Great news! Wall Street loves the Democratic party again. According to a New York Times report on Sunday, financial industry employees are giving more to Democrats than Republicans for the first time in years:
From donors in just the securities and investment sector, Democratic congressional incumbents and candidates have so far received $39.3 million in 2018, compared with $28 million for Republicans. That is a reversal from 2014, when Democrats raised $28 million and Republicans $41.5 million. In 2018, 15 of the top 20 congressional recipients of securities and investment industry cash are Democrats; in 2014, 15 of the top 20 were Republicans.
The piece quotes Stephen Moore, the conservative economist and founder of Club for Growth, telling the truth about a midterm election that’s projected to be bleak for Republicans.
“Wall Street is—and corporate America is—pretty famous for hedging their bets,” Moore told the paper. “They just want to follow winners. They just want to make sure they have access to the people who win. This is no exception.”
Others do not tell the truth. The Times also spoke with Finn Wentworth, who founded a real estate investment firm and fundraised for the RNC in 2016, who said he’s switched teams in part because he “found Mr. Trump’s ‘lack of empathy for others’ to be ‘distressing.’” Of course, when Wentworth was fundraising for the RNC in 2016, Trump was a paragon of empathy.
This year, the American Bankers Association is buying television ads for lawmakers for the first time in its history, supporting eight Republicans and four Democrats. Rob Nichols, the association’s president, called the campaign “rigorously bipartisan,” though all eight Republicans are in contested races, while only one of the Democrats, Senator Jon Tester of Montana, is.
Why would they buy ads for Democrats in non-contested races? Wouldn’t that be a huge waste of money if it was about trying to get Democrats elected, and not simply lining the pockets of future lawmakers so that they’ll take their calls in a few months’ time?
Wall Street clearly prefers Republican policies, which help them thrive and just gave them a massive tax cut. But they know which way the winds are blowing, and they want the next Congress to listen to them, too. This has nothing to do with Trump. This is an investment. Wall Street makes bets all the time; this is just another trade.
This matters for the rest of us greatly. We have just been told by the most authoritative source yet that climate change is an imminent threat, and that we have much less time than we thought to reverse the trends—12 years’ time. It is clear that in order to counter climate change, global capitalism will have to be reigned in drastically. You cannot fix climate change while also organizing an entire world economy around the premise that everyone should be able to order a TV or a bar cart or a poster that says Carpe That Motherf*cking Diem, Hoes to their house in two days if they’re even moderately wealthy by global standards. The port of Los Angeles alone—one single port—received 71.3 million tons of goods in 2017.
We are a society laden with Stuff. Carbon-spewing trucks fill our highways sending Stuff from one place to another because there is money to be made doing it. Immense waste and consumption is not only acceptable but required. The logic that runs our world, the logic that will kill us, is not the logic of good policy or equality, but of capitalism: If someone can profit off selling you the thing you want, you can have it. There is no way to fix climate change that won’t hurt the profits of big business, especially in the short term, which is really the only term they can think in.
Meanwhile, one political party is led by a guy who says climate change is a Chinese hoax, and its ranks are filled with other guys who deny the science of climate change. Sixty-nine percent of Republicans think the threat of climate change is “exaggerated.” They will continue to deny it until the sea swallows them whole. The other party ostensibly accepts the science of climate change, but it has no message about fixing it. Do you think, even with a Democratic president, House, and Senate in 2021, they would enact policies that get us close to curbing emissions within 12 years? Or, to put it another way: Do you think a party that takes millions of dollars from Wall Street to get even close to power is going to turn around to Wall Street and say, by the way, we are about to enact a set of policies that will reorganize the economy and harm the profits of all these firms you’ve invested in?
I do not think that’s going to happen. Our current system of funding elections is set up so that Democrats essentially need to do this to compete with the other party, the ones with their dicks in a barrel of oil, though they could take a whole lot less if they focused on small dollar donations, the kind that only roll in if you run actually good candidates that people like.
Maybe our only hope is somehow turning climate change into the business opportunity of the century.