What this election is all about: The 0.001% v. the 0.0001%

An interesting article in Rolling Stone profiles the 16 big donors to the Mitt Romney campaign. No surprise, they are all extremely wealthy.

This unprecedented infusion of money from America’s monied elites underscores the radical transformation of the Republican Party, which has made defending the interests of 0.0001 percent the basis of its entire platform.

Most of the megadonors backing his candidacy are elderly billionaires: Their median age is 66, and their median wealth is $1 billion. Each is looking for a payoff that will benefit his business interests, and they will all profit from Romney’s pledge to eliminate inheritance taxes, extend the Bush tax cuts for the super-wealthy – and then slash the top tax rate by another 20 percent.

The wealth gap in this country is so obviously obscene, and the devotion by the Republican party to advancing the interests of the super-wealthy so nakedly transparent, that it would surely dictate the obvious strategy to the opposing party in any genuine two-party system, and that is flat out class warfare. It should be clear to the most dense political strategist that whipping up anger against the obscenely wealthy in a time of economic hardship for most people is a winner. The fact that Obama and the Democrats go out of their way to avoid such rhetoric shows, if any more evidence were needed, that there is only one party (with two factions) in this country and that it is dedicated to the wealthy.

For example, it turns out that most employees of Bain Capital (Romney’s former venture capital firm) actually contribute to the Democrats. Other surveys of political contributions simply add weight to that picture as does Vanderbilt University political scientist Larry Bartels’ examination of the political contributions of the wealthy to the two parties.

The Occupy movement was mistaken when they protested the outsize influence of the one-percenters. It is actually much a smaller group that controls the US government. The Republicans cater to the top 0.0001%. They are supported in this effort by the clueless Tea Partiers who think that this elite group is good for the country. The Democrats cater to the top 0.001%. The remaining 99.999% are merely election fodder.

This is why supporters of the Democratic party who tear their hair out wondering why their party doesn’t campaign more aggressively on issues of economic inequality are completely missing the boat. It is true that it would be easy for the Democrats to run and win on the issue of injustice and inequality. The problem for Obama and the Democratic leadership is how to campaign against the top 0.0001% without alienating the rest of the top 0.001%, which is why they tread so gingerly, trying to find very narrow issues of disagreement that will not be alienating to their own wealthy supporters.

Once you understand that, the nature of political discourse in the US becomes understandable.


  1. unbound says

    Yes. Thank you for succinctly pointing out the reality of US political system.

  2. slc1 says

    Although it is easy to blame the two parties for this problem, the real culprits are the right wing justices on the Supreme Court who have overturned every piece of legislation designed to limit campaign contributions and the influence of money in elections. And guess who appointed those right wing justices. Bush II, Bush I, and Reagan.

    What this election is really about is Supreme Court appointments. Let’s look at the record. On the current court, we have Alito, Roberts, Thomas, and Scalia, all appointed by Rethuglican presidents. We also have Breyer, Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Kagan appointed by Democratic presidents. Considering that it is doubtful that Ginsburg will last until 2016, a Romney presidency will result in the appointment of another Scalia/Alito clone to replace her.

  3. ollie says

    I’ll piggyback on slc1’s comment: guess who has unlimited money to put into a political campaign? Alienate big money and you will lose; it is NOT easy to “run on injustice and income inequality.” Basically, the Democrats have to convince enough of the very wealthy and too much economic inequality is harmful to them, at least in the long run.

    There was an excellent article in Vanity Fair about this very issue.

  4. never_to_return says

    Bain et al. knows it already has most Republicans in its back pocket. Now, it is just baiting the hook and seeing which of the more agreeable Democrats will bite.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *