Conservative Fundraising: What Me Worry?
In the popular consciousness as successfully twisted by the progressive left, it is axiomatic that the Republican Party is the party of the rich, especially rich, old, white patriarchal Christian men; and that the Democrats are the party that defends and protects the poor, the downtrodden, women, and minorities. From there it follows that in the Darwinian struggle to raise funds for political campaigns and to influence public opinion, it must be a completely unfair fight, with conservatives outraising and outspending progressives from top to bottom. Something must be done to level this grossly imbalanced playing field, lest Republican cannibals eat the poor.
Reality, of course, paints a very different picture.
Adding up the total assets of the 115 left-leaning foundations (as of 2009) yields a figure of $105 billion (with a 'b'), which as it happens is ten times greater than the combined assets of the 75 top conservative foundations.
Not one conservative foundation had assets exceeding one billion dollars in 2009; fourteen progressive foundations did. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation's endowment is a whopping $33 billion, by itself more than 3 times the combined assets of the top 75 conservative foundations. The Koch brothers have nothing on George Soros and his machine.
And here's the maddening kicker: most of these 'progressive' groups were founded by industrialists and capitalists who must be spinning in their graves witnessing the socialist agenda being promoted with their hard-earned money: Ford, Rockefeller, Kellogg, Heinz, Carnegie, Mellon, ChevronTexaco, and many others. Clearly, these pots of gold have been commandeered to serve purposes which are 180 degrees counter to their founder's intentions.
One conservative group, in order to avoid the fate of so many of its predecessors, deliberately closed and went out of business in 2005: the Olin Foundation. Better to die on the battlefield than to risk capture by the enemy.
And don't think that Republicans get a counterweight to all of this from their living fat cat friends on Wall Street; that's another whopper of a myth. The impoverished CEOs and/or seconds in command at JP Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns, Blackrock, Merryll Lynch, and others collectively raised over $100 million to elect Barack Obama in 2008.
In spite of these facts -- or perhaps because of them, since $105 billion can buy an awful lot of PR -- Democrats get away with posing as champions of the underdog, even as underdogs themselves. The personal net worth of the Clintons, John Kerry, John Edwards, Al Gore, and their cohort run into hundreds of millions of dollars. Of the wealthiest twelve senators and congressmen in 2009, nine were Democrats. Yet with a straight face, Al Gore's 2000 election slogan was 'The People vs. the Powerful'. John Edwards spoke of 'two Americas', by which he meant rich and ruthless Republicans on the one hand with their boots on the necks of the poor masses on the other.
This posing is nothing new. It is a successful strategy stretching back from Diane Feinstein to Jimmy Carter and from Franklin Delano Roosevelt to Andrew Jackson; all men and women of aristocratic wealth.
The Democrat party is the home of the rich. 8 of the top 10 per-capita income congressional districts are represented by Democrats. 7 of the top 10 wealthiest counties in the U.S. voted for Obama. 19 of the wealthiest 20 ZIP codes in the country gave more money to Democrats than to Republicans in 2012; 10024 on Manhattan's Upper West Side gave 86% to Democrats.
And if all of that is not enough, liberals, progressives and socialists dominate of our public, taxpayer-funded education systems, from pre-K-12 to the universities. At least 80 percent of the professoriat is left, and teach their captive audience from that perspective.
It becomes clear then that the money machine arrayed against conservatives, Republicans, and constitutionalists amounts to hundreds of billions of dollars, including a substantial quantity of funds extracted from conservatives via taxes, tuition, and union dues. From foundations and think tanks to public employee unions and colleges, progressives expropriate the fruits of capitalism to finance their anti-capitalist agenda. In that context, it's a miracle that conservatives and Republicans are viable at all.
So, what do we do about this? Well, if I suppose if were smart enough to know the answer, I'd be a billionaire. But let me toss out a couple of ideas: we're going to have to get creative, entrepreneurial, and risk-taking. Capitalism and the fortunes it creates along with general prosperity isn't dead yet. We need to identify the current crop of millionaires, billionaires, and ordinary pro-capitalists who want to promote limited government and free markets in their own lifetimes and beyond. We have to found a new generation of pro free-market foundations and think tanks with charters, bylaws and constitutions that guarantee that they will act according to their founder's wishes and not get hijacked by the left; or that each one, after a period, should close before it gets taken over, as the Olin Foundation did. Requiring in the bylaws -- amendable only by supermajority if amendable at all -- that officers and executive directors not be recruited from Harvard and the ranks of existing foundations, and that they have a minimum of ten years private-sector employment, or better yet, business ownership experience, would go a long way toward guaranteeing the orientation of such organizations. We will need to take as much care in crafting the charters of these organizations as the Founders did composing the United States Constitution (read Miracle in Philadelphia by Catherine Drinker Bowen).
And where do we find such people? We find them... in America: in the Midwest, the South, the rural states, Texas, and yes, Silicon Valley, Hollywood, Seattle, Berkeley, Harvard, and Manhattan 10024.
The opportunities are here, and now. God knows the urgency is. 2016 is yesterday.
For an in-depth exposition of this topic, read the book The New Leviathan: How the Left-Wing Money Machine Shapes American Politics and Threatens America's Future, by David Horrowitz and Jacob Laksin. A comprehensive database of the left-wing financial universe may be browsed at DiscoverTheNetworks.org.
Howard Hyde is the editor of www.CitizenEcon.com, author of' Pull the Plug on Obamacare and President of the Southern California Republican Women and Men, an independent club established 1935.