Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) has received significant financial support from Ithacans, according to FEC data.

Hilary Swift / The New York Times

Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) has received significant financial support from Ithacans, according to FEC data.

April 7, 2016

Report: Ithaca Zip Code Is Top Donor to Bernie Sanders Campaign

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The City of Ithaca’s zip code, 14850, ranks eighth on the list of United States zip codes giving most generously to Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (D-Vt.) presidential campaign, according to a USA Today report based on Federal Election Commission data through Jan. 31.

This generosity is largely due to grassroots efforts, Ithaca’s liberal nature and unprecedented enthusiasm from residents, according to local activists.

The report said that 14850 is a top donor zip code to the Sanders campaign — behind cities such as Burlington, Vt., San Francisco, Calif., New York, N.Y. and Seattle, Wash.

Data courtesy of the FEC.

Data courtesy of the FEC.

Cornell Student Involvement

William Bristow ’16, president of Cornell Democrats, said he believes that among Cornellians, support for Sanders is greater than support for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

“Sen. Sanders has received a great deal of support from young voters, and that seems to be the case here at Cornell,” Bristow said.

However, he said he believes Democrats in the Ithaca community favor Sanders more than the Cornell student body does.

“While there is no doubt that Sanders has a great deal of support locally, it appears that the Cornell student body is more divided between the two candidates,” Bristow said.

The enthusiasm of local residents may mean that Ithaca residents make up a larger share of Ithacan donors to the Sanders campaign than students do, according to Bristow.

“I do know of several students who have donated to Sen. Sanders,” he said. “However, I think it’s likely that Ithaca residents make up the overwhelming majority of his donors in the area.”

Ithacan Activism

Donald Bazley, a volunteer for the Ithaca and Tompkins County for Bernie Sanders Campaign, agreed that local Ithacans make up the base of Sanders support in Ithaca. The majority of early involvement in the campaign came from people over 40, according to Bazley.

“I believe that most of the support coming from Ithaca is actually coming from Ithaca residents as opposed to students and professors,” he said. “There may be many faculty behind Bernie, but I also think that many faculty are a part of what I call the ‘establishment left’ and supporting Clinton.”

Members of the Ithaca and Tompkins County for Bernie Sanders Campaign, as well as the Ithaca branch of the Democratic Socialists of America for Bernie Sanders Campaign, said levels of local activism were partially responsible for Ithaca’s large number of donations.

“Through the summer and into the early fall, we concentrated on voter registration literature, informing people they would have [to] be registered in the Democratic party of be a part of the primary process,” said Theresa Alt, a member of the Ithaca Branch of the DSA for Bernie Sanders.

Alt added that high levels of activism among Sanders voters encourages people to donate.

“[Asking for donations was] not our major focus, although I am sure every time we reminded people of Bernie, some people went to the website,” she said. “The effect of seeing a lot of activity leaves people more inclined.”

Why Ithaca?

Kris Hodges, a volunteer for Ithaca and Tompkins County for Bernie Sanders campaign, said she believes an outpouring of support for Sanders’ campaign has come from Ithacans because of the city’s liberal nature.

“There are probably a little more progressive types of folks around here, [due in part to] the nature of being a college town,” Hodges said.

Many activists said that Sanders’ campaign has seen an unprecedented level of involvement from Ithaca residents.

“The level of passion I see behind Sanders today is something I have never seen in my lifetime, and I am 51,” Bazley said.

Alt added that among Ithaca Democratic Socialist of America movements, working for Sanders’ campaign is the most energized she has ever seen activists.

“There were a couple of previous peaks of excitement: the Jesse Jackson campaign of 1988, and in 1992 to 1993, the fight for single payer health insurance when we ended up with nothing,” Alt said. “There was a lot of excitement then, but nothing as big as this.”

Hodges agreed that supporters are “really revved up about Bernie, to the point that they are willing to do what they can — in any way that they can — to help him out.”

