Romney had 8 more votes next to his name in the Iowa caucuses, and that means everyone else lost. Romney has the lead in New Hampshire, the next Republican primary, and he has the lead in money. Only Barack Obama has more campaign cash on hand than Mitt Romney. Without a crushing defeat in Iowa, Romney’s path to the nomination is clear. No amount of evangelical enthusiasm for Santorum, or youth and independent excitement for Ron Paul, will make a difference. Unless hit by a huge scandal, Wall Street’s man won’t lose now.
The Political Action Committee, PAC, Restore our Future spent $3 million in attack ads against Newt Gingrich after Gingrich had taken a lead in the polls about a month ago. A look at their website makes it clear that they are a pro-Romney, anti-Gingrich PAC. Because they operate as a PAC, Restore our Future received well over the $2500 individual contribution limit from individuals, i.e. millionaires. In fact, the four top donors gave $1 million each. And even though this PAC clearly supports the candidacy of Mitt Romney, they don’t face the same scrutiny as individual donors do. By giving to a PAC, donors can donate as much as they want. In essence, political influence in D.C. is sold to the highest bidders.
When money wins a political campaign, Wall Street wins. And so it was in Iowa on Tuesday. Occupy Wall Street and other occupy movements all over our nation have been working for four months to end the influence Wall Street has on politics. Wall Street has been buying influence in the nations capital through a combination of lobbying, donating to campaigns, PACs, making back room deals, and giving largess through cushy jobs after Congress members end their public work for 220 years in the United States, since 1792. So don’t expect the Occupy Wall Street movement to change Wall Street’s influence in national politics overnight.
Wall Street has a lot invested in the Presidency, having already contributed $16,835,938 to the various presidential campaigns, more than any other sector. Almost half of that total has gone to Mitt Romney ($7,801,006) with about a quarter going to President Obama ($4,187,924). That means that 75% of the money donated by Wall Street and financial institutions has gone to the front runners in the two major parties. The Presidential race is a win-win for them regardless of what party comes out on top, although Romney is clearly their number-one choice.
Why does Romney win though he has low favorability ratings within his own party? Money, Romney’s low unfavorable ratings, and the desire to have a chance to beat Barack Obama will propel Romney to the nomination despite being a former moderate Republican on many issues. “Some financiers, like Schwarzman, are Republicans who may have chosen Romney because they think he’s the candidate most likely to beat Obama.”
Only 10% of Romney’s donations are from small donors, and that is 10% more than Wall Street wants. That makes Romney the clear choice of the 1%. And because money largely determines the winners of national and statewide elections, Romney is in a good position to win the Republican nomination.
Mark Green, Author of Selling Out: How Big Corporate Money Buys Elections, Rams Through Legislation, and Betrays Our Democracy, writes clearly about how money is the determining factor in the election of politicians in America. Even in 1904, the influence money had on the Presidential race was dramatic, “Fearing defeat, Roosevelt rejected pleas by Progressives to rely on small individual contributions and turned instead for financial support to the very bankers and industrialists who had only recently supported Hanna as the most acceptable Republican candidate….Some of the country’s richest men-Cornelius Bliss, J. P. Morgan, and Andrew Carnegie among them-contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars, and once it was known that the President was accepting corporate money, other financiers flooded the campaign with contributions, many of which were never publicized. Roosevelt won the presidency by a landslide.”
Here is a list of the top donors to Romney’s campaign this election cycle. Note that these are almost all financial institutions; Romney is clearly in the pockets of those largely responsible helping bring about the recession.
Goldman Sachs $367,200
Credit Suisse Group $203,750
Morgan Stanley $199,800
HIG Capital $186,500
Kirkland & Ellis $132,100
Bank of America $126,500
EMC Corp $117,300
JPMorgan Chase & Co $ 112,250
The Villages $97,500
Vivint Inc $80,750
Marriott International $79,837
Sullivan & Cromwell $79,250
Bain Capital $74,500
UBS AG $73,750
Wells Fargo $61,500
Blackstone Group $59,800
Citigroup Inc $57,050
Bain & Co $52,500
Bain Capital is Romney’s old firm. They made millions buying troubled companies and their assets, gutting them, sending any remaining jobs overseas, and then reselling the assets at a profit. Romney’s experience gutting companies and making millions for Wall Street is what the financial institutions look for in a candidate. They are unconcerned with social issues that preoccupy some religious conservatives, unless those issues can be used to divide the people amongst themselves and not against the plutocrats.
Romney also has more large donors than any candidate. “More than 8,000 donors have given Romney the maximum of $2,500, compared to less than 6,000 maximum donors for Obama…Romney’s big individual donors hail from major financial institutions. His top five companies are all banks or financial service firms: Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse, Morgan Stanley, HIG Capital and Barclay’s. Bank of America and PricewaterhouseCoopers help round out his top ten.”
Romney wants no limits on Wall Street donations. The more Wall Street can donate, the more the 1% wins at the expense of the rest of us, the 99%. With those donations, he will be able to outspend his Republican opponents and win the nomination for his Wall Street cronies. Mitt Romney might feel the satisfaction of garnering the most votes next to his name, but the victory is not his to celebrate. Clearly, Wall Street won the Iowa caucus.