Analyzing the 2020 Election: Who Paid? Who Benefits?

Against the Current No. 211, March/April 2021

Kim Moody

Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, old/new neoliberal centrism back in charge of Congress.

WHATEVER THE ULTIMATE outcome from the chaos of January and the Republicans’ own internal problems, the Democrats will have won a majority in Congress as well as the presidency. With the focus on Trump and his followers, it’s possible that the commentariat will fail to notice that this was not only a close contest, but also the most expensive election in history.

According to OpenSecrets, it cost about $14 billion up and down the ballot, which was over twice what was spent in 2016.

For their narrow victory, Democrats outspent Republicans $6.9 billion to $3.8 billion. Deregulated “outside” donations mostly from wealthy individuals, not including those to party committees, came to $3 billion of which two-thirds were via Super-PACs. The two major parties themselves raised another $3.6 billion much of it from wealthy donors as well.

In contrast, “social welfare” and union spending combined scarcely passed the $100 million mark. OpenSecrets calculated that only about 22% of funds raised by all candidates came from small donations of $200 or less.(1) The nation’s rich paid for the election, and they will be its major beneficiaries.

Spending on congressional contests almost equaled that on the presidential race at a record of nearly $7 billion. Of the 537 congressional candidates that OpenSecrets reported on in 2020, only 12 got half or more of their contributions from small donors while only 37 got a third or more from that source. The other 500 relied primarily on larger donations.(2)

So the well-to-do and the super-rich gave generously to both parties. This was really a culmination of trends in which wealthy individuals play a bigger role in politics and, due to changes in just who the richest denizens of the ruling class are, in the Democratic Party in particular.

The turbulent dynamics that have characterized capitalism during the neoliberal era have changed not only its industrial and financial structures over time, but the very class that bears its name.

A perusal of the Fortune 500 list of top companies for the years 2000 and 2020 reveals major changes not only in the rankings of familiar corporate giants of the 20th century, but a host of new players.

Such current familiar giants at the top of the present list as Alphabet (Google), Amazon and Facebook did not appear on the 2000 list, while Microsoft was number 83 and Apple ranked a mere 285th. By 2020 such older giants as General Motors, General Electric, Ford, etc. had moved down the list to be replaced by significant numbers of newcomers.(3)

Billionaires and Bottom Feeders

As Doug Henwood has pointed out, beginning in the 1980s there was the rise of a new ruling-class fraction of billionaires “made up of owners of private companies as opposed to public ones, disproportionately in dirty industries.”(4) This includes the “alternative investments,” hedge funds, and private equity outfits. Henwood emphasizes the role of such capitalists in the rise of Trump and the right and, indeed, as Mike Davis pointed out more recently:

“Trump’s key allies are post-industrial robber barons from hinterland places like Grand Rapids, Wichita, Little Rock and Tulsa, whose fortunes derive from real estate, private equity, casinos, and services ranging from private armies to chain usury.”(5)

Many of the new, more urban “entrepreneurs,” notably the Silicon Valley crew, hedge funders and asset managers of alt-finance, however, support the Democrats in disproportionate numbers.

The rise of billionaires is one of the most striking characteristics of the changes in the U.S. capitalist class in the neoliberal era. In 1987 there were a mere 41 billionaires in the United States. By 2020 there were 623 by Forbes count, a leap of 1,420% in 23 years, a far greater increase than can be accounted for by inflation.(6)

There were, of course, ups and downs as some of these bottom feeders lost their shirts and many Silicon Valley start-ups failed. Not only are these new billionaires associated with private companies as opposed to publicly-traded corporations, but their fortunes have originated outside the traditional 20th-century corporate sectors.

A look at the 2018 “Billionaires List,” which includes brief descriptions of where they made or inherited their money, reveals very few of the corporate giants that dominated the Fortune 500 even as recently as 2000. There is one Rockefeller and Sanford Weil from Citigroup representing old corporate wealth on this list of 585 billionaires, but none of these billionaires got super-rich from GM, Ford, or even that perennial Democratic favorite, Goldman Sachs, and many were associated with “alt-finance” and high-tech, real estate and retail.7

This billionaire fraction of the ruling class also brought about a change in the way capital funds political parties and candidates. Back in the days of the 20th century, corporate giants’ business money came mostly from corporate PACs, which frequently contributed to candidates of both parties, often slightly more to the party in control of Congress in order to influence legislation.

