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Monday, March 15, 2004

The Super Rich vs. The Simply Rich vs. The Rest of Us
An interesting trend is developing in the financing of presidential campaigns. The biggest donors, the super rich types who give upwards of a million bucks, seem to be supporting the Democrats and a host of liberal issues. Meanwhile, the simply rich, those who can give upwards of a thousand bucks, overwhelmingly favor the Republicans.

Here's an Associated Press story talking about how the Republicans are trying to catch up to the Democrats in the million-dollar plus category. Evidently, twenty out of the top 24 donors who gave more than a million to national parties in the last election cycle gave to the Democrats. On the other hand, President Bush has clearly show that Republicans have an advantage among the donors who can give $1000 - $2000. Another AP story here says that the Republicans are doing better among national parties at the $25,000 level.

The article speculates as to why this might be the case. Democratic big donors might be more ideological type billionaires like George Soros whereas Republican donors more pragmatic CEOs and other big business types.

If these trends hold up, it would mean that campaign finance systems that have no limits would tend to favor Democrats whereas campaign finance systems that tend to set contribution limits in the $1000-$25,000 range would favor Republicans.

None of this does much to favor the rest of us. To do that, we'd need a campaign finance system where contributions from ordinary citizens drove the process. That would put the parties on even footing, and make the politicians accountable to regular folks.

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