It was also during the 2000 election that Soros made his most dramatic move yet to win support for the McCain-Feingold Act. He did this by sponsoring the so-called “Shadow Conventions.” Organized by author, columnist, socialite and political switcher Arianna Huffington, the Shadow Conventions were counter-cultural events that gave a spotlight to radical opponents of the electoral mainstream, most of them from the left.
In an effort to lure news crews away from the national party conventions, Huffington held her “Shadow Conventions” at the same time and in the same cities as the Republican and Democratic events in Philadelphia and Los Angeles. Until her husband was defeated in his Republican bid for California Senate seat, Huffington was prominent conservative figure whose cult-like adoration of Newt Gingrich evoked non-partisan titters among the cognoscenti. At the Shadow Conventions, the new Arianna told reporters: “I have become radicalized.”
Unmindful (or unaware) of the very serious sponsor behind the events, some commentators played the Shadow Conventions for laughs. Yet its fumings supported a radical agenda, which Soros evidently endorsed, and which had profound implications for the political future. The Shadow Conventions promoted the view that neither Democrats nor Republicans served the interests of the American people. Huffington herself declared that US politics needed a “third force” to break the deadlock. Among the issues highlighted at the Shadow Conventions were special interest lobbies, marijuana legalization, corporate control of American society and the allegedly growing concentration of wealth. Most speakers and delegates at the Shadow Convention hewed to a hard-left line, their views resonating with the “Free Mumia” chants that erupted periodically from the crowd and with Jesse Jackson’s incendiary charges that Republicans were racists. Comic activist Al Franken provided the entertainment.
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