Since the early 1990s, however, individual contributions have outweighed those from all PACs. By 2016 all traditional PAC donations accounted for only nine percent of all election spending. In 2020 it was down to just five percent. For Democratic House candidates, the percentage of PAC money, including labor and social issue PACs as well as corporate PACs, fell from 47% in 1992 to 23% in 2020.(8)

Part of this change came initially from the rise of small donors individually and through crowdfunding outfits like ActBlue for Democrats or WinRed for Republicans, that hold your credit card information and forward your donation to the candidate of your choice.

In the 2008 presidential elections small donations of $200 or less outstripped large donations of $100,000 or more. By 2016 and 2018, however, the small donor boom was eclipsed by large donations of $100,000 or more that composed a much larger portion of total individual contributions, about 40% for 2018 midterms and over 50% for the 2016 presidential cycle.(9)

Of course, those millions of small donations are essentially anonymous, while big ones are more easily recognized by their grateful recipients.(10) The billionaires were spending big and were also highly partisan in how they contributed.

According to OpenSecrets’ listing, 58 of the 100 top individual political donors in the 2020 election cycle gave to Democrats. The smallest Democratic donor in the top 100 gave just over $3 million compared to the smallest Republican funder who gave just under $3 million, while the largest Democratic contribution came to $107 million — that being, of course, Michael Bloomberg’s.(11)

Comparing these Democratic donors to the “Billionaires List,” of those that could be identified by source of wealth, 22 or nearly half were in alt-finance, not traditional banking much less any sphere of the real economy.

The Rich Get Richer, So do Democrats

It is perhaps not surprising that so many of these particular super-rich donors should be Democrats, since it was the Clinton Administration that abolished financial regulation, opening the door to these alt-financial bottom feeders. Others were from Silicon Valley and the media. None of these Democratic donors derived their billions from the big 20th century corporations.(12)

The story of the Democrats’ absorption of the new billionaires and of capital in general would not be complete without a look at how they won Silicon Valley. There is more here than humble suburban garage origins or (designer) t-shirt and jeans style of these high tech entrepreneurs.

Bill Clinton gave them what such innovators always want: patent and copyright protection for their income, along with the completion of financial deregulation that played no small part in the rise of high tech venture capitalists who funded Silicon Valley. Despite the resistance of some Democrats, Bill Clinton and Obama also gave them free trade deals to enable their international expansion.(13)

The presence of Biden cabinet appointees from BlackRock, the largest asset management firm in the world, is an indication of the dependence on alt-financial newcomers in particular.(14)

It is worth mentioning as well Biden’s pick for Secretary of the Treasury, former Fed chair Janet Yellen. Praised by many liberals, between 2018 and 2020 Yellen took at least $7 million in speakers’ fees from financial institutions, ranging from a mere $67,500 from Democratic old-timer Goldman Sachs to $292,500 from hedge fund Citadel, whose boss Ken Griffin is a top Republican funder.(15)

Yellen appears to be a friend to all financiers, and few in government have more to say about economic policy than the Secretary of the Treasury. The pressures on the party apparatus and its office holders up and down the ballot to keep within what the wealthy and their financial enablers consider the acceptable center have also increased as the party has also become more and more dependent on well-to-do voters, while losing some of its traditional working-class electoral base.

A High-Class Realignment

In mainstream political science, political realignment or the shift of groups of voters from one party to another is generally seen as something that emerges more or less suddenly, often in a “critical election,” such as 1896 or 1936.(16) There have been elections that seemed to indicate a realignment, such as 1964 where Republicans voted Democratic to defeat Goldwater, 1968 where significant numbers of white working-class voters cast a ballot for George Wallace, or 1980 when the “Reagan Democrat” was invented.

It is perhaps debatable whether the volatile 2020 election was such a “critical election.” Whatever internal turmoil impacts the Republican Party, possibly sending more well-to-do voters to the Democrats, will only strengthen both the political impasse of the last few of decades and the centrist tendencies within the Democratic Party.

