker pay, which Clinton has defined as the key goal of her presidency. The plan would also make employees more invested in the company’s success, her campaign said.

“We must raise incomes for hard-working Americans so they can afford a middle-class life,” said Clinton on Monday. “We must drive strong and steady income growth that lifts up families and lifts up our country.”

Over the past month, Clinton has unveiled a series of finely detailed policy proposals, the product of what the campaign says are three- to four-hour meetings with policy advisors and staff. She has also called for a youth apprenticeship program to reduce unemployment and a plan she says would stop for-profit colleges from targeting veterans.

So far, some of Clinton’s plans have not had the grand sweep that some of her competitors for the Democratic nomination have. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has called for free tuition at public universities and single-payer healthcare system, while former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley has called for 100% clean energy in the United States by 2050.

Aides believe her proposals have a good chance of being implemented in a divided Congress and will lead to boosting middle class wages and reducing income inequality.

TIME Campaign Finance

Major Donors Hedge Their Bets in 2016 Race

Democratic U.S. presidential hopeful and former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks to members of the media July 14, 2015 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.
Alex Wong— 2015 Getty Images Democratic U.S. presidential hopeful and former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks to members of the media July 14, 2015 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.

One donor gave to Hillary Clinton as well as Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz and Lindsey Graham

It’s speed dating season for presidential campaign contributors.

More than 1,000 donors — including some of the nation’s most prominent political benefactors — are hedging their bets by spreading contributions among multiple White House hopefuls, according to a Center for Public Integrity analysis of new campaign finance disclosures and interviews with top fundraisers.

Most double-donors have divided their loyalties among the 2016 presidential race’s legion of Republicans — a field 15 candidates strong and still growing.

Meanwhile, a few liberal contributors are backing both Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton and one of her four primary challengers. A handful are even donating to Democrats and Republicans, the Center for Public Integrity’s analysis of contributions for the three months ending June 30 indicates.

Equally notable as most presidential candidates on Wednesday filed their first campaign cash disclosures: About half of the nation’s top 100 political donors during the past six years — as identified by the Center for Responsive Politics — haven’t yet donated to any of them, suggesting they haven’t settled on a favorite as yet.

Super contributors still keeping their checkbooks closed when presidential candidates come calling include the likes of conservative billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, as well as hedge fund manager Ken Griffin, TD Ameritrade founder J. Joe Ricketts and coal executive Joe Craft.

These megadonors are not only capable of helping presidential candidates’ own committees with modest contributions, but can also pour millions of dollars into super PACs and outside groups supporting their chosen candidates.

Such giving — legal thanks largely to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision five years ago in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission — can almost single-handedly shift the contours of a presidential race.

So far, the amounts volunteered by outside groups, like super PACs and nonprofits — at least on the Republican side — have dwarfed amounts raised by candidate committees.

Donations to outside groups are unlimited while a contribution to a candidate is capped at $2,700 per election, creating an even greater incentive for campaigns to lock in wealthy activists’ support.

“People are still on the sidelines,” confirmed Gaylord Hughey, a longtime Republican donor and fundraiser in east Texas who is currently raising money for former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

The nation’s top 100 political donors reflect that: Twenty-four of them have invested early money in any GOP presidential candidates, according to the Center for Public Integrity’s analysis.

Of them, 10 have financially supported more than one.

Robert McNair, the owner of the Houston Texans, has even donated to three: Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Marco Rubio of Florida.

Meanwhile, about two dozen of the 100 have already donated to Democrat Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

They include Chicago media mogul Fred Eychaner, DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg, philanthropist Alida Rockefeller Messinger, Texas trial lawyer Amber Mostyn and entertainment mogul Haim Saban.

One — David desJardins, a software engineer who was an early Google employee — has donated to Democrat Martin O’Malley, the former Maryland governor running against Clinton.

So many choices

Donors spreading wealth to multiple candidates offer varying reasons for their approach to Election 2016.

Take New York City venture capitalist Ken Abramowitz, a staunch Mitt Romney supporter in 2012 who’s already contributed to six Republican candidates this election cycle — Bush, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, Rubio, Cruz, Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

“I’m right now in the learning phase and I’m trying to learn about the candidates, learn about their thinking, their capabilities of being president,” he said.

