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This is a diary that many of us, alas, will not like to hear, and many will simply not want to believe. Nevertheless, it is the cold hard reality. It demonstrates, through the listing of actual corporate contributions over a period of 20 years, that the Dems are owned by the corporations -- including such biggies as the defense industries, the media, the car manufacturers, and Wall Street -- every bit as much as the Repugs are, and even more at many times.

All of the campaign contribution information comes from http://www.opensecrets.org which is the website of the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonprofit nonpartisan group which tracks campaign contributions through the FEC and breaks them down by party, by year, and by industry. (I highly highly highly encourage everyone to spend a few hours poking around that site--it will show you many many things that you absolutely will not like.)

Recently, the progressive Congressman Anthony Weiner had a long fundraising diary based on his remarks in Congress that the Repug Party is a "wholly-owned subsidiary of the insurance industry". His remarks produced a lot of cheering and blue-pennant-waving at DKos, but, alas, they are only half-correct. When I responded to several commenters that the Democratic Party is also a wholly-owned subsidiary of Corporate America and that indeed the insurance companies, Wall Street, the car manufacturers and the defense industry are all giving more money to Dems than to Repugs, a number of people immediately replied that they were "skeptical" of those "claims", and several accused me of flat-out making it all up for some nefarious reason. This diary is my response. After all, the assertion that "Dems are getting more money from this or that corporate industry than Repugs do" is not a matter of opinion or of speculation or of political agenda or of ideology. Either the figures for Dem contributions are higher than those for Repugs, or they are not.  Period. I therefore present the actual figures.

Many people here, of course, will simply not believe that the corporados are ruthlessly nonpartisan and own Dem asses just as much as they own Repug asses, simply because they don't want to believe it. I know that an awful lot of us would feel lots better inside if we could pretend that the big bad corporations are always behind the evil Repugs, while we poor but brave Dems valiantly fight them alone with our army of small donors.  But alas, reality says otherwise.  And reality always wins. One thing I noticed from 20 years of creationist-fighting, however, is that ideologues of all sorts are only "skeptical" about things they don't want to believe anyway.  Sadly, I've also noticed they tend still not to believe even if you show them the plain proof in black and white.  Ideologues, it seems, whether from the Left or from the Right, are determined to believe what they want to believe, period. So those blue-pennant-wavers who simply don't want to believe that their party is anything less than pure, will simply choose not to believe anything I show here. Alas for them, reality is a stubborn thing, and it doesn't go away just because we don't like it. (shrug)

For the rest of us, I want to show, using actual campaign contribution figures, not only THAT the Dems are also wholly-owned corporate subsidiaries, but, more importantly, when, where and why the corporados own them. I want to explode all the myths that many of us still hold about the relationship of the Dem party and the Corporations. If we progressives want to gain things like health care reform, labor law reform, or campaign finance reform, we must understand why the Dems are so reluctant to actually pass them or to give them any teeth--and much of that, sadly, comes from where the Dems get their money. Deep Throat's advice--"follow the money"--is still the best political advice ever given.

The first misconception that needs to be corrected is that "the Repugs get the most corporate money, and the Dems only get a small piece of the action". This is demonstrably untrue. And that myth tends to ride along with another one, that "the most politically-important industries such as defense contractors, telecoms, car manufacturers, health care, pharmaceuticals and Wall Street, all tend to be solidly Republican". This is demonstrably untrue as well.

First, let's explode the myth that key industries like defense, telecom, media, health care, pharma and Wall Street, are solidly Republican. The best example to begin with is health care, partly because it impacts directly on the current HCR debate, and also partly because so many DKosers want to believe that the Repug opposition to HCR comes from the "fact" that, as Rep Weiner declared, the Repugs are a "wholly-owned subsidiary" of the health care and insurance industry. The actual campaign contribution figures, alas, demonstrate that this is simply not true: it is the Dems, not the Repugs, who are currently owned by the health care and insurance industry.