What has actually occurred in U.S. politics over the past few decades, however, is more of a stealth realignment in which voters of different social classes have switched from one party to another. Two trends in particular affect the Democratic Party and its electoral prospects: the relative decline in the working-class and union household votes that began long ago, on the one hand, and the Democrats’ more recent increased dependence on well-to-do and wealthy urban and suburban voters, on the other.

Most pundits and polls provide two ways of identifying working-class voters: by education and by income. The most common blue-collar identifier is the lack of a college degree or “high school or less” of formal education. Looking at this measure in the AP VoteCast survey, we see that Trump won 52% of these voters to Biden’s 46% in 2020.

Even more starkly, in the Edison exit poll Trump took the “White noncollege graduate” cohort by a huge 64%.(17) This amounts to 34,498,533 voters — a lot.(18) From this we are supposed to conclude that Trump and the Republicans have taken a majority of blue-collar votes. The class picture, however, is more complex.

There are approximately 22 million white small business proprietors in the United States, about 60% of whom don’t have a college degree, and estimates of their average income ranges from $62,000 a year to $70,000. Some 60% of all small business people said they approved of President Trump, and Republican small business owners outnumber Democrats by about two-to-one.

According to the Edison polls Biden took the $50,000 to $100,000 cohort 56% to 43%, though the more comprehensive AP polls has it for Trump 50% to 48% in 2020.(19) Either way, if we could adjust those figures for white owners only, the Republican voting rates would be significantly higher.

So we can estimate that there are about 13 million white small business owners (about three-fourth male) who lack a college degree, make more than the $50,000 limit often used to identify workers, and who tend to approve of the president, about eight million of whom are Republicans.(20)

Most of these petty capitalists have spouses who are likely to share their opinions more often than not, so we can estimate that there were about 16 million petty bourgeois Republicans in Trump’s column.

There are also millions of white managers, police, and other non-working class people without college degrees more likely to be Republicans than Democrats. Though an exact estimate is impossible, this reduces, by as much as half, Trump’s actual working-class voter support among the 43.5 million “less educated” who voted for Trump.

In geographic terms, Trump carried the nation’s exurban counties by huge margins. This prosperous new frontier of reaction, composing 34 million people whom the American Community Project described as “relatively wealthy” and “among the most educated,” voted 54.9% to 43.3% for Trump in 2020. Interestingly, Trump’s 2020 margin was slightly less than the 55.5% to 38.0% Trump vote in 2016, indicating that the Democrats made some gains even in this most Republican of well-to-do territory.(21)

None of this is necessarily good news for those who seem to believe, as a fund appeal from “Team AOC” put it, that the Democrats are “a multi-racial working-class party.”(22) The Democrats do consistently win majorities among voters in the less than $50,000 household income cohort, which is disproportionately Black and Latino.

But this working-class cohort has shrunk as both a percentage of the total vote and that of the Democrats, as this cohort has declined in the population. In 2000 these lower-income voters composed 47% of the voting electorate and of the Democratic vote. By 2020 this had shrunk to 34% of all voters and 40% of those voting Democratic.(23)

More of the Democratic vote necessarily moved into the $50,000-$100,000 income range, which would include not only better paid workers such as nurses, skilled workers, and many teachers, but also many of the small-business owners and managers discussed above as well as middle-class professionals. While as many as two-thirds of these petty bourgeois voters went to Trump, some would go to Biden as well. So even when the Democrats do win this cohort, their working-class vote has been getting watered down.

The other stalwart of the Democrats’ working-class electoral base is the union household vote. In 1948 fully 80% of union household members voted Democratic in the presidential election. This turned out to be the last gasp of the New Deal electoral coalition. With the sole exception of 1964 when confronted with blatantly anti-union Barry Goldwater, the Democratic union household vote rose to 83%, it never reached that level again.

This union Democratic vote collapsed to 56% in 1968 as George Wallace took some of the union vote in the wake of the white “backlash.” Since then, for most years it has gone Democratic in the middle-to-high fifty percentages. In other words, the drift of union voters to the Republicans began a long time ago, well before Trump. Trump did reduce the Democratic union household vote to 51% in 2016, but it returned to 57% in 2020.

