Party of the rich

In a column a few days ago in the Washington Examiner, Timothy Carney points out that while the Democrats as “party of the little guy” myth has dragged its self a few more years along, and the idea of the GOP as the party of the rich persists, neither is really true. As it turns out, Democrats are the party of the rich, these days:

  • Wealthy Individuals Voted for Obama: CNN reported about election 2008: “High income voters — those who said they make at least $100,000 a year –went in Obama’s favor, 52 percent to 47 percent.”
  • Wealthy Counties Voted for Obama: American’s richest county, Loudoun County, Va., voted Obama 54-46, thus being more Democratic than the rest of Va. and the nation (which were both 53% Obama). Fairfax, Va., the nation’s second-wealthiest county, voted 60% Obama.
  • Wealthy States Voted for Obama: The three wealthiest states — Maryland, Connecticut, and New Jersey, all voted overwhelmingly for Obama.

Kristin Brown at the Fox News America's Election HQ blog writes that 7 of the top 10 riches Congressmen/Senators are Democrats, and have been for some time now:

  1. Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.): $188.6 million
  2. Rep. Darrel Issa (R-Calif.): $160.1 million
  3. Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.): $152.3 million
  4. Sen. Jay Rockefeller ( D-W.Va.): $83.7 million
  5. Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas): $73.8 million

Of course, Teddy Kennedy died earlier this year, taking one of the Democrats off the list, or it would have been 8 of 10. Democratic Party support from the wealthy has been true for years, Rush Limbaugh pointed out in 2002:

Those giving $200 to $999: GOP $68 million; Democrats $44 million.
Those giving $1,000 to $9,999: GOP $317 million; Democrats $307 million.

The “fabulously wealthy” donors of $10,000+ gave $111 million to the GOP – a whopping $29 million less than the $140 million they lavished on the Democrats!  Among those who gave $100,000+, the Democrats raised $72 million – more than double the $34 million the GOP took.

In 2006, Peter Schweizer wrote about the billionaires who were helping the Democratic Party at National Review Online:

Thus far in 2006, 17 of the top 25 contributors to 527 advocacy groups are funding liberal/Democratic causes, including liberal billionaires George Soros, and Peter Lewis.

In 2004, Democrats made up 15 of the 25 individuals who gave more than $2 million to 527 groups. Of the Senate and House candidates who received “bundled” contributions that year, 9 out of the top 10 in the Senate and 8 out of 10 in the House were Democrats.

In 2002, those who gave a million dollars or more gave $36 million to the Democrats and only $3 million to Republicans, a 12:1 ratio. Those who gave $10,000 or more gave $140 million to the Democrats and just $111 million to Republicans. Of the top 10 individual contributors to candidates that year, only one gave to Republicans.

In 2000, Bush’s “Pioneers” received considerable press for their efforts to raise $100,000 each for the campaign. But the really big donors that year were Democrats. According to the lefty Mother Jones magazine, 18 of the top 25 individual donors to political campaigns were Democrats. In recent years, the Left has been obsessed with the role that the oil and natural-gas industry plays in funding the Republican candidates. Republicans are “in oil companies’ pockets,” says the DNC in one press release. In 2004, according to the CRP, the oil and gas industry pumped $25 million into campaigns, 80 percent of it to the GOP.

But that pales in comparison to industries and interests that fund the Democratic party. That same year lawyers gave $182 million (75 percent to Democrats) and Hollywood donated $32 million (70 percent to Democrats).

As National Journal columnist Jonathan Rauch has pointed out (using data provided by Boston College professor Jennifer Steen), between 1990 and 2000 self-financing candidates who spent more than $4 million of their own money were Democrats by a 2:1 margin. According to Steen, from 2000 to 2004 the Democrats’ margin rose to 3:1.

Finally, in 2009, a USA Today analysis of census data by Dennis Cauchon showed that Democrats represent the wealthiest parts of the country, not Republicans:

Democrats now represent 57% of the 4.8 million households that had incomes of $200,000 or more in 2008. In 2005, Republicans represented 55% of those affluent households.

“Democrats have made enormous gains in affluent, educated suburban districts,” says Warren Glimpse, founder of Proximity, a firm that analyzes demographics. “What's not clear is whether this reflects a profound change or a temporary blip.”

It isn't that rich people don't need representation or that there's anything especially wrong with a party getting a lot of donations from the wealthy. When Republicans tended to get more ‘big corporate’ donations and money from the rich, that wasn't necessarily bad either.

The problem is that the Democrats try to position themselves as the party of the poor and demonize the Republican Party as that of the rich.

The fact is, the Democrats are the buddies of the rich elite and heavily supported by them – and in fact most of their politicians consist of the rich.

Which leads to the biggest problem. Republicans aren't for the poor either.

In truth no political party has ever been for the poor (or against them for that matter), but in the past they've often tried to portray themselves as the party of the little guy.

Republicans – at least the party leadership and network structure – at worst- seem content to be crony “capitalists” who are in bed with big business and try to work tax breaks and deals for them while getting sweet jobs at the companies when they leave office.

If there's any real movement for the “little guy” it is actually more likely to be the Tea Party movement, which isn't even a political party at all. A grass roots movement of annoyed middle class people, the Tea Party is pushing for less government interference, no more taxes, less spending, and better adherence to the US constitution. That means fewer burdens on business so they can start hiring and paying workers again and a healthier economy overall, which results in the poor faring much better and having more opportunities.

Next time some leftist tells you that the Republican party is for the rich, consider this blog post and you may have some facts to help them see how the balance of wealth really lies. And there's some hope that politics are changing so fundamentally that the leadership in both parties are about to see a great change, which can only help in the future.

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