Let's begin with the biggie, the 2008 Presidential campaign (all figures include PACS, individuals, 527s, and soft money contributions):

Health Services/HMO's:

Contributions to:
Barack Obama   $1,4235,501
John McCain   $427,228

Pharmaceuticals:

Barack Obama  $2,124,560
John McCain  $665,422

Now let's look at the figures for all races, for the years 2009-2010:

Contributions from Health Professionals:
Donations to Dems  $13,827,356
Percentage of total to Dems  55%
Donations to Repugs  $11,116,261
Percentage of total to Repugs 45%

HMO contributions:

Total     $$3,792,002
Percent to Dems   66
Percent to Repugs   33

Now let's look at Insurance:

Donations to Dems   $7,265,653
Percentage of total to Dems   52%
Donations to Repugs   $6,515,832
Percentage of total to Repugs   47%

Then let's look at Pharmaceuticals:

Donations to Dems   $5,064,428
Percentage of total to Dems   57%
Donations to Repugs   $3,746,465
Percentage of total to Repugs   42%

And now figures for just Congressional races, 2009-2010:

Number 2 is Health Professionals:

Total contributions: 15,370,571
Percentage to Dems 62%
Percentage to Repugs  37%

Number 6 is Insurance

Total contributions $9,864,471
Percentage to Dems 57%
Percentage to Repugs 43%

Number 10 is Pharma/Health Products

Total contributions $6,405,127
Percentage to Dems 61%
Percentage to Repugs 39%

The myth is simply wrong--the health care and insurance industry is not a Republican sidekick---the vast majority of its support, by a wide margin, is going to the Democrats. So Rep Weiner was half-right--one party is indeed a subsidiary of the health insurance companies. It happens to be his party, though. The domination of the Dem party by health care companies may, alas, have something to do with the fact that the Dems took a health care proposal that was supported by 70% of the population (public option), introduced it to a government that they control totally, and turned it into a massive mandated giveaway to the health insurance industry.

Now, let's demolish the myth that "all the major industries, such as defense contractors, Wall Street, car manufacturers, and telecoms, are solidly and consistently Republican".  The actual campaign contributions for the 2009-2010 election cycle (as before, these figures include PACS, 527's, individual contributions and soft money contributions) show otherwise:

Defense industries:

Total contributions   $8,777,667
Percentage to Dems   57
Percentage to Repugs   42

Defense Aerospace:

Total contributions   $3,858,141
Percentage to Dems   58
Percentage to Repugs   41

Defense Electronics:

Total contributions   $2,895,255
Percentage to Dems   56
Percentage to Repugs   44

Auto manufacturers:
Total contributions   $302,668
Percentage to Dems   63
Percentage to Repugs   37

Telecoms:
Total contributions   $3,498,621
Percentage to Dems   55
Percentage to Repugs   45

Wall Street:

Securities and Investment companies:
Total contributions   $30,193,682
Percentage to Dems   63
Percentage to Repugs   36

Venture Capital companies:
Total contributions   $3,214,175
Percentage to Dems   73
Percentage to Repugs   23

Mortgage bankers:
Total contributions   $895,870
Percentage to Dems   54
Percentage to Repugs   46

Hedge Funds:
Total contributions   $2,940,746
Percentage to Dems   61
Percentage to Repugs   39

Oil and Gas:
Total contributions   $9,449,321
Percentage to Dems   32
Percentage to Repugs   67

The popular myth, particularly among Dem activists, seems to be that the oil company pattern is typical for nearly all major industries.  As the actual figures show, it is not. The oil industry is, in fact, an interesting anomaly, one of just a tiny handful of industries who consistently give the Repug Party the majority of its support year after year after year--the others being the chemical manufacturing industry (but NOT the pharmaceutical industry), the agribusiness industry (including the tobacco industry), the mining/forestry industry, and the national business organizations. The overwhelming majority of corporations do not follow that pattern.

And that brings up another myth that too many Democratic activists want to believe--the idea that "most of the major corporate industries year after year support the Repugs and oppose the Dems".  It simply is not true. When you examine the actual contributions from previous elections, an interesting pattern emerges; the vast majority of corporate industries give a significant amount of money to both parties in every election, but they vary which party gets more of their support, and hop effortlessly from supporting one party in one election to supporting the other party in another election, and then back again. And that pattern of changing contributor support from one party to the other tracks almost perfectly with a very crucial factor---the party which holds power, whichever one it happens to be, gets more contributions from nearly all the corporate industries (as noted earlier, there are a handful of large donators which do not follow that trend but support the same party consistently year after year--the oil, chemical and agribusiness on the Republican side, the labor unions, the motion picture industry and the newspaper/publishing industry on the Dem side). The corporations, the data shows, are opportunistic and ruthlessly nonpartisan--they simply give cash to both sides, and vary the lion's share from one election to the next according to who is in power (and who therefore is in the best position to give the corporados whatever they want). Campaign contributions for 1994 (when the Dems were in power), 2004 (when the Repugs were in power) and 2010 (when the Dems are again in power) show, across a wide range of industries, a very tight correlation between "party in power" and "party that receives more support"--almost invariably, each party receives more when it is in power, and less when it is not:

