Democrats Cozy Up to Wall Street


Here’s a headline worth noting: “Democrats beat Republicans in 2005 Fund-Raising on Wall Street.” My suspicion has always been that the Democratic Party has snuggled ever closer to the financial industry over the past decade partly because it’s one of the few corporate sectors that doesn’t conflict in an obvious way with any other major liberal interest group.

Democrats have to get corporate donations from somewhere, the thinking goes, and the financial sector doesn’t usually clash overtly with labor unions. It’s not part of the military-industrial complex. It doesn’t pillage the environment. It screws over ordinary voters in opaque and non-obvious ways. What’s not to like? Indeed, it’s a pretty natural ally for a “liberal” party in dire need of campaign cash.

The downside is that a party that jumps in bed with the financial sector is going to end up backing the sorts of anti-progressive measures—from the recent bankruptcy bill, to financial deregulation, to inflation targeting by the Fed—that all strike me as just as malignant, if not more so, than, say, an energy company donating to Tom DeLay in exchange for the right to pollute or pour MTBE into our drinking water or whatever. And increasingly, the Democrats are doing just that. In some ways, it would almost be preferable if, say, Hillary Clinton was getting her money from ExxonMobil and Halliburton, rather than Citigroup and MetLife. (Okay, probably not, but you get my point…)

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

Share your feedback: We’re planning to launch a new version of the comments section. Help us test it.