Major Dem Donor: Democrat Party's Message Is 'So Effin' Wrong'

Stephen Cloobeck threatens to leave party if it moves further left

November 7, 2017

Major Democratic donor and Diamond Resorts International founder Stephen Cloobeck said the Democrat Party's message is "so effin' wrong" in a Tuesday interview with MSNBC host Stephanie Ruhle.

"It's so effin' wrong," Cloobeck said. "I've talked to [Senate Minority Leader Chuck] Schumer [D., N.Y.], I've talked to [Senator Ron] Wyden [D., Ore.], I've talked to [House Minority Leader Nancy] Pelosi [D., Calif.], and I said, 'If you use the term billionaires again, I'm done.'"

Cloobeck, the former CEO and chairman of Diamond Resorts, continued to criticze Democrats for their rhetoric against the rich and successful.

"It's aspirational. I didn't start with anything. Just penalize everyone that has done well? We all want to do well," Cloobeck said. "And we should be the party of doing well. We should be a party of business and leadership. And it is very, very disturbing when I hear the billionaire word. And I told them to stop it, knock it off. Because everyone wants to do really well. And this is the world of aspirations."

The Democratic Party has moved further to the left in recent years, according to a recent Pew Research Center study. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt), the runner-up in the 2016 Democratic presidential primary, often castigates wealthy Americans in speeches, deriding the "billionaires and the millionaires."

Ruhle asked Cloobeck if he is worried the Democratic Party has become too liberal.

"Are you worried that the Democratic Party goes too far to the left?" Ruhle asked.

Cloobeck said the party has moved so far to the left that he might leave the party, and threatened to stop donating to Democrats.

"So much so it drives me nuts. So much so it would make me quit the party," Cloobeck said. "And I've made it very clear, I'll cut your money off. And others will do the same. We've had enough. We need to rebrand."

Ruhle then asked what the Democrats' brand is and whether the party will fracture if it continues to move farther left.

"What is that brand?" Ruhle asked. "If Democrats lose, for example in the state of Virginia, if that isn't a wake-up call that the Democratic leadership needs to get together and say, we've got to find a middle ground, because as Democrats continue to go far to the left, you've got that whole group in the center that are not going to go the way of Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders and you're going to fracture the party more?"

Cloobeck said the party is already fractured.

"It's fractured; it's broken. We need a new brand," Cloobeck said. "It needs to be simple. Keep it simple. Tax reform, keep it simple. Infrastructure, no bumps in the road. What more do we have to say? They need to have a new brand created."

When asked what he would do if the party continued to move further to the left, Cloobeck again said he would leave the party.

"And I can tell you if we go far left, I'm out. I'm out. We need middle ground," Cloobeck said.

Cloobeck said Schumer and Pelosi have reassured him and they are willing to meet in the middle.

UPDATE: Wednesday, 1:56 P.M: This article has been corrected to state Cloobeck is the founder and former CEO and chairman of Diamond Resorts. It previously stated he is the current CEO.