Industry: Aerospace Defense
1994 Elections (Dems in power):
Percentage to Dems   59
Percentage to Repugs   41

2004 Elections (Repugs in power):
Percentage to Dems   39
Percentage to Repugs   60

2010 Elections (Dems in power):
Percentage to Dems   59
Percentage to Repugs   41

Industry: Airlines
1994 Elections (Dems in power):
Percentage to Dems   63
Percentage to Repugs   37

2004 Elections (Repugs in power):
Percentage to Dems   38
Percentage to Repugs   61

2010 Elections (Dems in power):
Percentage to Dems   59
Percentage to Repugs   41

Industry: Auto Manufacturers
1994 Elections (Dems in power):
Percentage to Dems   47
Percentage to Repugs   53

2004 Elections (Repugs in power):
Percentage to Dems   35
Percentage to Repugs   65

2010 Elections (Dems in power):
Percentage to Dems   63
Percentage to Repugs   37

Industry: Mortgage Banks
1994 Elections (Dems in power):
Percentage to Dems   64
Percentage to Repugs   36

2004 Elections (Repugs in power):
Percentage to Dems   35
Percentage to Repugs   65

2010 Elections (Dems in power):
Percentage to Dems   54
Percentage to Repugs   46

Industry: Cruise Lines and Cruise Ships
1994 Elections (Dems in power):
Percentage to Dems   64
Percentage to Repugs   36

2004 Elections (Repugs in power):
Percentage to Dems   49
Percentage to Repugs   51

2010 Elections (Dems in power):
Percentage to Dems   85
Percentage to Repugs   15

Industry: Defense Contractors
1994 Elections (Dems in power):
Percentage to Dems   59
Percentage to Repugs   41

2004 Elections (Repugs in power):
Percentage to Dems   38
Percentage to Repugs   62

2010 Elections (Dems in power):
Percentage to Dems   58
Percentage to Repugs   42

Industry: Defense Electronics
1994 Elections (Dems in power):
Percentage to Dems   60
Percentage to Repugs   40

2004 Elections (Repugs in power):
Percentage to Dems   39
Percentage to Repugs   61

2010 Elections (Dems in power):
Percentage to Dems   57
Percentage to Repugs   43

Industry: Drug Manufacturers and Pharmaceuticals
1994 Elections (Dems in power):
Percentage to Dems   40
Percentage to Repugs   60

2004 Elections (Repugs in power):
Percentage to Dems   31
Percentage to Repugs   69

2010 Elections (Dems in power):
Percentage to Dems   54
Percentage to Repugs   46

Industry: HMO's and Health Care Providers
1994 Elections (Dems in power):
Percentage to Dems   63
Percentage to Repugs   37

2004 Elections (Repugs in power):
Percentage to Dems   43
Percentage to Repugs   57

2010 Elections (Dems in power):
Percentage to Dems   67
Percentage to Repugs   32

Industry: Insurance
1994 Elections (Dems in power):
Percentage to Dems  44
Percentage to Repugs  56

2004 Elections (Repugs in power):
Percentage to Dems   32
Percentage to Repugs   67

2010 Elections (Dems in power):
Percentage to Dems   53
Percentage to Repugs   47

Industry: Lobbyists
1994 Elections (Dems in power):
Percentage to Dems   74
Percentage to Repugs   26

2004 Elections (Repugs in power):
Percentage to Dems   48
Percentage to Repugs   52

2010 Elections (Dems in power):
Percentage to Dems   67
Percentage to Repugs   32

Industry: Telecomms
1994 Elections (Dems in power):
Percentage to Dems   55
Percentage to Repugs   45

2004 Elections (Repugs in power):
Percentage to Dems   41
Percentage to Repugs   59

2010 Elections (Dems in power):
Percentage to Dems   55
Percentage to Repugs   45

Industry: Securities and Investment
1994 Elections (Dems in power):
Percentage to Dems   51
Percentage to Repugs   48

2004 Elections (Repugs in power):
Percentage to Dems   48
Percentage to Repugs   51

2010 Elections (Dems in power):
Percentage to Dems   63
Percentage to Repugs   36

Industry: Steel Manufacturers
1994 Elections (Dems in power):
Percentage to Dems   46
Percentage to Repugs   54

2004 Elections (Repugs in power):
Percentage to Dems   27
Percentage to Repugs   72

2010 Elections (Dems in power):
Percentage to Dems   51
Percentage to Repugs   49

Industry:  Oil and Gas
1994 Elections (Dems in power):
Percentage to Dems   38
Percentage to Repugs   62