While the numbers of union household voters have held up in more years than not since 2000, as a proportion of the electorate they have fallen from 26% in 2000 to 19% in 2020 and as a percentage of the Democratic vote from 32% in 2000 to 21% over those years.(24)

If it is fair to say that the working-class vote is most dependably represented by the overlapping union household vote and those in the $50,000 or less income cohort, then the Democrats’ New Deal working-class base has shrunk and the class composition of its electoral coalition altered.

This is not simply a matter of the defection of some white blue-collar workers. Even some of the Democrats’ strongest supporters among African American and Latinx voters have ceased to vote for this party of the wealthy.

The African American Democratic vote dropped from 95% in the Obama election year 2008, when a high percentage of Black voters cast a ballot, to 87% in 2020. Similarly, while the Latinx turnout rose significantly, playing a key role in winning battleground states and the Georgia Senate election, the proportion who voted Democratic fell from 71% in 2012 to 66% in the 2020 election.(25)

Blacks and Latinos are key mass components of the U.S. working class, and even their marginal disaffection from this party that has taken them for granted is yet another indication of the Democrats’ declining proportion of support from the class that represents the vast majority of Americans.

On the other hand, the Democrats have captured more of the upper-income groups over the last few decades. Using the top income levels in the major exit polls and adjusting them roughly for the impact of inflation, in 1980 the Democrats won only 26% of voters in the $50,000 level, the highest at the time. By 2000, the Democrat Al Gore took 43% of the $100,000 top cohort.

In 2008, Obama tied McCain for 49% of the $100,000 level. In 2016, however, Clinton won 51% of the $150,000 cohort and in the 2018 midterm, when upper-income groups always play a disproportionate role, the Democratic candidates for the House took 59% of that top income group.

The most astounding aspect of this stealth realignment, however, is the turn of the very wealthiest to the Democrats. The first exit poll to record this was in the 2008 election when Obama beat McCain in the $200,000+ income cohort by 52% to 46% — well before the Trump phenomenon encouraged Republicans to flip to the Democrats.

In 2016 Clinton beat Trump in this income range by a narrower 47% to 46% and in 2020 Biden beat Trump among the wealthiest by 47% to 43%. It is not simply that these rich people have turned to the Democrats in the last decade, but that they are courted and pursued by the Democratic Party, its operatives and politicians.

Congressional and Political Demographics

This trend is important in Congressional elections as well. In 2018, the Democrats pursued and won 41 of the 50 wealthiest Congressional Districts in the country.(26) The richest 15% of districts are now represented by 56 Democrats and only 10 Republicans, according to a conservative source.(27)

As Matt Karp described the trend from 2016 to 2020 in Jacobin, “Though the Democratic turnout rose everywhere in the wealthy suburbs, from Silicon Valley to Metro Boston, a clear pattern was visible: the richer and more conservative the suburb, the more dramatic the increases.”(28)

Indeed, in the 2018 midterms, while the $200,000+ figures was not available, the Democrats carried the $150,000+ cohort by 59%, a bigger proportion than any other group except those making less than $30,000.

The growth of the wealthy, Democratic vote, however, is not limited to wealthier suburbs. One study of the urban-rural voter polarization demonstrates that the denser the urban area, the more Democratic it is — even in small cities and metro areas where Democrats lose elections.

While this is typically the result of Black, Latinx and white working-class voters, the author states, “many of these dense places that vote for Democrats today are not poor. Many of their voters are in high-tax brackets, relatively few make use of means-tested antipoverty programs, and public sector union members represent only a small portion of their voters.”(29)

This study mentions San Francisco, Philadelphia, Boston and Seattle in particular as sites of newer high-tech industries where highly paid and educated “knowledge” workers live in the center city. In a facetious expression of the Democratic strength among these up-scale urbanites, The Cook Political Report noted that ”Biden carried 85% of the counties with a Whole Foods Market.”(30)

A look at Manhattan in New York City reveals the same high proportion of well-to-do voters. The median household income in Manhattan (New York County) grew from $48,000 in 1999 to $94,000 in 2019, nearly doubling as inflation grew by only half. By 2019 those households earning $100,000 or more composed 48% of the total in that borough, while those making $200,000-plus alone accounted for a quarter.

