Dear Neera Tanden (President and CEO of the Center for American Progress)

Dear Neera,

This morning I received your broadcast fundraising email for CAP, and I’m writing to say that, to me at least, it unwittingly represents so much that’s wrong with the Democratic Party and with CAP.

It comes in the wake of an election in which the primary was essentially rigged in favor of one candidate who had been pre-selected nearly four years earlier (I say this as a supporter of hers). Partly as a consequence of the closed nature of the primary process, and of the closed-mindedness of the Democratic Party’s strategists,  the Party’s turnout in 2016 was abysmal.

Thus, it is shocking (but unsurprising) that your note carries not a hint of a mea culpa. Yet you are a member of the party elite that is responsible for this disaster. And as the head of the progressive establishment’s major think tank, your responsibility is especially heavy.

In my view, and I think I’m representative of a big swath of progressives and modest donors, the first thing we need to see is some housecleaning in the Democratic Party and, yes, in CAP.

The last thing we need to see is an email that promises to continue business as usual and solicits more  funding for an organization that is  complicit in this enormous failure.

Your decision to close your email with your title, “President and CEO,” is not as obviously thoughtless as Clinton’s “basket of deplorables” remark, but it reveals just as much about the complacent attitude of establishment “progressives” today.

CEO. You’re doubtless proud of the title, and there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be. But think about it.That’s all I’m asking of you and CAP. Think about it. Then ask for more money.

Respectfully yours,


Addendum (The Fundraising Letter from CAP):

Dear Nick,

The next four years are going to be tough. But if you stand with us in the belief that we must continue fighting for progressive ideas and values,please make a donation to CAP action today.

This election was a long, divisive road that challenged our country in new ways. But it was also a very close election, and the progressive policies that drove millions of people to the polls cannot be pushed off the table.

I’ve been asked many times over the past 48 hours what role CAP Action will play in the days ahead. We were founded in—a dark time for progressives; Republicans controlled the House, the Senate, and the White House. So we decided to build an infrastructure of progressive ideas outside of government to develop and promote our values and policies. And in the years since our founding, I can say with certainty that we have changed the country for the better. We produced the blueprints to achieve universal health care coverage; we laid out an exit strategy to end the Iraq War; and we’ve developed a new middle-out economic growth agenda and promoted policies that expand opportunity and prosperity to all Americans.

It’s true: Our work will be more difficult. But it has never been more important. On countless issues, President-elect Trump has vowed to repeal the progress we’ve made. We cannot let that happen. We are going to keep being the bulwark for progressive ideals, and we are going to keep laying the groundwork for the progressive future that our children deserve.

That means we will push back against those who try to strip health care from millions of Americans; we will stand up for the millions of unauthorized immigrants who contribute their talents to this country but are still forced to live in the shadows; we will call out those who deny or ignore the imminent threat of climate change; we will fight for the economic security of working families; and we will stand up to anyone who attacks or discriminates against Americans based on their gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, color, class, or creed.

Today, we are more committed than ever to the progressive cause. But we can’t do any of this without your support. We must not meet this week’s outcome with despair but with renewed determination to ensure a progressive future for all Americans.

CAP Action is proud of the role we’ve played in making progress and we will keep fighting to move history forward.Please donate today to help us do even more.


Neera Tanden

President & CEO

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