Democracy Alliance Members Had to 'Recover' After Election

Spent 'unprecedented money' on youth vote, got less support

Hillary Clinton
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks during a campaign rally in Raleigh, N.C. / AP
November 16, 2016

Organizers for the dark money group Democracy Alliance told supporters about the need to "rest and recover" after a "hard day" on Nov. 8.

Anne Johnson, the managing principal at Grassroots Solutions, helped plan a panel at the George Soros-backed donor network on the youth vote in the 2016 election, according to an email obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

"Hi all – A hard day for sure," Johnson wrote to organizers on Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign and leading supporters on Nov. 9. "But, so many thanks for the incredible work you've done over the past year (or more) to make sure young voters were engaged this year."

"I think we can say the youth vote was one of the few bright [spots on] a tough night," she said. "I hope folks get some time to rest and recover in the coming days."

The email contained ideas for an agenda for youth panel at the Democracy Alliance conference, which ran from Sunday through Tuesday at the Mandarin Oriental hotel in Washington, D.C. After spending tens of millions of dollars in support of Clinton's candidacy, liberal donors were looking to pick up the pieces after the election of Donald Trump.

Johnson sent the email to Sarah Audelo, who was Hillary Clinton's youth vote director on her campaign, and the director of the Youth Engagement Fund at the Democracy Alliance Austin Belali. Others on the email included Denise Feriozzi, the political director at the pro-abortion group EMILY's List; Heather Hargreaves, a vice president of the Tom Steyer group NextGen Climate; and Ian Simmons, of Blue Haven Initiative.

Despite Johnson's satisfaction with the youth vote, exit polls showed Clinton did not perform as well with millennials as President Barack Obama. Clinton failed to energize voters aged 18 to 34, as many decided to vote third party or stay home.

Johnson's email also notes that Democrats spent "unprecedented money" on the youth vote during the 2016 election.

The Democracy Alliance Youth Engagement Fund held the panel on Monday afternoon, and discussed topics such as "investments made in youth engagement," and "Show the importance (and success) of by the YEF/YEAF and the progressive movement as a whole."

Under "goals," Johnson said the panel should "Demonstrate the scale of youth work in 2016—unprecedented money and program."

The panel agenda demonstrated some doubt among the group, as Johnson asked, "How do we deal with young people's skepticism with institutions? What will make young people want to engage/vote/join??"

Johnson also suggested a topic for discussion could be to ask donors if they could "wave a magic wand" and change how the network approached the 2016 election.

"If you could go back to 2015 and do something different (wave a magic wand) to get ready for 2016 what would you do? Can we apply those lesson [sic] to 2017 and beyond?"