On Tuesday, when Hillary Clinton became the first female nominee of a major party, a handful of drug companies and health insurers made sure to echo the theme, paying to sponsor an “Inspiring Women” panel featuring Democratic congresswomen.
And in the vaulted marble bar of the Ritz-Carlton downtown, wealthy givers congregated in force for cocktails and glad-handing, as protesters thronged just outside to voice their unhappiness with Wall Street, big money in politics and Mrs. Clinton herself.
“This is a good place to be — for a lot of reasons,” said former Gov. Charlie Crist of Florida, a Democrat now running for Congress, as he glided through the room on Tuesday. “We must have set up five fund-raisers today. This is the bank.”
“I think we’re past that,” said Alan Patricof, a longtime donor to Mrs. Clinton, when asked about the need to lie low during the primaries.
The Philadelphia convention offered other symbolic contrasts to the party’s last two gatherings, when President Obama sought, with mixed success, to restrict his party from raising money to pay for the conventions from lobbyists or political action funds. Those shackles were thrown off this year, waving a green flag to Washington’s influence industry. Lobbyists and corporate representatives flooded the city, where much of the Democratic Party’s elite — and potential senior members of a future presidential administration — had gathered.