Democrats & Liberals Archives

Pure Self-Interest... Shucks, It Makes Me Feel Good

Forget the polls. If you really want to know who’s going to win the next Presidential election, just follow the business dollars.

Back in 1992, when it was becoming clear that Bill Clinton was about to become President, and our bicameral legislature was controlled by Democrats, the business lobby was tripping over itself to throw money at them.

Admittedly, the percentages of the top 68 corporate donors were fairly even – 51% to Democrats, 49% to the GOP – but let’s face it, given the overwhelming majority of dollars that come with union support, the Democrats will never entirely break into big business.

But look at what happened next. That’s what is so telling.

In 1996, the year after the Republicans captured both the Senate and the House, the Democrats’ share of business dollars plummeted to from 51% to 35%. That’s an incredible turnaround over four years. In fact, over $65 million went to the Republicans that year, compared to $35 million to the Dems.

And the trend continued as the Republican years wore (tediously) on. They lost a couple of percentage points when it seemed that Al Gore might get in, but on the whole the large majority of dollars stayed in Republican hands. It’s clear that business was backing the winning elephant.

But suddenly there’s a wholesale change in the prevailing wind (and I’m not just talking the hot air that comes out of John McCain’s mouth) as we approach the 2008 election.

Business is giving more money to the Democrats, for the first time in 15 years.

Look at health: in 2006 it was strongly for the Republicans (62% - 37%) but now that advantage has gone, and the Democrats lead by 54% to 47%. Even oil and gas has gone from 82% to 72% in favor of the Republicans, and if that isn’t a sign of things to come, I don’t know what is.

In fact, so far they have a 56% - 44% lead in fundraising in the corporate world. Add that to their strong union support and you have a massive discrepancy in cash-on-hand between the parties.

Ideological causes and union support don’t waver much. They’re solidly blue. But business donations tell a clear story: a strong majority of industries now believe that the Democrats will win the White House as well as retain both the Senate and House.

Like I say, pure self-interest… but for once, I really don’t care. Go corporate America!

Posted by Jon Rice at October 30, 2007 2:40 PM
Comment #237232

So, can the Repubs now start attacking the Dems for accepting all of that corporate money? Make ads depicting the Dems as corporate shills?

What 10 years can do, the Republicans are the spend party, the Dems are the party of big business… lol

But, a serious question… If the Dems do win, will they go after big business now like they say they want to? Environmentally? Labor laws, etc? I’ve got a feeling that their ‘attacks’ on those institutions will quiet down after winning and little, to nothing, will change.

So, if you’re really for an anti-corporation, pro-environment government, I’d suggest not voting for either the Dems or Repubs.

Posted by: Rhinehold at October 30, 2007 3:01 PM
Comment #237233

John,You really should care. Above is a recent speech by Edwards on the subject. How can a Dem administration,beholding to corporate interest, deal with our major problems like healthcare when those problems have been largely created by corporate misbehavior. Edwards refuses to take their money.We have a choice.

Posted by: Bills at October 30, 2007 3:12 PM
Comment #237235


Speaking of big Corporations, Exxon-Mobile has made

59 Billion Dollars Profit in the past year an a half

an is going to the Supreme Court, in an attempt to

reverse the fine from the Alaskan oil spill. The

Court agreeing to hear this case, in an of it self is

not a good sign, Money talks an B_S Walks!

Posted by: -DAVID- at October 30, 2007 4:51 PM
Comment #237246


I heard this on NPR yesterday. If I am correct I believe they stated that what Exxon is supposed to be paying now is only half of what was originally awarded. They apparently feel they are still being screwed. I find it amazing that a company which has prospered so under republican control can so easily and arrogantly stick it in our asses. It will be interesting to see how this supreme court treats the matter.

Posted by: RickIL at October 30, 2007 6:16 PM
Comment #237249


It’s good to know that Exxon made no money during Democratic administrations, helps us all keep perspective and know where the problem lies, right?

Posted by: Rhinehold at October 30, 2007 7:40 PM
Comment #237252

The truth is, there’s not much difference.

Posted by: d.a.n at October 30, 2007 9:05 PM
Comment #237261

BillS, it’s pretty rich to hear John Edwards getting on his high horse about “corporate misbehavior” when it comes to problems with our health care system when he himself siphoned millions upon millions out of the industry as an ambulance chaser.

If trial lawyers don’t represent a wealthy privileged class looking out for their own bottom lines, I don’t know who does.

When it comes down to it, the overwhelming majority of those who “own” the health care corporations (like the oil corporations, for that matter) are not single fat cats but those of us with investments—including pension and retirement plans, and anybody with a savings account.

Edwards did not gather up his millions primarily from the pockets of fat cat CEOs. He got it from the insurance premiums passed on to you and me, and from the retirement plans of schoolteachers, firefighters, policemen, and so on.

