The Real Party of Big Money
There is an unfounded belief among many that Republican politicians represent, and are even bought off by, mega corporations and the rich. A few members of the elite class, it is said, conspire and shape all GOP policy, which is why you hear names like Koch and Murdoch vilified. The same individuals making these claims, most notably Occupy Wall Street protestors, would then likely suggest that Democrats are for the little guy, and thus collect their funds from the working men and women a little at a time. This romanticized view has just one problem: reality is the other way around.
The Center for Responsive Politics provides a valuable public service by tracking and publishing political contributions. Donations over $200 are reported to the FEC, which is where the center gets their source data. While this does not represent all campaign contributions, this information can be used to determine where the big money is being funneled. In particular, the center's Top All-Time Donors list can provide some perspective on who the real power brokers are.
The first thing to note is that, out of the top 20 all-time donors, 15 donate primarily to Democrats, 1 donates primarily to Republicans, and 4 contribute roughly evenly. Here's how the money works out:
Clearly, the Democratic Party is the real party of big money, and voters need to re-evaluate their most basic assumptions. Who are these power players that make up the largest political contributors? The chart below shows the composition of the heaviest hitters for Democrats.
The next time someone claims that Republicans are bought and paid for by Evil, Inc., inform them that labor unions are the biggest string pullers, and that Democrats are their puppets. Is it any wonder that, as the Wall Street Journal reported, former SEIU President Andy Stern was the most frequent visitor to the White House during Barack Obama's first year as President? Being the fifth largest donor of all time comes with certain privileges.
In addition, think about how unions raise their money. In 27 states, if a national union like the SEIU is successful in "closing" a local shop, you must join the union if you want a job there. Once hired, a portion of every check is taken by SEIU, which is where the staggering amount of contributions comes from. In that regard, Democrats could claim to get their contributions from the working man: "Want a job? We'll take that donation first." They then spend that money to swamp voting initiatives like Issue 2 in Ohio, or donate to their favorite liberal politicians.
Does Big Union get anything for their investment in those politicians? Remember that Obama was quick to favor bailing out the auto industry; those UAW workers represent a major component of the Democrat fundraising machine. Don't forget the teachers and other government employees who kept their jobs due to stimulus money; their unions are number six and three on the top donors list, respectively. Democrats have devised a way to send federal tax dollars directly to jobs with an automatic DNC contribution in every paycheck.
In summary, if you want to support the "little guy," stop voting for the well-oiled machine funded with their confiscated wages. As an afterthought, if you're just not particularly fond of ambulance chasers or Goldman Sachs, you too may want to look elsewhere.