STUDY: Democrats Are The Real ‘Party of the Rich’

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(Capital Research Center) Which of America’s two political parties is the party of the rich? Many people would say it’s the Republicans. The caricature, common in the 1930s, is that the GOP is the party of the plutocrat in the Monopoly game, complete with top hat and tails. A Pew Research poll found 62 percent of Americans believe the Republicans favor the rich.1 But the data tell a different story.

First, the story is mixed where votes are concerned. Exit polls in recent presidential and congressional elections have shown that both parties receive substantial support from voters who make over $100,000 annually. And the stereotype falls apart when political contributions are examined: Democrats seem to come out ahead of Republicans in raising money from the richest precincts of the nation.

To shed more light on this question, the Capital Research Center (CRC) has conducted a new analysis of political contributions from the most affluent parts of the country during the 2013–14 campaign cycle (the most recent cycle with complete data).

What This Study Measures

The data on political giving are so vast and can be dissected in so many ways that no one study can ever be exhaustive. This particular study emphasizes, not who or what are the most powerful political donors in our system (think of the eternal arguments about the relative powers and influence of unions, corporations, and PACs) but rather, which party’s candidates receive the most contributions from America’s wealthy elites who live in the poshest locales.

In this study of rich donors, CRC has focused on donations by individuals (not by groups) that are given to individual candidates of the two major political parties, not to party committees or to other political actors like super PACs or unions. It’s reasonable to focus on the individuals who donate and receive these funds, given how many politicians and pundits imply that wealthy Americans regularly “buy” elections for the political party that’s supposedly biased toward the rich. But even if the parameters of this study were far broader, there’s little reason to believe the outcomes would significantly change. For example, federal spending by Super PACs in this same cycle skewed $196.8 million “for Democrats/against Republicans,” versus $139.9 million “for Republicans/against Democrats,” according to the Center for Responsive Politics.2

In this analysis, CRC relied on data that combined giving to candidates running in local, state, and federal elections; the data were originally compiled by the National Institute of Money in State Politics, a center-left group that operates the website FollowTheMoney.org.

Political Giving by “the 1 Percent”

As journalists and scholars have shown in recent years, affluent Americans are concentrated in certain neighborhoods to a considerable extent—indeed, to a greater extent than in the past. Bill Bishop in his 2008 book The Big Sort illustrated how people with similar levels of education, income and wealth, and cultural attitudes have increasingly clustered in places filled with others of similar characteristics. The social scientist Charles Murray in his 2012 book Coming Apart showed how those at the very top of these scales are clustered in zip codes that he christened, “SuperZips.”

CRC’s study asks to which party do such people—who are much more likely than the ordinary voter to be able to afford sizeable discretionary spending—contribute their money?

The overall answer is that more money from the top 300 SuperZips in 2013–14 went to Democrats than Republicans, by a significant but not overwhelming margin, if you set aside those contributions over $1 million made by wealthy individuals to their own campaigns. (The largest self-funder in the cycle was Republican Bruce Rauner, who was elected governor of Illinois, but six of the ten largest self-funders in the cycle were Democrats. Seven of the ten failed to win election.)

This Democratic funding advantage is different from the picture of all contributions across the country made by persons from all levels of income. Nationally, a total of $2,137 million was contributed to candidates in the 2013-14 cycle (smaller digits are omitted as trivial and distracting, and the numbers rounded off). Of that, $1,139 million was contributed to Republicans, $880 million to Democrats, and the remainder to others. In other words, Republicans received 53 percent of contributions; Democrats, 41 percent. If we count only contributions to the two major parties, Republicans had a 56 percent to 44 percent lead. That’s a financial advantage for Republicans—indeed a slightly larger advantage than either party enjoyed in actual votes in the presidential and congressional elections of the last 30 years—but it’s not an overwhelming advantage. Both parties had substantial resources to pay for their candidates’ campaigns, and of course money given directly to candidates isn’t the only money that’s helping candidates win.

But when we shift our focus to the 300 zip codes across America that rank as the highest 1.4 percent of socio-economic status, using the formula for SuperZips created by Charles Murray,3 the picture is different. Among all contributions, Republicans still had an advantage by $192 million to $175 million. But when we set aside self-funders’ million-dollar-plus contributions to their own campaigns (which by law are unlimited), the Democrats are ahead by $160 million to $129 million. In percentage terms, Democrats come out ahead in the SuperZip money race by 55 percent to 45 percent.