In this borough the Democratic presidential vote rose from 73% in 2000 to 81% in 2004, then to 86% in 2016 and 2020.(31) Very few U.S. counties vote Democratic to that extent and very few are this wealthy. While Manhattan is not typical of most urban counties, it nonetheless demonstrates the rise of the wealthy Democratic vote is by no means limited to wealthy suburbs.

Despite suburban gains in 2018 and 2020, the Democrats obviously did less well in 2020 Congressional contests. Whereas in 2018 their average share of the total congressional vote was 56.1%, in 2020 it fell to 50.6%.(32) Furthermore, they lost 12 House seats in 2020. Only two of these, however, were in the top 50 income districts. Indeed, with a couple of exceptions, most of those lost were in districts where the median household income was around or below the national average of $62,843.

Moreover, 2020 saw the Democrats make further gains in the suburbs. Trump did better in the more solidly white exurbs, which have been expanding and growing in population.(33) According to a New York Times analysis of results in the nation’s 373 suburban counties, however, Biden did better than Hillary Clinton. As the authors summarized the 2020 results:

“Suburban counties that were already Democratic-leaning before 2020 tilted more so. And many that were deeply Republican nudged several points away from the president.”(34)

In other words, if anything, the average income of voters in Democratic Congress­ional Districts most certainly rose somewhat in 2020.

Nor did the 2020 election alter the ideological balance in the 117th Congress significantly. All three “ideological” caucuses in the House lost some members. The Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) slipped from 97 House members to 94, while the centrist New Democrat Coalition fell from 103 to 96. The conservative Blue Dogs, who represent more Southern and rural districts rather than prosperous suburbs, fell from 27 to 18.

The numbers, however, hide the pull of the political center in the new congress. Despite talk of tightening up the CPC politically, fully 15 of the 94 members of the CPC also belonged to the militantly centrist New Democrats, indicating how porous the term “progressive” is.

The New Democrats, in turn, contributed 18 of the 25 Democrats, one of whom was also a member of the CPC, to the even more insistently moderate bipartisan, 50-member “Problem Solvers Caucus.” This outfit was founded in 2017 with 36 members, 20 of whom were Democrats, in order to break the legislative gridlock by proposing legislative compromises acceptable to “moderates” in both parties; i.e. to the Republicans.(35)

State level elections were just as disappointing for the Democrats in 2020. Like congressional districts, those for state legislatures favor rural areas where the Democrats have failed to make any breakthroughs, despite the existence of working-class people throughout these areas.

Ten percent of those employed in the nation’s “rural” counties work in manufacturing, twice the percentage of farmers, and more than the national average of eight percent.(36) Nevertheless, they failed to flip any state legislatures, while the Republicans turned Montana and New Hampshire from divided government to Republican trifectas (governor and both state houses).

The Republicans now completely control 24 state governments compared to the Democrats’ 15.(37) This is particularly problematic because the states will redraw the already distorted election districts in 2021 and the gerrymandering of congressional and state legislative districts will get worse.

The 2022 midterm elections will not only be affected by Republican redistricting, but since turnout among working-class voters is always lower in midterms, the well-to-do Democrats will have even more proportionate influence as the party seeks to hold on to or even expand its suburban base.

The “Working-Class Party” Myth

It is simply no longer tenable, if it ever was, to consider the Democrats as a party representing the working class, much less as a “working-class party.” While it has always been a cross-class party, today the Democratic Party is also the party of the majority of wealthy voters funded by a majority of the new billionaire class fraction as well as a good deal of the old corporate elite, for example, defense contractors.(38)

The trek of the Democrats toward the political center can be traced back to the 1970 as in response to the Republicans’ move to the right and to changes in the rules for political funding.

The resolute centrism of Biden, Harris, party operatives, campaign consultants, and the increasing majority of office holders stems in part, however, from the need to expand beyond the concentrations of Democratic voters in the urban cores.

Their choice of the more prosperous suburbs and their disdain for the working class in making this choice were well expressed by Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer in 2016 when he said,

“For every blue-collar Democrat we lose in Western Pennsylvania, we will pick up two moderate Republicans in the suburbs in Philadelphia, and you can repeat that in Ohio and Illinois and Wisconsin.”(39)

The 21st century method of campaigning via polling, digital targeting and messaging is based on the assumption that the party’s or candidate’s politics are shaped to win the sought-after voting constituency, mostly moderate and suburban as the party already has the urban vote in most cities. That has meant seeking centrist candidates to match the political preferences of the prosperous suburbanites and even exurbanites whose votes they have sought.