Posted by: Liam at October 30, 2007 10:38 PM
Comment #237267

Twaddle. He made it sticking up for the little guy.His biggest win was for a little girl that had her guts sucked out in a faulty pool drain. The company involved had saved a thirty cent screw that would have prevented the accident. As far as passing on the expense,companies do not base their prices on the cost of doing business. Their prices are what the market will bear,not a penny less and not a penny more.Corporations must be held accountable.In this country we do that by a mixture of regulation and litagation. The regulatory controls have been weakened unfortunately so the litagation has gained more prominence. One way or the other justice will be done.

Posted by: BillS at October 31, 2007 12:08 AM
Comment #237276

Bill, who wouldn’t go to bat for “the little guy” when there’s 8+ million dollars to be deposited in your account for doing so, as happened in that pool drain case? Sorry if I don’t see that as Mother Theresa territory.

Did you know that John Edwards, unlike most lawyers—even the reviled Scooter Libby—NEVER in his career took on even a SINGLE pro bono case to help anybody who couldn’t afford legal fees?

Sticking up for the little guy? Give me a break. John Edwards has succeeded at exactly on thing in his entire life—and that’s looking out for John Edwards.

Posted by: Liam at October 31, 2007 1:01 AM
Comment #237285


—At what price a child—

Posted by: -DAVID- at October 31, 2007 4:53 AM
Comment #237289

Ooooh! I get it! John Edwards should have taken his cases on a pro bono basis! He also wastes a lot of time shaving and brushing his teeth. He should have lived under a bridge and begged for the cash needed for paper and pens to enable him to prepare his cases. Nah! Not good enough! He should have moved to the poorest place in India and mailed in his briefs for someone else to argue in court. To be acceptable he has to be another Mother Theresa, right?

D. Duh

Posted by: Daniel - Scheinhaus at October 31, 2007 7:01 AM
Comment #237304



It’s good to know that Exxon made no money during Democratic administrations, helps us all keep perspective and know where the problem lies, right?

I said nothing about exxon and their profits under democrat administrations. I am not so foolish as to believe that they had none. However our fuel prices have increased dramatically under this administration while quarter after quarter they are enjoying new record profits. I probably really do not need to mention the fact that they are vying for a chunk of the rights to the oil reserves in Iraq. And many would claim that securing oil rights for these conglomerates is our main reason for being there. Tell me Rhinehold is it so silly to think that a couple of old energy traders who are currently running the administration might have any bearing on this phenomenon. A phenomenon that has so far cost our country thousands of lives and soon to be 3/4 of a trillion dollars.

I will not and do not make any claims that dems are any better than repubs when it comes to accepting dirty money. Corruption and poor ethics laws are in my estimation the number one prohibitive factor preventing productive, honest and effective governance. But we have to face the fact that the last congress and this administration have been caught with their hands in the till on many occasions. They are the party currently holding the lead in the governmental sleaze factor. And what makes all this so bad is that there is no clear sign of a time when government will once again return to a functional entity with the interests of the people as its main function.

Posted by: RickIL at October 31, 2007 10:11 AM
Comment #237315

The Exxon-Mobil case will show how important it was for the corporations to get Roberts and Alito on the court.

Posted by: jlw at October 31, 2007 12:10 PM
Comment #237328


Exactly! I think it is still difficult for some to admit that the supreme court has been padded to represent republican interests. I do hope though that they prove me wrong. I would rather lose face than have to face the reality of a justice system loyal to a particular political party.

Posted by: RickIL at October 31, 2007 3:57 PM
Comment #237350

For heavens sake,where have you been? In 2000 the SCOTUS intervened ,without precedant ,in a states rights case to appoint GWB president on a 5/4 decision on party lines.Since then it has become more political.

Posted by: BillS at November 1, 2007 12:54 AM
Comment #237360


Sorry for the poor use of words. I should have said a justice system that continues its loyalty to a particular party. I am well aware of the biases since 2000. It is my hope that in light of all the press and associated republican ethics problems that this trend will not continue. I would prefer to be able to consider it another failure in the republican bid for ultimate power.

Posted by: RickIL at November 1, 2007 8:24 AM
Comment #237898

Well I guess the purpose of the GOP is to hand the country over to big business and the mega-rich on a silver platter. They’re quite open about it, albeit with euphemisms and privatization rhetoric.

Unfortunately the purpose of a Democrat is to give lip service to the little guy while still keeping the fat cats happy. Everyone is now fed up with the GOP so much that even its most talented spin artists can’t change it and, and it’s pretty clear Americans are demanding action on global warming, healthcare, and getting out of Iraq.

Since the political winds are changing the focus will be on having Democratic politicians pretend to solve these problems but really work for the same people. I wouldn’t be surprised if Hillary for example is elected and under the guise of universal healthcare creates a scheme to turn over all our health decisions to the insurance companies. With the possible exception of a few marginalized candidates like Kucinich and Gravel, the Democratic candidates’ campaigns are like those oil industry commercials where they say how much they care and are working to bring us new sources of energy. In the end it’s still the “golden rule”…he who has the gold makes the rules. They pretend to care but when it comes to making real effort nothing changes.

Posted by: mark at November 8, 2007 11:42 PM
Post a comment