Democrats have an even greater advantage when one focuses on the contributions—again, aside from those of million-dollar-plus self-funders—made by the lucky persons who live in neighborhoods and towns that have long been notably elite. These are the 14 locales Charles Murray identified as famously elite since at least 1960, including Chicago’s North Shore, Boston’s Brookline, the Philadelphia Main Line, Manhattan’s Upper East Side, and the like.4 From these elegant precincts, Democrats raised twice as much money as Republicans—$82 million to $41 million.

The Democrats’ fundraising advantage in affluent communities is not uniform across the country. There are metropolitan areas—Chicago, Dallas, Houston, and Atlanta, for example—where Republicans raise more than Democrats from the most affluent zip codes. In contrast, Democrats have an enormous advantage in what Charles Murray calls the Big Four metro areas—New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.

The Big Four contain almost one-sixth of the nation’s population and a larger proportion of its SuperZips, many clustered together, as Murray notes, so that residents can drive—or be driven—miles without leaving one. Murray observes that “it is difficult to hold a nationally influential job in politics, public policy, finance, business, academia, information technology, or the media and not live in the areas surrounding” those four metropolises.

The Power of the Big Four

Rich oil and gas businessmen in places like, say, Dallas, may have a major influence on who’s the next president of ExxonMobil. But the rich folks in the Big Four make decisions that affect every American. The wealthy in San Francisco decide which conservatives to permaban from Twitter; in Los Angeles, what shows will appear on TV next season; in New York, what will lead in the evening news broadcasts; in D.C., what loopholes will be written into the next tax law and whether the Keystone pipeline will be built.

When examining the Big Four metropolitan-area zip codes, CRC broadens its analysis from the top 1.4 percent to the top 5 percent in socio-economic status. Among this elite, we find the Democrats raising $179 million and the Republicans $93 million. The numbers are even more skewed if we narrow that universe down to the core county or city in each metro area, and omit million-dollar-plus self-funders; that leaves Democrats garnering $96 million, compared to a mere $30 million for Republicans. In percentage terms, Democrats are receiving 66 percent (in the broader metro areas) and 76 percent (in the core areas) of the money contributed to partisan campaigns in these locales—an overwhelming advantage.

Out-of-State Giving

Some observers may argue that partisan contributions are not a fair measure of the party preferences of persons living in elite neighborhoods, because many affluent contributors may simply be donating for pragmatic reasons to state and local officials of the dominant party, which in many metro areas, and the Big Four in particular, is overwhelmingly likely to be Democratic. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, for example, has said he made many of his local donations just to help his business, not because he agreed with the pols who received the money.

Luckily, the dataset CRC is using allows us to eliminate this phenomenon by looking only at contributions given to out-of-state candidates, a category which also simplifies the analysis by excluding self-funding candidates’ contributions to their own campaigns. Here are the total out-of-state contributions in the categories we have already examined. These numbers reinforce the fact that America’s elite across the nation have powerful sympathies toward the Democratic Party. And the more elite their neighborhood is in America’s most powerful cities, the more strongly they lean Democrat.

Top 300 zip codes nationwide (representing the top 1.4 percent of socio-economic status):
Democrats $71 million
Republicans $47 million
(60 percent Democratic)

Big Four metropolitan areas’ zip codes in top 5 percent by socio-economic status:
Democrats $77 million
Republicans $42 million
(65 percent Democratic)

Big Four central-city zip codes in top 5 percent of socio-economic status:
Democrats $48 million
Republicans $21 million
(70 percent Democratic)

Conclusion

These data are powerful evidence that affluent Americans in the most elite locales contribute significantly more money to Democrats than Republicans. The data also show that Democrats raise a notable chunk of their campaign money in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. Democratic candidates and party officials attending affluent contributors’ fundraisers evidently have to spend a lot of time in airliners or private jets flying coast to coast across the country, while Republican candidates and party officials have to make significantly more fundraising stops, staggered across the giant landmass of America between the two coasts.

Half a century ago, many liberal commentators argued that Democrats, as the party whose policies allegedly represented the interests of lower-income Americans, had an unfair disadvantage in raising money for campaigns, because they couldn’t compete with Republicans for access to the checkbooks of the wealthy. The data presented here make clear that that argument, regardless of whether it was valid then, has no validity today.

These figures also show that both parties are capable of raising substantial and roughly similar sums of money. The Democrats’ advantage in the 2013–14 cycle may owe something to the fact that their party held the White House and a Senate majority in those years, and that the potential support the Republicans could enjoy from their majority in the House of Representatives was diminished by that chamber’s fractiousness. But if the goal is to ensure that each major party has the capacity to raise enough money to be seriously competitive with the other, it seems no change in current laws or arrangements is required.

