This is David Brooks for the NYT (I have highlighted a few parts for emphasis):
“As in other recent campaigns, lawyers account for the biggest chunk of Democratic donations. They have donated about $18 million to Obama, compared with about $5 million to John McCain, according to data released on June 2 and available at OpenSecrets.org.
People who work at securities and investment companies have given Obama about $8 million, compared with $4.5 for McCain. People who work in communications and electronics have given Obama about $10 million, compared with $2 million for McCain. Professors and other people who work in education have given Obama roughly $7 million, compared with $700,000 for McCain.
Real estate professionals have given Obama $5 million, compared with $4 million for McCain. Medical professionals have given Obama $7 million, compared with $3 million for McCain. Commercial bankers have given Obama $1.6 million, compared with $1.2 million for McCain. Hedge fund and private equity managers have given Obama about $1.6 million, compared with $850,000 for McCain.
When you break it out by individual companies, you find that employees of Goldman Sachs gave more to Obama than workers of any other employer. The Goldman Sachs geniuses are followed by employees of the University of California, UBS, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, National Amusements, Lehman Brothers, Harvard and Google. At many of these workplaces, Obama has a three- or four-to-one fund-raising advantage over McCain.
Amazingly, Democrats have cultivated this donor base while trending populist on trade by forsaking much of the Clinton Third Way approach and by vowing to raise taxes on capital gains and the wealthy. If Obama’s tax plans go through, those affluent donors could wind up giving over 50 percent of their income to the federal government.
They’ve managed to clear these policy hurdles partly by looking out for tort lawyers and other special groups. But mostly they have taken advantage of the rivalry between the two American elites.
Over the past several years, the highly educated coastal rich have been engaged in a little culture war with the inland corporate rich. This is a war over values, leadership styles and social networks.
Socially liberal knowledge workers naturally want to see people like themselves at the head of society, not people who used to run Halliburton and who are supported by a vast army of evangelicals.
If the Democrats are elected, this highly educated class will have much more say over policy than during the campaign. Undecided voters sway campaigns, but in government, elites generally run things. Once the Republicans are vanquished, I wouldn’t hold your breath waiting for that capital gains tax hike or serious measures to expand unionization.
Over the past few years, people from Goldman Sachs have assumed control over large parts of the federal government. Over the next few they might just take over the whole darn thing.”
Well, first it is good that someone has taken the time to debunk this silly notion that Obama is getting all his money from small, poor donors and that because of that it is ok for him to forget about his promises of using public funds and being an “outsider” candidate who doesn’t owe anything to anyone. Goldman Sacks knows exactly what they will get for their investment.
Now, I have access to a lot of people who belong to this “rising class of information age analysts” and I think Brooks is wrong to think that this whole thing is about status. It is part of it (remember the people posting little “I am sorry” movies after Bush won in 2004? They hate to have Bush as their representative) but I think that the main issue here is at the same time simpler and deeper.
A lot of people who work at high tech companies are what I would call “ignorant geniuses”. These are very smart, very educated people who have a very limited, bubble-like existence. They don’t vote for big government because it is something they really want… They are not true liberals because they think it is the best way to make people’s lives better but because they think it is the morally correct way to be.
So when rich nerds hang the UN flag on their office doors, they are not being rational and saying that the UN is the best option to bring world peace. They are just saying that it is the option that sounds right.
It is all about ideology. They’ve been brainwashed, from kindergarten to college on how to think like a little nice liberal and that is pretty much all they know. They don’t like that Obama would tax the bejesus out of them (and they are not even able to tell you how this would actually help the country) but they just know that this is the price you pay for being who they are.
It is similar in some ways to conservatives who are part of some naturally democrat group, like the very poor, union members, etc. It is a situation where people are voting for a principle (like religion), even though it might not be the obvious choice for that group as far as economic self-interest goes. Maybe I could write a book called “What’s the Matter with our Financial Elite?” and make some bucks like Thomas Frank did. Because this whole liberal movement of these elites is the most perfect example of the power of secular religion. You do not mess with the faith in God Government boys.
The only way out of this cycle is when we get to another Carter-like disaster. Or if Obama messes up big time and McCain pulls it off. I just don’t know if I can take another 4 years of the media negativity. Maybe an Obama victory won’t be that bad. I should look for a job in Goldman Sachs right away.