10 July 2024


In the current Democrat anguish over the fate of Joe Biden certain “donors” have threatened to withhold funding unless he leaves the ticket. This was hyped by the media, which has gone so far as to assign these donors an interest group slot, equivalent to all the others, such as identity groups, etc. that make up the Democrat’s coalition. They are also referred to as the “donor class,” as if they constituted a permanent segment of the political universe, or as the “megadonors.” So ubiquitous are they that the USA is the only country in the world with a coterie of progressive, left-wing billionaires. Indeed there are now more of them on the Democrat’s side than the Republicans. 

So what do these big donors want or get? (They usually want more than they actually get). It isn’t particularly policies that favor “the rich,” but rather ego-satisfying access to address their fixations even more than their interests, such as climate change, etc. More than photo-ops, which are for the little guy, they want policy input. Big money gets them a sit-down with the candidate and chances to air their favorite notions about how things ought to be. Often enough it isn’t even their own money they are providing but an ability to make others, i.e. associates, customers, etc. cough up, so that “bundlers” get equal status.

What you essentially have is people who have been successful at one thing who are full enough of themselves to believe that their expertise translates into other areas, such as running the country. So multi-talented are they that leading politicians listen to them, at least as long as the money keeps coming. Mutual status boosting always occurs. Yet their opinions have no more intrinsic value than anyone else’s, and to the extent they are given more weight it is undemocratic. One of the most depressing things I’ve encountered is  personally meeting a politician about something only to hear their main focus being about fundraising, or see how much in awe they are of money and money people.

Yet politicians are not really to blame, given the system they have to operate in. They actually hate asking people for money yet have to spend an awful lot of time doing so. But that being the case they ought to be amenable to changing the process given how unpleasant it is for them. That is the best hope for reform- when they become so disgusted with what they have to do they try and change it. 

I don’t begrudge the rich for their wealth, but do draw the line at influencing government. As for the megadonors who fancy themselves more knowledgeable about how to run things, let them run for office or just shut up. 

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