COTTO: Are Republicans really "the party of the rich"?

No, and Democrats aren't Photo: Associated Press

OCALA, Fla., October 10, 2013 — Since the federal government shut down last week, a lot of nonsense has been thrown around.

One of the most popular mantras against the Republican Party is the claim that it is of, by, and for the wealthy. Democrats, on the other hand, are said to represent working-class Americans.

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While such an idea might bring comfort to left-leaning activists and voters, reality begs to differ.

Throughout our country’s wealthiest locales, far more money is donated to Democrats than Republicans, on average. The counties which surround Washington, DC, New York City, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Boston, and Chicago are home to some of the most affluent suburbs in the nation. Virtually all of these went for President Barack Obama over former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.

Speaking of the last election, our country’s most poverty-stricken states tilted in Romney’s favor.

So, why is it that folks with heavy pockets support the Democratic ticket? The answer is simple: That very ticket supports them.

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For the nouveau riche entrepreneurs — many of whom come from hard-pressed ethnic European, and solidly Democratic, families in large cities — large government contracts are offered. Old money, meanwhile, understands that competition is bad for great-grandpa’s company. So, if upstart businesses can be quashed through burdensome government regulations, all the better.

Both the newly wealthy and inherited affluence crowds take advantage of tax loopholes designed to benefit the very successful. This comes at the middle class’s direct expense, as do tax credits designed for the ultra-poor.

In spite of such a thing, many upper-income individuals support the Republican Party. They are what fuel the stereotype of country club GOPers. However, most wealthy Republicans are in fields which have no need for public sector contracts. Exceptions to this almost always have to do with the defense industry.

Well-off Republicans utilize the same tax exemptions which their Democratic counterparts do. Members of both parties are leeching off of the American mainstream.

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As the facts have it, though, no small number of billionaires avidly back Democratic candidates and organizations, while lower-end millionaires and upper-echelon six-figure earners are the Republican lifeblood. Perhaps this is because the latter tends to compete with the former.

Who better to eliminate the possibility for challenges to big business than Uncle Sam himself, or even state and local governments? All the billionaires have to do is donate to the right candidates. Better yet, they can team up to form a super political action committee, especially in the wake of Citizens United.

Does it get any better for them than that? The robber barons of yesteryear could only dream of power on so grand a scale.

Simply put, neither party is focused on looking out for common men, women, and children. They serve the special interests which bolster their ambitions and that is all.

The Seattle-area environmental activist who believes his congressperson is a crusader for eco-interests bar none is living in a fantasy. Likewise, the Charlotte-area fundamentalist Christian that thinks her congressperson follows the word of Jesus above all else should wake up and smell the coffee.

Voters who allow themselves to be led function as little more than human sheep. We should never forget that sheep are gathered into flocks and led by shepherds. Eventually, these shepherds will coalesce their sheep, shave sacks full of wool, and sell it at a profit while the flocks stand bear wondering what happened.

Hard as it might be to admit, this is realpolitik 101. 

Republicans are not “the party of the rich”. Democrats are not “out to support the little guy” if this interferes with a big guy’s cash flow. Republican leadership is not concerned with creating a “Christian America”. Democratic bigwigs care more about ancillary rights for film moguls than gay rights for art students in Greenwich Village.

This is the way it is. Period. 

What a terrible shame.

Far-left? Far-right? Get realRead more from “The Conscience of a Realist” by Joseph F. Cotto 


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Joseph Cotto

Joseph F. Cotto is a social journalist by trade and student of history by lifestyle choice. He hails from central Florida, writing about political, economic, and social issues of the day. In the past, he was a contributor to Blogcritics Magazine, among other publications. He is currently at work on a book about American society.

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