Former President Barack Obama announced on Friday a new initiative from the Democratic National Committee to back the party’s eventual nominee for president.
Obama introduced the Democratic Unity Fund in an email from the DNC, focusing on party cooperation despite a growing field of 2020 candidates who will soon face off in the Democratic primary — and the legacy of the party’s fissures exposed in 2016.
“I’m excited that the DNC asked me to announce a bold new effort: The Democratic Unity Fund,” Obama wrote. “Launching today, the fund will be dedicated to electing our party’s eventual presidential nominee and winning up and down the ballot in 2020.”
Obama indicated that the fund will aim to strengthen the DNC in anticipation of its role supporting the victorious Democratic candidate. The 2020 field currently clocks in at 23 Democratic hopefuls, with some possible candidates still publicly weighing campaigns.
“The Democratic Unity Fund is a promise that whoever earns our nomination, he or she will have a strong, united, and well-organized DNC ready to spring into action the moment the general election starts — a DNC that’s ready to lift us all to victory in November,” Obama said, adding that donations would go toward developing “robust, dynamic party infrastructure.”
Obama characterized the party as a united front. He stressed that while the varied candidates prepare for the primary, Democrats “share so many of the same beliefs about our country,” with the DNC “building the organization and programs that will support our nominee from the second they accept our party’s nomination next July.”
He added that all donations to the fund would go toward DNC programs, including its grassroots initiative “Organizing Corps 2020” and its progressive-focused voter database “the Data Warehouse,” as well as “the nationwide voter protection efforts that are essential to winning in 2020.”
The call for unity comes following the DNC’s internal turmoil exposed in 2016, when progressive candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders accused the committee of favoring Hillary Clinton, who was ultimately selected to be the Democratic presidential nominee. He alleged that the committee stacked the Democratic National Convention against him.