Univision, Voter Registration and the Clinton Connection

The 2008 election may see a vast number of new Hispanic voters streaming to the polls and voting Democrat, thanks to behind the scenes maneuvers by the Democrats' biggest sugar daddy of all. The outlines of the plan became clear yesterday when putting together stories in 2 of America's leading business publications.

The Wall Street Journal ran a front-page story on May10th regarding Univision's campaign to spur millions of Hispanic residents to become U.S. citizens. Univision is, by far, the largest Spanish-language broadcasting network in America. The Journal article pointed out the momentous electoral consequences of this development: since Hispanics tend to vote Democratic an increasingly large number of them with a right to vote will favor the Democratic party in 2008. This is particularly so since so many Spanish-speaking residents are concentrated in states rich in electoral votes. This unprecedented effort on the part of Univision could very likely swing the Presidential election to the Democratic Party.

What the Journal missed in its otherwise fine coverage is that a major investor in Univision is Haim Saban, a billionaire who is the largest single donor to the Democratic Party.  At one time, Terry McAuliffe, head of the Democratic National Committee said that "Haim Saban saved the Democratic Party."  Among his donations: $7 million for the construction of a new Democratic National Committee headquarters building in Washington, D.C., complete with advanced electronic media capabilities.

More significantly, he is an extremely close friend of the Clintons.  An article in the current edition of Fortune magazine states that Saban is now "turning his energies to Hillary Clinton" and quotes Bill Clinton:
"I think he likes her better than he likes me," jokes Bill Clinton. But as he talks about Saban's support of Senator Clinton, the former President turns serious. "It is something that" - he pauses - "I can hardly talk about it because it really makes me emotional, 'cause he has genuinely come to love and respect her."
Saban admits that Hillary has qualities that "you want in a leader. Nobody touches her. She's really the most qualified candidate." The Fortune magazine article points out that Saban, like all donors, is limited to giving $2,300 to a candidate's primary run and another $2,300 for a presidential run, but also recognizes he can tap his network of friends in the entertainment community and elsewhere to offer support for Hillary Clinton's presidential run.  There is already strife in the entertainment community among those supporting Hillary Clinton and those supporting Barack Obama. However, this fight might as well be over with Hillary declared the winner. Hollywood money may help Barack Obama but it does not have the valuable potential of having friends in high places.

What the Fortune article misses* is the powerful support Saban can offer via his influence at Univision. While other investors may have put up more money than he did (other investors each put up about $1 billion of capital for the deal, Saban invested $300 million of his own money) none of these investment firms have the operational experience, contacts, and track record that Saban has in the entertainment field (he made billions wheeling and dealing in entertainment properties, from the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers to cable channels). Saban is clearly be the man in control of Univision.

Saban is a major donor of the Democratic Party and a devoted supporter of Hillary Clinton for President. Once he assumed control of Univision, the network embarked on an unprecedented effort to register Hispanics as American citizens with a goal of increasing their voting power-which could prove the deciding factor in the 2008 Presidential election. Hispanics are trending Democratic. How will the network cover the 2008 campaigns? Which candidates will the network focus on? Assuming that many of the viewers of the network may only understand Spanish, will their viewing of Univision give them only one source of news and opinion regarding the candidates in 2008? Will the Saban-Clinton team be willing to wield Univision's power to help her in the drive to the Presidency?

Hillary and Bill Clinton have developed a network of wealthy donors with both deep pockets and deep reservoirs of media savvy. Last year, I wrote of the wealthy business backers underwriting the leftist Huffington Post, demonstrating that when it comes to acquiring and using business expertise, the stereotype of the GOP as the party of business os misleading at best.

* An odd coincidence: the Wall Street Journal completely missed the Saban-Hillary connection when it reported on Univision's citizenship drive. Fortune Magazine, in turn, covered the Haim Saban-Clinton connection but completely missed the Univision voting drive campaign and its implications for the Democratic Party, and for Hillary Clinton in particular.

Ed Lasky is news editor of American Thinker.
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