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Haim Saban Ponders Future of Democratic Party

Variety logo Variety 3/22/2017 Malina Saval

Like so many other Democrats (and some Republicans) struggling with Donald Trump’s presidency, Haim Saban, one of Hillary Clinton’s staunchest supporters — he and wife Cheryl donated $11.5 million to pro-Clinton super PACs, along with other large sums to the Clinton Foundation — is looking ahead to what comes next in terms of the future of the Democratic Party.

“As far as what we Democrats should do now that we have lost basically everything — including state senates and governorships and so on — we’re in the study period right now,” he says.

“We are looking, we are analyzing the various options, on a state-by-state basis, we are determining how many seats are coming up in the Senate, how many seats are coming up in Congress, and what are the chances of getting any of those back. As of now, I have not quite decided the direction that we’re going to go.”

Saban, who’s famously pronounced that he’s “a one-issue person, and that issue is Israel,” has advised the Clintons on the United States’ relationship with that country.

“I make sure to share with Democratic elected officials why that relationship is a two-way relationship and not a one-way relationship,” he says. “I will acknowledge that Israel would not exist were it not for the United States. For Israel, that relationship is vital. It’s important for the U.S., but it is vital for Israel.”

But Clinton’s support for Israel is just one of her many attributes that has made Saban a longtime champion and financial backer in both her 2008 and 2016 campaigns.

“I know her very well and she’s very super qualified at all levels, in her political experience and her temperament,” says Saban. “I mean, we saw her sit during an inquisition by the Republicans in Congress for 11 hours.

“I’ll tell you what James Carville said: ‘If Hillary gave one of her balls to Obama, they would both have two balls.’ I’m not suggesting that Obama didn’t have two balls, I’m just quoting Carville in order to exemplify how sensitive and tough at the same time she is. She’s a really special person. I had no question that I was going to go all out for her. And I did.”

Regarding Trump, Saban says only this: “It’s tough, and Cheryl and I are obviously disappointed that Hillary didn’t win, but Trump is our president and we respect the office.”

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