It has become a common refrain on the Left to argue the GOP is the party of the rich. Just look at Mitt Romney being the party’s nominee. Just look at the party creating SuperPACs. Just look at the likes of Sheldon Adelson. What these “looks” miss is that both parties represent the rich and it is pure conjecture and personal bias that drive opinions the GOP is the party of the rich.
I will be the one to point out the elephant in the room and say that in 2008 Barack Obama tied John McCain among these voters ($100K and above) at 49%. In 2012 Mitt Romney won these same voters but not by overwhelming margins. In 2013 Ken Cuccinelli was crushed in Virginia among these voters. In recent elections there is no clear pattern the rich consistently vote Republican. Even when you dig down to the swing state voting patterns the rich are not lockstep Republicans. In fact, in 2012 Mitt Romney’s best margin among these voters in a swing state was Nevada, he won by 24%, but they made up the smallest share of the voting public there than in any other swing state.
But Democrats are the party of the middle class one might argue. Well, the middle class seems to disagree if their voting patterns are any indication. In 2000, Bush won every income group above $40,000, albeit by small margins. In 2004, Bush won those making over $50K. In 2008 this trend was reversed as Obama crushed McCain among almost every income group. In 2012 voters making $50K or above returned to the GOP fold. Middle class in the US can be defined by many terms, generally to fit the viewpoint of any particular politician. But generally middle class refers to non-college educated whites, those with incomes between $50K and $100K and hold a college education. In all categories the GOP wins solidly (see 2010 exit polls).
What about donors? The Left likes to argue the GOP is the party of billionaires. Apparently Soros, Gates and Steyer are poor. More seriously though they argue that since a majority of Romney’s contributors were maxed out that the party represents the rich. A few thoughts on this. First, that is a fairly non-analytical analysis of the issue. Romney always had issues with the grassroots, might this be another sign. Second, it tends to be glossed over that Obama easily out-raised and outspent Mitt Romney. And no, not all that money came from small donors. Third, Democrats easily forget about 2008 when Obama easily raised more funds from maximum contributors than McCain. Did I miss something or did the rich just decide to play Democrat for an election?
In terms of policy outcomes it is also hard to argue the GOP is more in the pocket of big business and the rich than Democrats. Of course, telling a Democratic who thinks the GOP wants to kill poor people and throw granny off the cliff, this will not make a difference but I try anyways. Look at the policy outcomes when Democrats were in power from 2009-2010. The Stimulus was a massive giveaway to wealthy business interests and unions. The buy-outs of GM and Chrysler save wealthy union owners from bankruptcy. Obamacare is a massive subsidization of the Healthcare sector. Despite a few paltry attempts at reform Dodd-Frank has only made bankers wealthier and the vast majority of Americans poorer. Such a better track record than Bush (insert sarcasm here).
Ironically, it is the GOP that is the party that is currently pushing to distance itself from the wealthy. On the GOP side Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Paul Ryan (less so than the former) have taken stands that have not endeared them to their party’s business wing. I am still waiting for a Democrat to step forward and challenge the status quo. Good thing I am not counting on it.
Finally, ideological bias and preference blinds us to the simple and IRREFUTABLE fact that both parties represent the rich and they both represent the middle class. They just do so in different ways through different policies. Democrats benefit the wealthy through massive government spending and subsidized business. Republicans do the same through less regulation and lower taxes. Democrats benefit the middle class by making businesses provide more perks to their employees. Republicans do the same but by enticing businesses to hire.
I am not surprised many on the Left believe the GOP is the party of the rich. It is much easier to let your bias guide you than actual research or fact. In truth, both parties represent the rich and while the rich lean more Republican in elections they certainly do not always (see 2013 VA Governor’s election).