Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Commentary: 'Why Do the Very Wealthy Vote Democratic?' by Joseph Ford Cotto

Political activists often speak passionately about the state of our modern economy. After listening to them, one might conclude that Republicans are the party of capitalism. Democrats, on the other hand, stand beholden to social democratic  if not outright socialist  interests.  
Look at election data from last year's midterms, though, and it is clear that Democrats won an overwhelming majority of the country’s affluent counties. In 2020, they seem primed for a repeat performance. While some might find that counter-intuitive, it can be explained quite easily.
The oft-derided 'one percent' consists of capitalists who have such tremendous wealth that their respective spheres of influence extend far beyond the private sector. Indeed, these multimillionaires and billionaires have the money to buy entire legislatures, let alone the key committees that amend any given bill before it reaches a floor vote. 

It is not in their collective interest, financially and socially speaking, to support the system which afforded them prosperity. As free enterprise requires constant change, after a period of time, each member of the one percent might fall back into the remaining 99; if not them, almost certainly their children or grandchildren. This is a result of new entrepreneurs participating, and by far most threateningly, succeeding in the market.
The only way for the status quo to remain as it is entails restricting the market from within.
So, the extremely wealthy establish various special interest groups dedicated to crafting draconian regulations in the name of the public good, tackling hot-button social issues, and riling the hopes of easily-led ideologues. These groups then contribute heavily to the coffers of receptive politicians. As word gets out that the aforementioned groups pay well — and do they ever — the number of public officeholders willing to listen grows exponentially.
Sometimes no groups are formed at all. Rather, a team of formidable lobbyists is hired to engage lawmakers directly. In any case, the ultra-wealthy secures its lofty perch by decimating the ladder that it climbed in the first place. Thus it becomes clear why a startling number of anti-business organizations receive what can only be described as executive-level funding. 
The decidedly none-too-affluent street activists in socialist/anarchist/radical green/whatever movements do not see what is really going on. The same goes for reactionaries on the right who consume themselves with such poignant issues as overturning a Supreme Court decision written well over forty years ago: Roe v. Wade
As the extremists on either end of the political spectrum busy themselves building castles in the partisan sandbox, those select few men and women at the very top of the pyramid are quietly cashing in.
This is not to say that just because somebody is a successful entrepreneur, he or she is attempting to cripple capitalism, nor is it accurate to label all politicians as thoroughly corrupt. Quite a few one-percenters exist who support free enterprise on its own merits; because they appreciate the system which afforded them success and fear a state-run (or at least state-dominated) alternative. Alas, these folks are a shrinking presence as a new generation of 'woke' capital joins forces with, and eventually supplants, the 1990s neo-Keynesians who paved the way for what we now face.  
Quashing competition is smart business, and what better way to go about doing this than through readily accessible and ostensibly legal means?
Ultimately, some things just are not that complicated.   

Joseph Ford Cotto, 1st Baron Cotto, GCCCR is the editor-in-chief of the San Francisco Review of Books. In the past, he covered current events and style for The Washington Times's Communities section, where he interviewed personalities ranging from Fmr. Ambassador John Bolton to Dionne Warwick. Cotto was also a writer for Blogcritics Magazine and Yahoo's contributor network, among other publications. In 2014, H.M. King Kigeli V of Rwanda bestowed a hereditary knighthood upon him, which was followed by a barony the next year.

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