The Democrats are not some kind of old-fashioned workers’ party that conducts political education to raise people’s consciousness. They, like the Republicans, appeal to the voters existing instincts, prejudices, and preferences — in this case a combination of moderate social liberalism and reforms that avoid economic redistribution, higher taxes, or implied threats to private property, property values, or privileged school districts. They are the party of alt finance, Wall Street, the media, Silicon Valley, much of the military-industrial complex, and the prosperous.

Former president of the Communi­cations Workers of America and a current chair of Our Revolution, Larry Cohen, summarized the outcome of the Democratic “victory” of 2020 as many political activists experienced it:

“For those of us who focus on government and economics and social justice, this election is a dismal rubber stamp of the unacceptable status quo. Black, brown, and white working Americans see their hopes of real reform evaporate for now, even while cheering the victory over Trump.”(40)

As Samuel Farber has recently argued, Trumpism with or without Trump is not going away. The decline of relative prosperity of much of his petty bourgeois base and its merger with continuing white “backlash” will drive this movement and such inroads as it has made among working-class whites for some time.(41)

The centrism of the Democrats, on the other hand, will offer little to stop the economic carnage faced by workers. Left to their own devices, the Democrats in power will not deliver Medicare-for-All, a Green New Deal, the pro-union Pro Act, or much of anything else. So long as labor and social movement activists pin their hopes on this “other” party of the rich and richer, the outcomes will be more rubber stamps of an unacceptable status quo — or rather a rapidly deteriorating status quo.

Notes

  1. Karl Evers-Hillstrom and Brendan Quinn, “OpenSecrets looks back at 2020, a $14 billion year,” OpenSecrets.org, December 22, 2020, https://www.opensecrets.org/news/2020/12/2020-opensecrets-year-in-review/; OpenSecrets.org., “2020 election to cost $14 billion, blowing away spending records,” OpenSecrets.org, October 28, 2020, https://www.opensecrets.org/news/2020/10/cost-of-election-14billion-update. OpenSecrets, “Total by type of spender, 2020,” Through January 4, 2021, https://www.opensecrets.org/outsidespending/fes_summ.php
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  2. OpenSecrets.org, “Large Versus Small Individual Donations,” OpenSecrets.org., https://www.opensecrets.org/elections-overview/large-vs-small-donations; OpenSecrets, “2020 election to cost $14 billion.”
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  3. Fortune 500, Most Profitable, 2020, https://fortune.com/fortune500/2020/search/?f500_profits=desc; Fortune 500 Archive, Company, Profit, https://archive.fortune.com/magazine/fortune.fortune500_archive/full/2000
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  4. Doug Henwood, “Trump and the New Billionaire Class” Socialist Register 2019 (London: The Merlin Press, 2018), 119.
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  5. Mike Davis, “Trench Warfare: Notes on the 2020 Elections,” New Left Review, 126 (November-December 2020), 18-19.
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  6. Carter Coudriet, “the States with the Most Billionaires,” Forbes, November 4, 2020, https://www.forbes.com/sites/cartercoudriet/2020/04/09/the-states-with-the-most-billionaires-2020/?sh=3578cf4e392a#72ca628e392a; Statista, “Number of billionaires in the United States, 1987-2012, Statista Research Department, May 7, 2012, https://www.statista.com/statistics/220093/number-of-billionaires-in-the-united-states/
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  7. Billionaire Mailing List, “Billionaires List 2018 — US Only,” January 2019, https://www.billionairemailinglist.com/billionaires-list.html
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  8. Opensecrets.org, “2020 election cost $14 billion, blowing away spending records” October 28, 2020, https://www.opensecrets.org/news/2020/10/cost-of-2020-election-14billion-update; OpenSecrets.org, “Elections Overview,” Cycles 1991-92-2019-20, accessed December 3, 2020, https://www.opensecrets.org/elections-overview
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  9. 9. Ian Vanderwalker, “The 2018 Small Donor Boom Was Drowned Out by Big Donors Thanks to Citizens United” Brennen Center for Justice, January 10, 2020, https://www.brennencenter.org/our-work/analysis-opinion/2018-small-donor-boom-was-drowned-out-by-big-donors-thanks-to-citizens-united