Abramowitz said his contributions were all made so he could attend events with the candidates, as he tries to gauge where they fall on issues he cares about: growing the economy, and protecting both the country and “the culture of America.” He mentally grades them on those issues.

“Eventually, I can’t speak for everyone else, but I’ll just guess, we’ll all find one or two candidates that we, so to speak, fall in love with,” Abramowitz said. “A very small minority of people will fall in love at this early stage.”

Diet company founder Jenny Craig of California has fattened the campaign accounts of Bush, Rubio and Cruz.

Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson and his wife, Miriam Adelson, donated to Graham as well as a fundraising committee benefiting Rubio’s U.S. Senate campaign, which Rubio converted into a presidential campaign.

Dallas investment banker-turned-alcohol distributor Sheldon Stein showered Bush, Cruz, Perry and former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania with thousands of dollars.

And former World Wrestling Entertainment executive and also-ran U.S. Senate candidate Linda McMahon of Connecticut split donations between Bush and Fiorina. “She has not formally endorsed any one candidate at this time,” said Kate Duffy, a McMahon spokeswoman.

Mica Mosbacher, a Texas fundraiser for Cruz, said in an e-mail that she knows contributors who have donated to multiple candidates and also has talked to some “fence sitters,” though she said Cruz often wins over donors when he talks to them in person.

“Others have said to me that they committed to someone else but Ted is their number two choice so his message is resonating,” she wrote. “And it’s still early.”

More than 50 donors crossed party lines when contributing to multiple presidential candidates.

One, billionaire grocery mogul and would-be New York Daily News owner John Catsimatidis — a self-described moderate — donated to Clinton on the left and Bush, Cruz and Graham on the right.

Nily Falic, a pro-Israel businesswoman from Florida whose family made its millions running duty-free stores, also straddled party lines, donating to Clinton, Rubio and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. The Falics also helped bankroll the recent re-election of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Kevin O’Connor, who oversees governmental and political affairs for the International Association of Fire Fighters, said the union has so far contributed to Bush, Clinton, O’Malley and former Virginia U.S. Sen. Jim Webb, a Democrat. The union also plans to send a check to another Democrat in Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, he said.

“We’re just kind of, if you will, helping our friends out,” he said, citing the union’s positive relationships with all those candidates during their previous stints in office. “There are a number of people in the race that have earned our respect and, to some extent, our support financially, and that’s reflected in what we’re doing in these donations.”

The union will go through its endorsement process and make a decision on its formal endorsement sometime between August and October, he said.

Strictly on the Democratic side, Hollywood honcho David Geffen wrote checks to Clinton and Sanders.

Generating big money early

There are 480 days until Election Day 2016 rolls around, but it doesn’t feel that way on the presidential fundraising circuit.

Before campaign fundraising books closed on June 30, the candidates sent out dozens of desperate fundraising emails with subject lines like “Friend, this is it” and “Last Chance!”

Their goal: to post the highest possible fundraising number for the quarter, the first time most of them were required to file a campaign disclosure report.

The reports, which were due by 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, show some clear winners and losers.

Clinton posted by far the biggest haul of hard money — $47.5 million. She also spent the largest amount, $18.7 million, though she still had the most cash on hand, with $28.9 million.

Celebrities dotted her disclosure, from Beyoncé Knowles-Carter (employer: self-employed; occupation: entrepreneur) to actors Ben Affleck and Leonardo DiCaprio, who all gave the maximum $2,700 allowed toward the primary.

Sanders, a self-described social Democrat, came in second in the cash race with about $15.2 million. Strikingly, more than three-quarters of Sanders’ contributions this quarter came from small-dollar donors who gave $200 or less, compared to about 17 percent of Clinton’s.

Bush came third, with $11.4 million, though the super PAC supporting him has reportedly raised more than $100 million to support his candidacy. Prominent donors to his campaign include hedge fund titan Daniel Loeb and oil and gas billionaire Trevor Rees-Jones. Bush also received at least 56 contributions totaling nearly $150,000 from people who listed investment banking giant Goldman Sachs as their employer.

He was followed by Cruz, with $10 million.

But the campaign committee hauls of Bush and Cruz — and those of several other Republican candidates — were dwarfed by fundraising totals for nominally independent political committees supporting them.