2004 Elections (Repugs in power):
Percentage to Dems   19
Percentage to Repugs   80

2010 Elections (Dems in power):
Percentage to Dems   32
Percentage to Repugs   67

Industry: Agribusiness
1994 Elections (Dems in power):
Percentage to Dems   40
Percentage to Repugs   60

2004 Elections (Repugs in power):
Percentage to Dems   28
Percentage to Repugs   71

2010 Elections (Dems in power):
Percentage to Dems   47
Percentage to Repugs   53

Industry: Labor Unions
1994 Elections (Dems in power):
Percentage to Dems   96
Percentage to Repugs   4

2004 Elections (Repugs in power):
Percentage to Dems   87
Percentage to Repugs   13

2010 Elections (Dems in power):
Percentage to Dems   92
Percentage to Repugs   7

Industry: Motion Pictures
1994 Elections (Dems in power):
Percentage to Dems   90
Percentage to Repugs   10

2004 Elections (Repugs in power):
Percentage to Dems   86
Percentage to Repugs   14

2010 Elections (Dems in power):
Percentage to Dems   91
Percentage to Repugs   9

The data is clear---corporate industries leap from one party to the other with ease, according to who is in power at the time. The vast majority of corporations are nonpartisan--they simply give the lion's share of their cash to whoever can do them favors, and they don't care which party it happens to be. And even in those industries which consistently support one party or the other (such as oil/gas and labor unions), the percentage of contributions to that party still goes up when it's in power, and goes down when it's not.

Nearly everything that many DKosers would like to believe about corporations and the Dem/Repug parties, is simply not true.  The Repugs are NOT consistently backed by the rich and powerful corporations, the Dems are NOT valiantly fighting back the big corporations with small donors, and the corporations do NOT tailor their contributions to help beat the Democratic Party.

Rather, the reality, as revealed by the contributions themselves, is this: the corporations are utterly amorally ruthlessly nonpartisan. They are just as happy to help the Dems win as they are to help the Repugs win. They flit freely from one party to the other whenever convenient (and both parties sell themselves eagerly when the time comes), motivated not by partisan politics, but by simple self-interest--they want to buy favors from whoever is in power, and they don't give a flying fig which party it happens to be.  So they give their cash to both parties in every election, so they have a friend no matter who wins. They can afford to be nonpartisan because they own both parties and can back either one as convenient for them.

That, my friends, is the reality.

My apologies in advance to all the blue-pennant ideologues here who simply don't want to hear that or to believe it.  Reality sucks.  Get used to it.  (shrug)

EDIT:  Moved here from one of the comments:

response to a criticism

In another thread, someone made what is actually a very perceptive criticism of the figures I cite above -- that they include individual employee contributions, and that while individual contributions get lumped together with the money from their employing corporation, they don't necessarily reflect the interests of the corporation.

But . . .

When you look at solely PAC contributions, which are solicited solely by the corporations from people who agree with their interests, the same pattern remains.  An example is the health care industry:

PAC Contributions to Federal Candidates
Election cycle:  

Health Professionals: $10,619,892
65% to Dems / 35% to Repubs

Health Services/HMOs: $1,873,572
65% to Dems / 34% to Repubs

Hospitals/Nursing Homes: $3,039,694
70% to Dems / 30% to Repubs

Misc Health: $29,700
32% to Dems / 68% to Repubs

Pharmaceuticals/Health Products: $5,777,681
60% to Dems / 40% to Repubs

Total Amount: $21,340,539
Total to Democrats: $13,732,290 (64%)
Total to Republicans: $7,583,749 (36%)
Number of PACs making contributions: 104

Compare with 2004 when the Repugs were in power:
Health
PAC Contributions to Federal Candidates
Election cycle:  

Total Amount: $31,629,423
Total to Democrats: $10,821,842 (34%)
Total to Republicans: $20,783,931 (66%)
Number of PACs making contributions: 106

In non-individual PAC donations, the health industry still follows the same pattern that every other industry does when we include the individual contributions -- the corporados give money to both sides, and the lion's share still goes to whoever holds power at the time.

My hypothesis as to why individual contributions don't vary much from corporate contributions is that most employees simply don't care about politics and don't pay much attention to it, and merely give money when their employers says it's in the company interest to do so.

Originally posted to Lenny Flank on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 12:25 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

    •  It's the reality, but it didn't just happen. (4+ / 0-)

      The oldest saying among veteran politicos: "Your best friends in government are the ones you paid for".