  10. Ian Vanderwalker and Lawrence Norden, “Small Donors Still Aren’t as Important as Wealthy Ones,” The Atlantic, October 18, 2016, https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/10/campaign-finance-fundraising-citizens-united/504425
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  11. OpenSecrets.org, “Who are the Biggest Donors?: 2020 Cycle, Top 100 Donors, 2019-2020,” https://www.opensecrets.org/election-overview/biggest-donors. The largest Republican donation was just over $180 million from the right wing Las Vegas billionaire Adelson family.
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  12. OpenSecrets.org, “Biggest Donors”; Billionaires Mailing List, “Billionaires List 2018”; Adam Bonica, Nolan McCarty, Keith T. Poole, and Howard Rosenthal, “Why Hasn’t Democracy Slowed Rising Inequality?” Journal of Economic Perspectives 27(3) (Summer 2013): 107.
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  13. Jonathan A. Rodden, Why Cites Lose: The Deep Roots of the Urban-Rural Political Divide (New York: Basic Books, 2019), 79-84.
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  14. Meagan Day, “Joe Biden’s Black Rock Cabinet Picks Show the President-Elect Is Ready and Easger to Servie the Rich,” Jacobin, December 3, 2020, https://www.jacobinmag.com/2020/12/wall-street-joe-biden-transition-cabinet-blackrock
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  15. Kalyeena Makortoff, “Yellen files £5 million speech fees in ethics check for US Treasury” The Guardian, January 2, 2021, 9.
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  16. See, for example, Walter Dean Burnham, Critical Elections and the Mainsprings of American Politics (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc, 1970), 1-10.
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  17. National Public Radio, “Understanding the 2020 Electorate: AP Vote Cast Survey,” November 3, 2020; Edison Research poll for the National Election Pool, November 3, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/11/03/us/elections/exit-polls-president.html
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  18. Dave Leip’s Atlas of U.S. Elections, “2020 Presidential Election Results,” https://uselectionatlas.org/RESULTS
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  19. Edison, 2000; AP VoteCast, “ Understanding The 2020 Electorate: AP VoteCast Survey,” November 3, 2020.
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  20. M. T. Wroblewski, “The Average Income of Small Business Owners,” CHRON, November 13, 2020, https://smallbusiness.chron.com/average-income-small-business-owners-54189.html; Mike Juang, “A secret many small-business owners share with Mark Zuckerberg,” CNBC, July 19, 2017, https://www.cnbc.com/2017/07/19/survey-shows-majority-of-business-owners-lck-college-degree.html
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  21. Dante Chinni, “The 2020 Results: Where Biden and Trump Gained and Lost Voters,” American Community Project, November 9, 2020, https://www.americancommunities.org/the-2020-results-where-biden-and-trump-gained-and-lost-voters/
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  22. Team AOC, “We need a federal jobs guarantee,” October 28, 2020, email, Ocasio-Cortez.com, news@jacobinmag.com.
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  23. For the union household vote back to 1948 see, Stephen Amberg, ”The CIO Political Strategy in Historical Perspective.” In Keven Boyle (Ed.) Organized Labor and American Politics 1894-1994 (Albany: State University of New York, 1998), 175; Edison Research, “National Exit Polls: How Different Groups Voted,” New York Time, November 3, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/11/03/us/elections/exit-polls-president.html; Roper Center for Public Opinion, “How Groups Voted in 2016,” https://ropercenter.cornell.edu/how-groups-voted-3016; Roper Center for Public Opinion, “How Groups Voted in 2012,” https://ropercenter.cornell.edu/how-groups-voted-2012; Roper Center for Public Opinion, “How Groups Voted in 2008,” https://ropercenter.cornell.edu/how-groups-voted-2008; Roper Center for Public Opinion, “How Groups Voted in 2004,” https://ropercenter.cornell.edu/how-groups-voted-2004; Roper Center for Public Opinion, “How Groups Voted on 2000,” https://ropercenter.cornell.edu/how-groups-voted-2000
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  24. Op cit.
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  25. Op cit.
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  26. Andrew DePietro, “After the Midterms, One Party Controls All the Wealthiest Congressional Districts,” yahoo!finance, November 8, 2018, https://finance.yahoo.com/news/midterms-one-party-controls-wealthiest-184200649.html
