Steve Phillips: Meet the Mega-Wealthy ‘Marxist-Leninist’ Behind Four Potential Governors in November

New Zeal | The Epoch Times

Steve Phillips is pictured in a press kit photo. (

News Analysis

Democratic Party power-player Steve Phillips is behind the rise of four potential far-left governors who have already won their primaries.

The San Francisco attorney is a mega-wealthy self-identified student of “Marx, Mao, and Lenin” directing huge resources into socialist and communist-led groups, with the goal of putting his personal far-left proteges into governor’s mansions in Maryland, Georgia, Florida, and Arizona.

Phillips and his partners in the highly secretive group Democracy Alliance hope that by electing far-left governors into four currently Republican-led states, the drive to impeach President Donald Trump and destroy his “Make America Great Again” agenda will be accelerated.

The key element of Phillips’s strategy is to push people of color into high office, which will then—so his theory goes—energize minority voters to come out in force.

While George Soros and Tom Steyer have gained notoriety for their dedication to pouring massive resources into far-left causes and candidates, Phillips has managed to escape the level of scrutiny someone of his stature deserves. Make no mistake, Phillips is a highly regarded and extremely influential force in the Democratic Party.

Who Is Steve Phillips?

Originally from Cleveland, Phillips was a student radical at Stanford University in the 1980s, active in the Black Student Union.

Phillips was a regular writer for Unity, the newspaper of the League of Revolutionary Struggle (LRS). The 3,000-member-strong Maoist organization was the largest pro-China group in the United States at the time. The LRS was highly secretive and ordered most members to publicly disavow the organization. The Stanford branch of LRS was led by Professor Gordon H. Chang (not to be confused with the anti-communist author Gordon G. Chang), who is now a member of Beijing’s main U.S. “influence operation” known as the Committee of 100.

Phillips, then active in Stanford Out of South Africa (SOSA), a group pushing for disinvestment from South Africa, told Unity in May 1985: “Some of the people who have played roles in organizing SOSA have been folks who’ve worked with Unity and take a Marxist-Leninist perspective. … It’s really exciting to see the principles of Marxism-Leninism being successful and making a difference.”

Years later, Phillips co-founded PowerPAC+, a “social justice organization dedicated to building a multiracial political coalition.” In a December 2012 blog post on the PowerPAC+ website, Phillips confirmed his far-left credentials:

“First, let me make clear that I come out of the Left. I’ve studied Marx, Mao, and Lenin. In college, I organized solidarity efforts for freedom struggles in South Africa and Nicaragua, and I palled around with folks who considered themselves communists and revolutionaries.”

After being accused of LRS membership in Stanford’s student newspaper, Stanford Daily, Phillips retorted that he had “no knowledge of the League’s involvement at Stanford and has not recruited for the organization.”

In 1990, the LRS split between a small faction called the Socialist Organizing Network and a majority faction called the Unity Organizing Committee. Phillips became a supporter of the latter group, which specifically set out to infiltrate the Democratic Party.

Soon after, Phillips married fellow Stanford graduate Susan Sandler, daughter of far-left billionaires Herb and Marion Sandler, whose $2.4 billion fortune was made through the sale of their company, Golden West Financial Corp., to Wachovia Bank. The Sandlers invested $1.3 million into their Sandler Foundation, which supports mainly leftist causes such as Center for American Progress and ProPublica.

According to New York Times reporter Matt Bai, the Sandlers, along with Progressive Insurance magnate Peter Lewis and leftist financier George Soros, additionally established the organization America Votes “to coordinate various get-out-the-vote drives during the 2004 election.” The Sandlers also sent their son-in-law Phillips as their representative to the October 2005 meeting of the Democracy Alliance at the Chateau Elan near Atlanta.

Both Phillips and Susan Sandler have played major roles in the Democracy Alliance, in which they were able to interact with the Soros family, Norman Lear of People for the American Way, Democratic Party mega-donor Steyer, and others.

Phillips has been very influential inside the Democracy Alliance because he has brought a unique strategic vision that many of the more money-focused members lacked.

