NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

THE PARTY OF THE ELITE? NOT THE REPUBLICANS

November 5, 2004

Republicans have historically been viewed as the party of the wealthy and elite, while Democrats have long laid claim to being the party of the common folk and the working man.

But those assumptions are outdated, says Karl Zinsmeister of the American Enterprise Institute. In the 1960s and 70s, the "little guys," that is, average working people, began drifting toward the Republican Party, while financiers and other wealthy elites drifted to the Democrats.

Indeed, the 2000 election further reinforced this shift:

  • o In counties that voted strongly for Bush, only 7 percent of voters had household incomes of $100,000 or more, while 38 percent of voters had household incomes of less than $30,000.
  • o In counties that voted strongly for Gore, 14 percent of voters had household incomes of $100,000 or more, while only 29 percent had household incomes of less than $30,000.

Moreover, wealthy donors, who have long been associated with the Republican Party, are now giving to Democrats; among them are trial lawyers, who donated a total of $98 million dollars to the 2004 election campaign, of which 71 percent went to Democrats. This is several times more money than was donated by the country's oil and gas industry.

Furthermore, Senator Kerry's campaign raised far more money than President Bush's during the spring and summer -- routinely doubling and tripling Bush's totals each month.

Source: Karl Zinsmeister, "Goodbye 'Regular Joe' Democrat," American Enterprise Institute, September 10, 2004.

 

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