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  27. Darel E. Paul, “The New Party Of The Rich,” First Things, November 8, 2019, https://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2019/11/the-new-party-of-the-rich
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  28. Matt Karp, “Bernie Sanders’s Five-Year War,” Jacobin, No. 38 (Summer 2020), 68.
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  29. Jonathan A. Rodden, Why Cities Lose: The Deep Roots of the Urban-Rural Political Divide (New York: Basic Books, 2019), 69, 106-113.
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  30. The Cook Political Report, “36 Facts About ther 2020 Elections, December 22, 2020, https://cookpolitical.com/analysis/national/national-politics/36-facts-abour-2020-elections
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  31. New York City Department of Planning, NYC 200: Results from the Census, 2000, https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/planning/download/pdf/planning-level/nyc-population/census2000/sociopp.pdf; Census Reporter, New York County, NY, 2019, https://censusreporter.org/profiles/05000US36061-new-york-county-ny/; Board of Elections in the City of New York, General Elections, New York County, 2020, https://vote.nyc/page/election-results-summary
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  32. Ryan Williamson and Jamie Carson, “Why did the Democrats lose seats in the 2020 elections? More incumbents ran in more competitive distrcits” US Centre: London School of Economics, November 12, 2020, https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/usappblog/2020/11/12/why-did-democrats-lose-seats-in-the-2020-elections-more-incumbents-ran-in-more-competitive-districts/
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  33. Davis, “Trench Warfare,” 22-23.
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  34. Emily Badger and Quoctrung Bui, “How the Suburbs Moved Away From Trump,” New York Times, November 9, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/06/upshot/suburbs-shifted-left-president.html?action=click&module=RelatedLinks&pgtype=Article
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  35. New Democrat Coalition, “Members, 117th Congress, Accessed January 12, 2021, https://newdemocratcoalition.house.gov/members; Blue Dog Coalition, “Members,” Accessed January 12, 2021, https://bluedogcaucus-costa.house.gov/members; Congressional Progressive Caucus, “Caucus Members,” Accessed January 12, 2021, https://progressives.house.gov/caucus-members/; WikiMili.com, “Congressional Progressive Caucus” updated January 09, 2021, https://wikimili.com/en/Congressional_Progressive_Caucus; Problem Solvers Caucus, “Featured Members” 116th Congress, Accessed January 12, 2021, https://problemsolverscaucus-gottheimer.house.gov/members; Problem Solvers Caucus, “About,” Accessed January 12, 2021, https://problemsolverscaucus-gottheimer.house.gov/about
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  36. United State Department of Agriculture, Rural America at a Glance, Economic Bulletin 162, November 2016, 3.
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  37. Russell Berman, “the Failure That Could Haunt Democrats for a Decade” The Atlantic, November 10, 2020, https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2020/11/democrats-2020-elections-state-legislatures/617047/; Ballotpedia, “State legislative elections, 2020,” December 4, 2020, https://ballotpedia.org/State_legislative_elections_2020; The Cook Political Report, “36 Facts.”
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  38. Stephen Semler, “Congressional Democrats Are Raking in Huge Donations from War Profiteers,” Jacobin, December 17, 2020, https://www.jacobin.com/2020/12/congressional-democrats-war-profiteers-donations-ndaa
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  39. Quoted in Jon Schwartz, “Chuck Schumer: The Worst Possible Democratic Leaders At The Worst Possible Time,” The Intercept, November 14, 2016, https://theintercept.com/2016/11/14/chuck-schumer-the-worst-possible-democratic-leader-at-the-worst-possible-time/
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  40. Quoted in Mike Davis, ”Trench Warfare: Notes on the 2020 Election” New Left Review 126 (November-December 2020), 9.
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  41. Samuel Farber, “Trumpism Will Endure,” Jacobin, January 3, 2021, https://www.jacobinmag.com/2021/01/donald-trump-white-working-class-trumpism
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March-April 2021, ATC 211

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