At least five Republican candidates — Fiorina, Bush, Rubio, Perry and Cruz — are backed by super PACs and nonprofits that have reportedly raised millions more than the campaigns themselves.

The outside groups are already picking up the tab for ads and organizing costs in early states. Super PACs aren’t required to reveal their finances until July 31, while nonprofit organizations that support candidates are generally allowed to keep their donors secret.

Candidates technically are not permitted to coordinate with outside groups such as super PACs, although many are pushing the boundaries.

For instance, before officially announcing his candidacy last month, Bush fundraised for Right to Rise, the super PAC supporting him, and it will engage in core functions such as campaign advertising.

Clinton is working directly with Correct the Record, a super PAC that provides it with opposition research but does not advertise. A super PAC supporting Fiorina has publicized her endorsements and answered questions from the press.

“There will be a lot more money spent by super PACs than by the campaigns” this time, said Charlie Black, a longtime Republican lobbyist and fundraiser who is currently neutral in the primary.

“Hard money” raised directly by campaigns does have its advantages despite federal laws limiting how much of it candidates may raise.

The candidates pay lower rates for television ad time, for instance, and have more control over how money is spent.

“If I were running a campaign, I would hate that I can’t control my own campaign, my own message,” Black said.

From April 1 to June 30, presidential candidates collectively reported raising more than $120 million through their campaigns, even though several of them didn’t formally announce until a few weeks ago.

Still, that’s only a fraction of the hundreds of millions of dollars the super PACs and nonprofits supporting them have so far voluntarily disclosed raising — and some of those groups have not yet said how much money they’ve taken in.

Donors writing multimillion-dollar checks to those outside groups, though, may be dancing with more than one date.

Hedge fund billionaire Robert Mercer is one example.

He’s reportedly a main donor to a connected group of super PACs supporting Cruz. The groups have said they have raised more than $37 million, though it isn’t yet known how much is from Mercer.

That’s a pretty substantial investment in Cruz. Campaign finance filings yesterday, though, show he and his family also contributed to Fiorina.

TIME Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton Far Outpaces Democratic Rivals in Spending

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has spent more than $18 million since her campaign launch.
Alex Wong—2015 Getty Images Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has spent more than $18 million since her campaign launch.

Hillary Clinton’s campaign spent $18.7 million since its launch on expenses ranging from payroll to voter files and office furniture, as the Democratic frontrunner sought to build a huge national operation that includes staff in all 50 states.

Her campaign has spent more money than both her Democratic rivals have raised.

“Thanks to the more than 250,000 Americans who have stepped up to support Hillary Clinton’s campaign, we have had the ability to make critical investments in our organization that will put us in position to win the primary and the White House,” said campaign manager Robby Mook.

Some of the campaign’s more significant expenditures included $370,000 for the New Hampshire, Iowa, Nevada and South Carolina Democratic party voter files, nearly $2 million outsourcing its direct marketing to a Washington, D.C.-based firm, and millions of dollars in payroll for the campaign staff of nearly 350.

The campaign also spent around $440,000 on legal fees, according to filings, including $163,000 to the law firm of the campaign’s lawyer, Marc Elias.

The campaign can afford to spend, having raised $46.7 million since mid-April, according to filings with the Federal Election Commission. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, another contender for the Democratic presidential nomination, raised about $15 million in the first quarter. Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley brought in around $2 million.

The spending represents some 40% of the money Clinton has raised since her official launch.

The campaign has taken a famously cheap approach, with staff forced to take buses, fly commercial and buy minimal office furniture and supplies. Some of that was reflected in the expenditures: in the month of June, for example, payroll expenditures to campaign manager Robby Mook totaled just $4,910, according to the filings, though Mook holds one of the most senior positions on the campaign.

The average donation to the Clinton campaign was $145, and the campaign said that 61% of its donors were women.

Celebrity donors to the campaign included Steven Spielberg, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki, Disney Chairman Alan Horn, and Dreamworks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg. Notably, neither Chelsea Clinton nor Bill Clinton donated to the campaign, while the Bush family has already maxed out its contributions to Jeb’s campaign.

Nearly 33,000 people have purchased items from Clinton’s online store, which includes tongue-in-cheek items like a “Chillary” koozie and a “pantsuit tee.”

With reporting by Zeke J. Miller.

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