Though perhaps a change in rhetoric is needed: the retirement of the meme that the Republicans are the party of the rich. If either party is the party of the rich, it is the Democrats.

Original Source

  • The Capatin

    I have known this for decades.

    • Jerry Kimbro

      Me, too. The unions, Hollyweird, and minorities have always been brainwashed that the Republicans were the party of the rich.

  • Marie Saqueton

    I hope this findings will educate the idiots out there, who always think the rich donors are for the Republicans when in fact it shows that the Democrats are their puppets to implement their agendas.

    • Mathew Molk

      Never hoppen GI.

      The sheeple will never believe anything they are not spoon fed from their commissar.

    • cutterguy

      the idiots will never see this or will not read it

    • Don Maynard

      Proof that libs are the most hypocritical cretins on this earth. They despise the 1%, yet they welcome their financial support, as a means to an end for their anti-American agendas: Bloomberg with his anti-2A stance and Soros inciting race wars, are but two of many diabolical schemes infesting this country.

  • Kissingfan

    This is only a surprise to the few who haven’t been following the reports of campaign funding. The Dumbocraps have sent an average of two to three emails per weeks asking for money to everyone on their mailing list. Anyone who ever sent an email letter to their congressman or Senator is on the DNC mailing list. The same is true for the Republicans too. I believe that the Dumbocraps also sold their email list to a LGBTQ group called Credo Action. I have received way too many emails from this group asking for money and also asking for signatures for frivolous petitions that they want to send to Washington.

  • PRINCE4EVER O(->

    I dunno, Hillary said that she and Bill were flat broke.

    • Mathew Molk

      Who’s Hillery?

  • Aline

    How much money did it cost tax payers to do research on this ‘ finding ‘? All you have to do is watch, listen, and do some research on your own.

  • needful

    both parties have their hands in the till,trump proved that in this election!!

    • Hank Seiter

      Uh, Hillary outspent Trump in hopes of buying the election by two to one. She blew through $1.2 Billion, Trump’s campaign spent $560 Million. You better take off your tin-foil hat, quit swilling the Donk Kool-Aid and quit feeding those unicorns in your backyard, dude.
      And we’re talking about the (Donk) Party membership that’s always lying and whining about the “need to get money out of politics.” Frakin’ hypocrites.

  • NCO retired

    Could have fooled me, DJT just nominated his 5th Goldman Sachs chum. Poor Ted Cruz and Hillary Clinton they were “IN THE POCKET ” of Goldman. Joke is on us!!!

  • Robert Wayne

    I’ve known this for decades too. The big money globalists who want to destroy this country by eliminating our borders are all left wing Democrats. I will admit that some of these globalists are neocon RINOs also, but the large majority are left wing extremist Democrats.

  • Rolpho Signetti

    I always wondered why we were the party of the rich. When they own Hoolywood, have all the education jobs(colleges), own the unions, etc. etc. then they call us a bunch of NASCAR, unedukated, Schlitz-drinking wife-beating, morons. I want to know what happened to my millions of “white-privledged” money went! I would settle for a mere $373,067.00 from Obama to make me happy… Oh that’s right he sent my share to the “brotherhood” in Iran in crates of unmarked money. Then they took their cut, and shipped the remanded to Kenya. Sort of like Clinton did a couple months before leaving office with China! To give them all the pass odes to American military secrets. Happy retirement BamaRama, and you Futa-wife!

    • gardeauxandrew

      Imagine obama as a private citizen on vacation at a muslim country exposing Americas security secrets and the bought out biased medias propaganda Lies fooling Americans into thinking it as the best diplomatic trip in America’ s history. Imagine obama living near the mosque in his new neighborhood doing the same thing spilling America’s security secrets. Imagine the cia wanting to cause a useless war for washington and other elites profits while the naïve of both young military and civilians DIE by something happening to him while on vacation at a muslim country! Imagine Americans as easy blind masses to be fooled, imagine lowering standards to compensate incompetence to pacify certain peoples!

  • gardeauxandrew

    Known it for years also! It was recently exposed the fooling of Americans [not all mostly the snowflakes] about the clinton foundation,obama’s lavish expenses vacations, and muslim countries foreign dealings.

  • Rodney Struhs

    Just remember, useful idiots, that CRC is a CONSERVATIVE THINK TANK! As someone has already said, do some research on your own. Like, start with a simple Google search on Capital Research Center! Be better informed! Trump has proven that both parties are in this brainwashing so be careful out there peeps!