A Regular Liberal Critic Goes All In On Clinton's Presidential Run

MoveOn has quarreled with Clinton for years. But fear of a Trump presidency can heal those wounds.
Hillary Clinton is getting a boost from MoveOn.org, a group that's had its disagreements with her in the past.
Hillary Clinton is getting a boost from MoveOn.org, a group that's had its disagreements with her in the past.

One of the nation’s top liberal advocacy groups is mobilizing its expansive network to aid Hillary Clinton’s campaign against Donald Trump and prop up Senate Democratic nominees.

MoveOn.org announced on Thursday that it will be hiring more than three dozen paid staff to serve as state directors and field organizers in eight key states. The investment represents an expansion of the group’s United Against Hate campaign against Trump. But it also dovetails with its efforts to regain Democratic control of the Senate. The states where MoveOn.org is upping its field presence include Arizona, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania ― all of which have competitive Senate races. 

“This is an all-hands-on-deck moment to ensure that Donald Trump never sets foot in the White House, and MoveOn members across the country have the power to influence this election by helping elect Hillary Clinton and winning key Senate seats across the country,” said Victoria Kaplan, organizing director for MoveOn.org. 

With its expansive membership list, MoveOn has the potential to be a powerful on-the-ground mobilizer for Democrats in the fall. And for Clinton, in particular, the group’s support could provide a nice hand in shoring up lingering problems (to the extent that they exist) with base voters.

That’s because the two ― MoveOn and Clinton ― have had a rather topsy-turvy relationship dating back nearly two decades. MoveOn was initially started to defend Bill Clinton from impeachment proceedings (hence the name). During the George W. Bush years, it had morphed, somewhat, into an anti-war organization ― and it found itself at odds with then-Sen. Hillary Clinton for her vote to authorize the Iraq invasion.

During the 2008 campaign, the group endorsed Barack Obama. And at a private fundraiser, Clinton was caught complaining about its stringent anti-war posture and the gushers of money it was raising for the then-Illinois senator.

This cycle, Clinton snubbed a MoveOn forum that Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley agreed to attend. MoveOn snubbed her back, by endorsing Sanders bid for the nomination.

But time, and Trump, heals wounds. When it became apparent that Sanders didn’t have the delegate numbers to become the Democratic nominee, the group threw its support behind Clinton. And as the election has neared, MoveOn has put substantial resources ― including a major voter contact effort, a rapid-response video lab and nationwide Laughter Trumps Hate comedy contest ― behind Clinton’s election.

The group pledges that its expanded field teams “will knock on hundreds of thousands of doors and hold conversations with thousands of likely voters in coming weeks.”