A Modern Remake of Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow Coalition Strategy

The League of Revolutionary Struggle joined other communist groups active in Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow Coalition in 1984 and 1988. Jackson ran for president twice, with an idea ahead of its time.

The Rainbow Coalition strategy was to unite “progressive” white voters with leftist black, Latino, Asian-American, Native American, and gay activists into a multi-colored electoral coalition. In 1988, Jackson got 7 million votes with this strategy and won several states. Phillips was a delegate to Jackson’s 1984 and 1988 campaigns and took a year off from college to serve as the California student coordinator of his 1988 campaign.

Today, minorities are a much larger proportion of the population, and some, particularly Asian-Americans, have trended even more Democratic since the mid-1990s. Phillips has been working hard to convince leading Democrats and his Democracy Alliance “partners” to stop wasting money on trying to persuade white swing voters.

Phillips dismisses “Trump voters in the Midwest,” putting forth the idea that “people of color and progressive whites” outnumber conservative whites, which he told Democracy Now! are a “shrinking sector of the population.” Therefore, he claims in a Facebook post, the idea should not be to chase white “Trump voters,” but to inspire progressives by using the “Obama formula”:

“This notion that we should chase the Trump voters in the Midwest is illogical,” Phillips states. “That focuses on a shrinking sector of the population. The Obama formula—inspire people of color and progressive whites to turn out in large numbers—is how you win elections.”

To this end, Phillips created PowerPAC+ to fund “candidates of color” around the United States and Democracy in Color to propagandize his message to a wide audience.

Phillips has also partnered with the hard left to deliver minority votes to the Democratic Party. Phillips and his Democracy Alliance partners have spent millions funding radical voter registration organizations and “get out the vote” efforts in states with large minority populations. Many of these organizations are led by former members of the disgraced Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) or are supporters of the Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO), a successor to the former League of Revolutionary Struggle.

Phillips and his wealthy leftist colleagues are also working closely with Our Revolution, the nationwide leftist alliance formed out of the Bernie Sanders campaign. Our Revolution is completely dominated by the largest Marxist organization in the United States, the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA). Our Revolution also has support from Communist Party USA (CPUSA), Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism (CCDS), and FRSO. The three latter groups support the Chinese Communist Party, as do certain sectors of DSA.

Phillips plays a crucial role in raising the money and directing the funds of this electoral army.

Electing Far-Left Governors

This election cycle, Phillips with, a sister organization to PowerPAC+, backed five gubernatorial “candidates of color”: John Chiang (California, Asian-American), Stacey Abrams (Georgia, black), Ben Jealous (Maryland, black), Andrew Gillum (Florida, black) and David Garcia (Arizona, Latino).


Chiang has been Phillips’s only failure so far this cycle. In a crowded “progressive” field, the former California comptroller (the state’s financial officer) managed only fifth place. It’s hard to understand why Phillips ever wasted time and money on his long-shot candidacy. The fact that Chiang is a member of the very influential and deep-pocketed Committee of 100 may have been a factor.


Abrams of Georgia was Phillips’s first success, this cycle. A long-time Phillips protege, Abrams beat her white Democratic primary opponent by more than 50 points.

Abrams serves as a board member for PowerPAC+ and was given at least $1 million by Susan Sandler for her primary campaign, with commitments of another $1 million from Sandler’s friends. Abrams was endorsed by PowerPAC+ conferences in her successful 2014 Georgia state House re-election campaign. Phillips and Sandler have promised more funds to Abrams for the general election in November.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Phillips said:
“This is a seminal moment. That’s why we’re so heavily involved. We see winning 2020 in winning 2018. This is the down payment.”
The Chronicle article goes on to read: “Abrams’ strategy won’t change in the general election, Phillips said. The key is turning out the potential voters they know—not convincing the ones they don’t.