“So some people can’t give their time, so they give money. Some people can do both, some people don’t have money so they give their time,” Hodges said. “My sense is that there is much more enthusiasm and willingness to participate than during our activism during the Obama campaign.”

  • DNC

    Bernie is emphatically (I-VT), not (D-VT).

    • Mark Cook

      It all does depend on what one means by “Democrats.” Back in 1993, Bill Clinton, newly installed in the White House, was shoving NAFTA down our throats at the request of GE, GM, etc., so they could close down factories in their home towns of Schenectady, NY and Flint, MI and move them to Mexico where they could pay wretched wages and create toxic waste dumps to their heart’s content.

      NAFTA was opposed by most Congressional Democrats (as well as the overwhelming majority of Americans), and Republican votes weren’t enough to get it through. So Al Gore, Clinton’s vice president, went through Congress, sneeringly buying up Democratic votes with congressional district goodies — just enough votes to get NAFTA passed. Needless to say, Bernie Sanders was not one of the people whose vote he was able to buy.

      Gore, an ambitious politician with eyes on the White House, surely had to know that, even if NAFTA was going to be the tremendous success advertised for the US economy, it would be devastating for the industrial unionized base of the Democratic Party, and for the cities, school districts, etc., where those factories existed. That electoral base stayed home in disgust in the 1994 congressional elections, causing Democrats to lose control of the House. And when Gore ran for president in 2000, a lot of Democratic voters stayed home or voted for Ralph Nader.

      Gore and others told us back in 1993 that we NAFTA opponents just didn’t know anything about economics. Any ten year old kid could have told them that if companies can produce things abroad for a fraction of US wages and then import the products back into the US with little or no import duty, US factories will shut down and move abroad right away. In the end, NAFTA and similar “free trade” deals turned out to be disasters for practically everyone, including most people in this country and for workers in Mexico, China, Bangladesh, etc. Of course, Wall Street made out like bandits.

      The Wall Street Democrats are DINOs – Democrats in Name Only. Bernie, as an Independent, is the real New Deal Democrat, the kind of person who, for decades, has made Americans proud.

  • Chris

    Guess this is one more reason NOT to contribute to Cornell and never buy a property in Ithaca.

    • not Chris

      And who do you support? Clinton? Not everybody at Cornell is rich.
      Cruz? Not everybody at Cornell is an evangelical Christian.
      Trump? Scorched earth wildcard might be appealing from a certain angle, but not when there’s somebody not actively trying to fuck us over for a change.

      • Travis Cuvelier

        How about someone who (to paraphrase Reagan) realizes that this country has achieved more prosperity because we unleashed the energy and individual genius of man to a greater extent than has ever been done before. The welfare state is a failure. Paul Ryan at a brokered convention or Gary Johnson are our only hope.

        • Dave Mowers

          That, uh, “welfare state,” you speak of include the companies that received 32 trillion in Fed welfare along with 700 billion in taxpayer welfare and special Congressional tax waivers, government loan guarantees, business credit lines at the Federal Financing Bank, government-crony contracts and deferred prosecutions when caught committing serious felony crimes?

          Harley Davidson; on the taxpayer dole.
          G.M.; on the taxpayer dole.
          G.E.; on the taxpayer dole.
          Nissan; on the taxpayer dole.
          Toyota; on the taxpayer dole.
          Duke Energy; on the taxpayer dole.
          Verizon; on the taxpayer dole…

          Citigroup, Bank of America, J.P.Morgan, A.I.G., Dexia, UBS, Blackrock Capital…and on, and on, and on, and on until it seems that the only, “capitalists,” are the little guys who actually have to produce something to get money.

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  • Joshua H.

    Worth noting that in 2000, Nader got more votes than Bush (Gore got the most), and in the 2008 primaries, Tompkins County was the only NY county that went to Obama. Proud of my hometown. Feel the Bern! We got this!

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