      The biggest difference between the parties is that you can usually scrape together enough Dems with a social conscious and/or guilt to actually do something for us commoners. But they all face the other reality of paying for their election/re-election campaigns.

      Yeah, it sucks. But it is. And it's going to get worse in very many cases, thanks to our Bush certified "non-activist" SCOTUS majority.

      IGTNT...Honor the Fallen...Grace Their Loved Ones.

      by geez53 on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 12:49:21 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  that difference is pretty recent, actually (6+ / 0-)

        As recently as the 60's, for instance, it was the Democratic Party that was the main bulwark of opposition to civil rights legislation--and after it passed anyway, all the Dixiecrats left and joined the Repugs.

        In fact, the Dem party itself didn't become the "progressive" party until the Populist Movement of the 1910's---up until then, it was the Republicans who, from the Civil War on, backed all the progressive actions, and the Dems who opposed them. It wasn't until Teddy Roosevelt left the Republicans and split them by forming the progressive Bull Moose party that the Dems jumped on the progressive agenda and won election by it, replacing (everywhere but in the South) their standard racist pro-business conservatives with progressives like Woodrow Wilson and William Jennings Bryan.

        The corporados have never of course owned all the Dems; neither have they owned all the Repugs (the current unanimity in the Repug bloc is due to party politics and the fact that the party has been taken over by the nutters, not because of corporate action). But then, the corporados don't NEED to own everybody--they only need to own enough key people (congressional committee leadership, mostly) to tip the balance in their favor.  Owning everybody, would just be an unnecessary waste of money.

        And I note in passing that the Dems have not passed any major piece of progressive legislation since the 1960's and early 70's (when corporate power was at its lowest ebb since the Great Depression). They HAVE, of course, passed some very generous giveaways and bailouts for the corporados, both under Clinton and under Obama. So offhand, I'd say the corporados have been getting a very good return on their investment.

        Editor, Red and Black Publishers, http://RedandBlackPublishers.Com

        by Lenny Flank on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 01:09:41 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  This partly explains the (3+ / 0-)

    fluorescence of "social moderates/economic conservatives" in the Democratic Party since the 80's and particularly since Bush-Cheney ran the corporatist agenda onto the rocks and the economic conservatives needed to diversify their portfolios and find someone to manage the neoliberal project better. You could see it happening here at DK over the last several years. I simply don't believe many of the pieties expressed by "pragmatists" here about not wanting the perfect to be the enemy of the good blah blah. It strikes me that real progressivism grew out of massive material conditions that are long gone, and new drivers for a progressive policy will have to be created almost from scratch. It has been clear to me for a long time now that all of us here do not "want the same thing" - far from it.

    Then let us learn our range: we are something but we are not everything - Pascal

    by jlb1972 on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 01:31:48 PM PST

  •  Brutally honest diary, Lenny. Thanks, I think. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cotterperson, jlb1972

    "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans." John Lennon

    by trashablanca on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 02:01:35 PM PST

    •  as Sun Tzu said: (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cotterperson, trashablanca, jlb1972

      Know your enemy and know yourself, and in one thousand battles you will be victorious.

      The progressive movement does itself nothing but harm when it refuses to acknowledge that the Dems are just as much a part of the problem as the Repugs.

      It's time we faced the reality.

      Editor, Red and Black Publishers, http://RedandBlackPublishers.Com

      by Lenny Flank on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 05:03:55 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The Dems as well as the Reps... (0+ / 0-)

    ...are all a bunch of whores.

    The entire focus of their existence, once they get to Washington, is to get themselves re-elected.

    They'll whore themselves to the highest bidder in a heartbeat.

    Every single one of them needs to be thrown out of office, then we establish some effective term limits, and we start all over from scratch.

    The entire congress of the United States of America represents no one but itself.

    - bp

    p.s. I don't care if you can name one or two "good ones".

    1. it does nothing to change the reality of the situation, and
    1. just wait a few years until they've gotten to like the life style. They'll whore themselves, too. It's the way that town works.

    "If it's made of plants, eat it. If it's made in a plant, don't."

    by b00g13p0p on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 02:38:46 PM PST

    •  you have alas taken away exactly the wrong lesson (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      HeyMikey, jlb1972

      The problem is NOT that everybody is a whore. The corporados after all don't own everybody in Congress--they don't need to. They only need to own enough "movers and shakers" to tilt the balance in their favor.