“To win in November, Phillips says Abrams must increase turnout among nonwhites by 230,000—about the margin by which Georgia Democrats have lost statewide races to Republicans in recent years. There are 1.2 million eligible nonwhites who aren’t registered to vote in the state, Phillips said. His organization, PowerPAC Georgia, plans to spend $10 million in the general election to move them.”

Abrams has her own voter registration organization, the New Georgia Project. She is supported by Our Revolution and enjoys good relations with the Atlanta chapter of Democratic Socialists of America.

She is up against conservative Brian Kemp, probably the only Republican in the state who can beat her army and war chest.


Jealous of Maryland won his Democratic primary convincingly against a well-established moderate Democratic opponent. Jealous is a longtime friend and collaborator of Phillips. In 2007 and 2008, Jealous and Phillips worked together to implement an 18-state initiative under Vote Hope that “increased communities of color participation” in the 2008 election behind Barack Obama.

Most of Jealous’s money comes through Maryland Together We Rise PAC, whose largest single donor at $250,000 was Susan Sandler. He was also a board member of Phillips’s PAC+, the predecessor of PowerPAC+.

Jealous is backed by DSA-controlled Our Revolution and by the 23,000-member-strong Progressive Maryland, which is led by DSA member Larry Stafford.

Stafford wrote in an article published by

“At Progressive Maryland, we’ve been on board with Ben from the start – and he with us. Back in December, he let us know where he stands on key issues: the $15 minimum wage, workers’ right to organize, women’s rights and Medicare for All.

“Ben’s primary victory represents a shift in the balance of power in Maryland politics.

“It also shows that the path forward for progressive values and working people’s values is through organizing and creating meaningful alliances between populist progressive, white constituency groups and progressive people of color, who want to vote for people who knows [sic] the issues of our communities and who will put forward bold solutions that meet the needs of our constituency.”

Currently, Jealous is trailing in the polls behind incumbent moderate Republican Gov. Larry Hogan. According to Phillips, however, only 800,000 Democratic voters turned out for Hogan’s 2014 election, compared to about 1.1 million who turned out to elect former Gov. Martin O’Malley. Those voters, Phillips argues, could be swayed to turn out with a “progressive agenda of economic and social justice.”

Jealous is the bridge between the Steve Phillips and Bernie Sanders organizations, where he serves on the board of Our Revolution. He has boasted that as the former president of the NAACP, he knows how to bring out voters.

David Garcia, Democrat candidate for governor in Arizona, (Screenshot/David Garcia for Governor)


Garcia of Arizona is a bright hope for the Phillips cabal. Garcia easily won his Democratic primary and is set to face incumbent Republican Gov. Doug Ducey in November. Garcia has been backed by Democracy Alliance members Steyer and Phillips.

In a column published by the DSA-aligned publication The Nation on June 21, Phillips said Garcia’s candidacy had “immense” potential to bring more Latino voters to the polls.

“Electing David Garcia—a person who comes from the very community Trump demonizes and who is unapologetically committed to building an inclusive, multiracial democracy—will represent a resounding rejection of the nativist, nationalist, and racist impulses lifted up by this president,” Phillips wrote.

In the same article, Phillips wrote: “What Census and electoral data tell us is that the most promising regions in our country for future Democratic wins are in the South and Southwest, where the multiracial ranks of Democratic voters are growing faster than in any other part of the country.

“Often overlooked in 2016 election postmortems is the fact that Arizona was one of the most closely contested states in the country. Clinton lost by just 3.5 percent—coming closer than she did in Ohio, Iowa, and North Carolina states that slid from the Democratic column after Obama had previously won them. Trump won by just 91,000 votes in Arizona, a state in which 600,000 Latinos who were eligible to vote didn’t cast ballots.”

Many of Garcia’s supporters come from the Bazta Arpaio coalition, which defeated Sheriff Joe Arpaio in 2016. That organization was led by several Freedom Road Socialist Organization comrades and PowerPAC+ board member Randy Parraz.

In November 2017, another PowerPAC+ board member, Eddy Morales, hosted Garcia at a fundraising meeting in Portland, Oregon. Garcia is also on good terms with the Arizona branch of Our Revolution and the state’s four DSA chapters.

