What Does "Dine With The 99" Mean? Politics Meets Potlucks At The Bernie Sanders Events
Supporters of Bernie Sanders have certainly taken his message to heart. The Democratic candidate recently slammed an upcoming high profile fundraiser for Hillary Clinton, calling the George Clooney-hosted dinner "obscene" for its $353,400 price tag. Sanders has continued to advocate for smaller donations over super PACs, as have voters feeling the Bern. His supporters thus decided to host their own dining event the weekend of April 14 known as Dine with the 99. What, exactly, does dine with the 99 mean?
The event sees itself as a grassroots movement catering to regular Americans, colloquially known as the 99 percent. The term first gained traction following the recession during the height of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Not only does "the 99 percent" denote ordinary citizens but it evokes a scrutiny of the big banks Sanders has been decrying for years, especially when it comes to fundraising. The Vermont senator has been especially critical of larger entities donating to Clinton via super PACs.
Dine with the 99 encourages Sanders supports around the country to host a "down-home potluck" and discuss their favorite candidate. Though donations are encouraged, event creator Natasha Losada stressed that potlucks are not fundraisers but rather grassroots events. Participants may donate as they please and events are encouraged for not just dinner but any meal of the day as well as snacks.
Inspired by comments made on a Sanders supporter Facebook page from Sarah Griffith, the Dine with the 99 event description echoes Sanders' comments about Clinton's dinner event. The Vermont senator had this to say about Clinton's fundraising tactics during an interview with CNN:
I think what we are trying to do is run a campaign, to paraphrase Abraham Lincoln, of the people, by the people and for the people. Not just reaching out to billionaires and the wealthiest people in this country... It is obscene that Secretary Clinton keeps going to big money people to fund her campaign. But it's not only this Clooney event, it is the fact that she has now raised well over $15 million from Wall Street for her super PAC and millions more from the fossil fuel industry and from the drug companies.
As of this writing, around 1,700 people are interested in Dine with the 99, according to the Facebook event page. Separate, local event pages have been created in Minnesota, Illinois, and Oregon. Events can be created on Bernie Sanders campaign website as well.