      We can kick out the entire US Congress tomorrow and fill it with SPCA members and Mother Theresa clones tomorrow, and it won't change a thing. The problem is NOT that congress is corrupt, or that congress sells itself out, or that we elect greedy bastards.  The problem is SYSTEMIC--the entire system functions so that NO MATTER WHO WE ELECT, it operates in exactly the same way. Congress has no choice.  It takes money to get elected. Lots of money. Lots and lots and lots of money. And any candidate, from any party, with any stand on issues, must have money to run.  Period.

      And there is only one place to get the money to run . . . whether you are a Dem or a Repug, a conservative or a commie, black, white, male female, gay, straight, sinner, saint, thief, philanthropist--makes no difference. You have to pay to play just like everyone else.

      Editor, Red and Black Publishers, http://RedandBlackPublishers.Com

      by Lenny Flank on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 03:03:52 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  When I said "everyone" I meant... (0+ / 0-)

        ...any of those who make any difference.

        Out of 50 Senators, how many do you (or the nation at large) ever hear from or about?

        Out of 435 members of the House of Representatives, how many do you (or the nation at large) ever hear from or about?

        The individuals who control legislation in this nation (particularly the Senate) are whores to the commercial interests that control this nation.

        The problem is NOT that congress is corrupt, or that congress sells itself out, or that we elect greedy bastards.  The problem is SYSTEMIC--the entire system functions so that NO MATTER WHO WE ELECT, it operates in exactly the same way.

        You have simultaneously created a non sequitur and a oxymoron: the individuals who occupy the Senate and the House are by definition the "SYSTEMIC" -- who else is there?

        The people are the system.

        The Senate and the House are controlled by individuals who consistently sell themselves to the highest bidder.

        I say throw 'em all out, enact term limits, and let's add some campaign finance laws with balls.

        I'd take that any day.

        What real-world proposal do you have, other than to blame it all on the system, and offer nothing beyond that?

        - bp

        "If it's made of plants, eat it. If it's made in a plant, don't."

        by b00g13p0p on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 04:32:11 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  my real world solution is (5+ / 0-)

          as I already said in another comment:

          The ONLY way to change anything is to simply GET THE MONEY OUT OF POLITICS.  Until that happens, nothing else will happen.  Ever.  The monied interests will always win in the end.

          Unfrotunately, the sad fact is that neither party wants to give up the gravy train, so neither party will ever make substantial changes in election financing.  Why should they?--*both parties benefit tremendously from the current system*. It gives them far more money than they could ever have without it, and money wins elections. They have no interest in changing it (despite the occasional lip service that both sides give to the idea).

          It is utterly impossible to meaningfully remove the money from a system that is already utterly dominated by money. It's like asking mafia dons to enforce laws on themselves. They'll think about it if it's in their interests.  If it's not in their interests, you can't force them--they own the system, not you. To even BEGIN to change the electoral system, you first have to beat the money that already owns it. And that is impossible by working from within that system.

          The ONLY way to change it is to go outside that system, the way our grandfathers did in the 60's and our great-grandfathers did in the 30's.

          Editor, Red and Black Publishers, http://RedandBlackPublishers.Com

          by Lenny Flank on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 04:49:24 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'm reccing this ... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            jlb1972

            but "grandfathers in the 60s"?  Geez, way to make me feel old.  But yes -- get the money out of politics.

            •  I was born in 1961 and (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              cotterperson, 4Freedom, jlb1972

              became politically aware in 1973. I lived at the time in Rapid City, South Dakota, and had friends on the Pine Ridge Reservation when the American Indian Movement took over Wounded Knee and the Nixon Administration sent tanks in. It was quite a wake-up call for a 12-year old kid.

              So I juuuuuuust made the tail end of the 60's (the "60's" as a political era didn't really start until around 1964 and didn't really end until around 1974).

              Editor, Red and Black Publishers, http://RedandBlackPublishers.Com

              by Lenny Flank on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 07:11:16 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  Marcy Winograd -- CA-36 Clean Campaign! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jlb1972, thethinveil

    She won't take corporate money, as does her opponent, Jane Harman (her top five contributors are military-industrial complex).   Check out Marcy's website and support her for the June 8th primary against Blue Dog corporate Jane.

    (I'm her spouse)

    "The true revolutionary is guided by a great feeling of love."

    by Budlawman on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 02:39:52 PM PST

    •  my applause, but sadly (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jlb1972

      the reality is that nobody gets elected or stays in office long without corporate cash.  Nobody. The entire field is covered with the shit, and it is simply impossible to play the game without getting the field all over you.  Pick a shining progressive, any one -- Sanders, Feingold, Weiner--any of them, and you'll find that their hands are not clean either. They can't be.  Whether we like it or not, money decides elections--and since the corporados have all the money, that decides the issue.