After Garcia’s victory, Phillips posted on Facebook: “Incredible and inspiring election results last night. Most of the attention went to the upset victory of the awesome Andrew Gillum in the Florida gubernatorial primary, but also historic and important was David Garcia’s win in Arizona. Re-upping my piece in The Nation on David. A Rainbow Revolution is sweeping this country, and not a moment too soon.”


Gillum of Florida shocked the country with his come-from-behind victory in the Florida Democratic primary on Aug. 28. It wouldn’t have been the least bit surprising had the public known of the extensive voter registration drives and “get out the vote” campaigns run by DSA and Freedom Road Socialist Organization-led organizations on Gillum’s behalf. A PowerPAC+ board member and long-time protege of the Democracy Alliance, Gillum is currently the mayor of Tallahassee.

The New Florida Majority, led by Freedom Road Socialist Organization, boasts of signing up tens of thousands of new black and Latino voters in south and central Florida. Another FRSO front group, the Florida Immigrant Coalition, vowed to sign up “every immigrant in the state.” ACORN-descended Organize Florida also pitched in.

In 2012, Gillum had trained—like Jealous before him—at the FRSO/ACORN-affiliated activist training school Rockwood Institute in Oakland, California.

The Florida Democratic Party Progressive Caucus—also controlled by DSA—is also right behind Gillum.

The day before his primary election, Gillum was in Miami with Miami-Dade Progressive Caucus leader Thomas Kennedy, who gushed that the election of Gillum would “radically change politics in the state.” Argentinian-born Kennedy also chairs the Miami DSA, has held leadership roles in The New Florida Majority and Florida Immigrant Coalition and has past affiliations with FRSO.

According to an opinion piece by Kennedy, posted at online media Latino Rebels on Aug. 25:

“Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum is running a bold and progressive campaign for governor that embraces the black and brown voters that statewide campaigns by Democrats in Florida have ignored and taken for granted in the past.

“Medicare for All. Abolishing ICE. Fighting the NRA. Investing $1 billion on [sic] education. Restoring voting rights for those disenfranchised. Ending stand your ground. Cleaning Florida’s waterways. Legalizing marijuana. $15 minimum wage. Those are the popular progressive stances that have allowed Gillum to surge from fourth place to first in a crowded field of five candidates.

“We have a chance to make history in November by electing Florida’s first black governor and radically change politics in the state.”

Even Bernie Sanders himself came to Florida to campaign for Gillum. Most of Gillum’s funding comes through the Forward Florida PAC. Contributors include radical actress Jane Fonda and Democracy Alliance members Lear, Soros, and Phillips.

In May, when Gillum’s campaign was almost beyond saving, another Democracy Alliance member, California billionaire Tom Steyer, threw in $1 million worth of organizational and advertising support. Steyer’s NextGen contributed $500,000 to Gillum’s political committee, Forward Florida, and it committed another $500,000 to pay for digital ads and 50 paid field staffers to organize a team of 620 volunteers. NextGen claimed it had registered 13,000 Florida voters.

As Phillips said, “A Rainbow Revolution is sweeping this country, and not a moment too soon.”

Permanent Socialist Power

The new Rainbow Coalition is well underway. Phillips and the Democracy Alliance’s campaign to elect Abrams, Jealous, Garcia, and Gillum in November is just the tip of the spear. By promoting gubernatorial “candidates of color” in minority-heavy states. Phillips and his allies hope to increase Democratic voter turnout all down the ticket, especially in congressional races.

With relentless and strategically targeted voter registration, financial support from Phillips and his deep-pocketed allies from the Democracy Alliance, and boots-on-the-ground support from Marxist organizations DSA, FRSO, CPUSA, and Our Revolution, the Democratic Party is rapidly becoming a socialist-communist organization.

According to Phillips and his allies, the way to permanent socialist power in America is the mass-mobilization of the progressive white vote coupled with the minority vote behind an increasingly radicalized Democratic Party.

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