HOW THE SKEWED DEMOGRAPHICS OF THE DONOR CLASS PULL OUR POLITICS TO THE RIGHT
Money in Politics isn't just a good government issue.
Sean McElwee, Jesse Rhodes, and Brian Schnaffer | February 8, 2017
The prospect of big donors warping the political system loomed large in the 2016 election. On the left, Bernie Sanders warned of an “oligarchic society” in which big donors dictated the political agenda. On the right, Donald Trump mocked his opponents as “puppets” of the Koch brothers. Now that Trump is filling his administration with an unprecedented number of donors, their influence over politics is even more deserving of study. Yet so far there has been no systematic research into the demographic makeup and political views of the wealthiest donors. Who are they? What are their politics?
Our research suggests the donor class is a stratified group that does not represent the diversity of America and is politically to the right of the general population. Trump’s donors were incredibly white and extremely male: 95 percent were white, and 64 percent were white men. Hillary Clinton, who had more gender diversity among her donors, still had an overwhelmingly white donor pool. Though money in politics is normally considered to be an issue tied to class (and it is!) our new report, Whose Voice, Whose Choice?,shows that the influence of a white, wealthy, and male donor class could impede progress on gender and racial equity.