      If the impression you are getting is that the source of the problem is that individual reps are greedy or sell-outs, and all we need is to elect better reps who are more honest and won't sell themselves out, then you are taking away EXACTLY the wrong lesson.  The problem is SYSTEMIC, not individual. If we elected tomorrow a Congress that consisted entirely of the purest-hearted kindly greedless people who donate food to starving puppies and help little old ladies cross the street, nothing would change. Even kind-hearted greedless people have to pay for TV ads, and since a typical Senate campaign costs somewhere in the middle 8-figures, that means they either hold an awful lot of bake sales to raise the money, or they get it from the only place they CAN get it--from the people who HAVE it. People without money, don't win elections.  We may prefer it to be otherwise, but that is the reality. Even Obama's much-vaunted "small donor army" raised less than 40% of his contributions -- only 15 points higher than Dubya got from HIS small donors. Obama was awash in corporate cash. He wouldn't have won without it.

      So alas, "electing better people" is not the answer.  The people, are not the problem.  The system that forces everyone to act the same way whether they want to or not, IS the problem.

      The ONLY way to change anything is to simply GET THE MONEY OUT OF POLITICS.  Until that happens, nothing else will happen.  Ever.  The monied interests will always win in the end.

      Unfrotunately, the sad fact is that neither party wants to give up the gravy train, so neither party will ever make substantial changes in election financing.  Why should they?--*both parties benefit tremendously from the current system*. It gives them far more money than they could ever have without it, and money wins elections. They have no interest in changing it (despite the occasional lip service that both sides give to the idea).

      It is utterly impossible to meaningfully remove the money from a system that is already utterly dominated by money. It's like asking mafia dons to enforce laws on themselves. They'll think about it if it's in their interests.  If it's not in their interests, you can't force them--they own the system, not you. To even BEGIN to change the electoral system, you first have to beat the money that already owns it. And that is impossible by working from within that system.

      The ONLY way to change it is to go outside that system, the way our grandfathers did in the 60's and our great-grandfathers did in the 30's.

      Editor, Red and Black Publishers, http://RedandBlackPublishers.Com

      by Lenny Flank on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 02:57:53 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  And the once somewhat-public-interest- (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        potatohead

        minded information media are no longer invested in early 20th century Progressive virtues such as good government (even then, some of that was opportunistic reaction against big-city Democratic Party machines). The media are the intermediate recipients of all that campaign expense in addition to catapulting their neoliberal propaganda as no propaganda has ever been catapulted before. We really have a vicious circle (vicious for 99% of us) that will be very hard to break, particularly given how big money has outgrown any truly symbiotic relationship with its nation-state of origin.

        Then let us learn our range: we are something but we are not everything - Pascal

        by jlb1972 on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 03:31:56 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  the media myth (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          HeyMikey, jlb1972

          It does seem to be a common myth among DKosers that the "mainstream media" (and especially the TV Cable industry) are solidly Republican.

          They are not.

          The numbers:

          Sector: Entertainment Industry as a Whole (TV, Movies, Music, Publishing)

          1994 Elections (Dems in power)
          percentage to Dems   71
          percentage to Repugs   29

          2004 elections (Repugs in power)
          percentage to Dems   69
          percentage to Repugs   30

          2010 elections (Dems in power)
          percentage to Dems   75
          percentage to Repugs   24

          Sector:  Cable TV/Satellite industry
          1994 Elections (Dems in power)
          percentage to Dems   45
          percentage to Repugs   55

          2004 elections (Repugs in power)
          percentage to Dems   56
          percentage to Repugs   44

          2010 elections (Dems in power)
          percentage to Dems   68
          percentage to Repugs   32

          Sector:  Commercial Radio/TV stations
          1994 Elections (Dems in power)
          percentage to Dems   59
          percentage to Repugs   41

          2004 elections (Repugs in power)
          percentage to Dems   42
          percentage to Repugs   57

          2010 elections (Dems in power)
          percentage to Dems   52
          percentage to Repugs   48

          Sector:  Television Production Companies
          1994 Elections (Dems in power)
          percentage to Dems   79
          percentage to Repugs   20

          2004 elections (Repugs in power)
          percentage to Dems   82
          percentage to Repugs   17

          2010 elections (Dems in power)
          percentage to Dems   80
          percentage to Repugs   20

          The entire media industry, as a whole, bucks the general corporate trend, and, as I pointed out earlier for the Hollywood movie industry, consistently supports Democrats every election.

