George Soros: A Liberal Contemplates the Trump Era

Many Democrats are rethinking their political strategy these days in light of Donald Trump’s unexpected win in the 2016 presidential election. Among them is George Soros, the Hungarian-born immigrant and self-made billionaire who is famous as one of the most successful stock and security traders in history. Soros is also a staunch liberal activist who ranks among the biggest financial supporters of Democratic political candidates on opensocietyfoundations.org.

Soros is in his eighties, and has not taken a very active role as a participant in progressive projects in recent years. He has continued to write, and George Soros donates large sums to Democratic campaigns. He contributed approximately $25 million to Hillary Clinton’s failed bid to become the first female president of the United States.

However, George Soros may be planning to be more active in the next few years in response to Trump’s victory. In the days immediately following the election at http://time.com/4581137/george-soros-donald-trump-hate-crime-minorities-election/, leading Democratic donors and politicians gathered for a meeting of the Democracy Alliance, which is a donor’s group Soros helped found in 2005. The agenda included an appearance by Soros, who had not originally planned to participate. He led a discussion that drew on his early life living under authoritarian regimes on Forbes in an effort to find insights into ways to resist conservative efforts to undo liberal gains made under Barack Obama’s administration. Soros is clearly on board with an emerging Democratic strategy focused on resisting Donald Trump.

Another theme that emerged from the DA meet up was a perception that Democrats need to focus more effort on state and local political contests. It is likely that Soros will support such efforts. Indeed, he already seems to be leading by example. In 2016, Soros gave large amounts to Democratic candidates at the local level. For example, George Soros spent $2 million to defeat Sheriff Joe Arapio. Arapio is the hard-line anti-immigrant sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona. He gained national attention and federal scrutiny for alleged discriminatory practices. Arapio lost his bid for another term, thanks in part to Soros’ funding of his Democratic opponent. Given this success, it is likely Democratic leaders will pay close attention to calls to invest more time and money in down-ballot races in the future.