          But there are some interesting sub-stories here.

          In newspaper/book publishing, the largest contributor, News Corp (Rupert Murdoch's company), gave over three times as much as the second-largest contributor, but split its donations almost evenly, with 54% to the Dems and 46% to the Repugs. All the rest of the top ten contributors, however, were fiercely partisan, with seven of them giving at least 70% of their money to Dems (and four of those giving 100% of their money to Dems), and the remaining 2 giving 93-100% of their money to Repugs. Of the top 20 Congressmen to receive money from the newspaper/book publishing industry, 19 were Democrats.

          In cable/satellite industry, 4 of the top 5 companies all split their donations, with Dems getting between 57 and 67%. Time-Warner, number four on the list, split 57-43 for the Dems. News Corp, Rupert Murdoch's company, ranked 14th on the list, and split its donations 55-45 for the Dems. Yes, that's right--the company that owns Fox News gave over half its political contributions in 2009-2010, to Democrats.

          Of the top 10 Congressional recipients of cable/satellite industry contributions, 8 are Dems; of the top 20, 13 are Dems.

          So, while lots of Kossacks like to yell about the "conservative manistream media", the fact remains that where it really matters--in the bank account--the media are solidly Democratic.

          Editor, Red and Black Publishers, http://RedandBlackPublishers.Com

          by Lenny Flank on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 04:21:41 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Great Diary, and I agree!! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jlb1972

    I would point out that the Progressives, particularly in the House, are about the only bloc not totally owned...yet!

    IF THEY ARE GOING TO SCREW THE PEOPLE, MAKE THEM OWN IT.

    by potatohead on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 08:28:28 PM PST

    •  their hands aren't clean, but they are not owned (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cotterperson, 4Freedom, jlb1972

      There are still some people who can happily take corporate money and then fuck them over anyway.  :)

      I didn't have the heart to look up the corporate donations to Bernie Sanders -- as a fellow socialist, I'm afraid I'd lose all respect for him if I saw it with my own eyes.

      Sadly, though, the progressive caucus doesn't have to be owned in order to be neutralized -- the corporados don't need to control everyone, just enough to tip the balance in their favor.

      Editor, Red and Black Publishers, http://RedandBlackPublishers.Com

      by Lenny Flank on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 08:44:59 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yeah, totally. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jlb1972

        I think Bernie is more owned than we give him credit for, and he gets to play the game he does, because he's needed, if only to keep the real game hidden.

        Great diary.  Thanks again for just telling it like it is.

        IF THEY ARE GOING TO SCREW THE PEOPLE, MAKE THEM OWN IT.

        by potatohead on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 09:21:58 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  response to a criticism (0+ / 0-)

    In another thread, someone made what is actually a very perceptive criticism of the figures I cite above -- that they include individual employee contributions, and that while individual contributions get lumped together with the money from their employing corporation, they don't necessarily reflect the interests of the corporation.

    But . . .

    When you look at solely PAC contributions, which are solicited solely by the corporations from people who agree with their interests, the same pattern remains.  An example is the health care industry:

    PAC Contributions to Federal Candidates
    Election cycle:  

    Health Professionals: $10,619,892
    65% to Dems / 35% to Repubs

    Health Services/HMOs: $1,873,572
    65% to Dems / 34% to Repubs

    Hospitals/Nursing Homes: $3,039,694
    70% to Dems / 30% to Repubs

    Misc Health: $29,700
    32% to Dems / 68% to Repubs

    Pharmaceuticals/Health Products: $5,777,681
    60% to Dems / 40% to Repubs

    Total Amount: $21,340,539
    Total to Democrats: $13,732,290 (64%)
    Total to Republicans: $7,583,749 (36%)
    Number of PACs making contributions: 104

    Compare with 2004 when the Repugs were in power:
    Health
    PAC Contributions to Federal Candidates
    Election cycle:  

    Total Amount: $31,629,423
    Total to Democrats: $10,821,842 (34%)
    Total to Republicans: $20,783,931 (66%)
    Number of PACs making contributions: 106

    In non-individual PAC donations, the health industry still follows the same pattern that every other industry does when we include the individual contributions -- the corporados give money to both sides, and the lion's share still goes to whoever holds power at the time.

    My hypothesis as to why individual contributions don't vary much from corporate contributions is that most employees simply don't care about politics and don't pay much attention to it, and merely give money when their employers says it's in the company interest to do so.

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