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Wednesday, December 12, 2018
HomeNewsElectionsWall Street Still Hedges, But Donations Decidedly Swing to Democrats

Wall Street Still Hedges, But Donations Decidedly Swing to Democrats

Graphic concept taking a magnifying glass to Wall Street. (Photo: AdobeStock)

Wall Street Campaign Contributions Shift Significantly to Democrats, Against Donald Trump

Graphic concept taking a magnifying glass to Wall Street. (Photo: AdobeStock)

Graphic concept taking a magnifying glass to Wall Street. (Photo: AdobeStock)

While the securities and finance industry still hedges, Wall Street campaign contributions have shifted significantly over the last two cycles. In 2018, the industry donated more to Democrats than Republicans for the first time in a decade.

The Republican Party, which long had been branded as the party of Big Business, is no longer the top recipient of big money from Wall Street.

In 2018, Democratic candidates and political action committees (PACs) received $57,144,009 in Wall Street campaign contributions, or 62.8% of the total $91,338,283. Republicans received $33,860,538, or 37.2% of total in donations from the securities and finance industry.

That’s the largest disparity between the parties over the 18-year period researched by People’s Pundit Daily. The last time Democrats outpaced Republicans on the Street was in 2008, when George W. Bush relied on his political opposition to pass the Troubled Asset Relief Program, better known as the TARP Bailouts.

Worth noting, less than 1% (0.4%) of the total campaign contributions funded non-major party candidates. While the percentage itself may not sound all that significant, it will be of significant importance later in this series.

The data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics cover donations during the 2017-2018 election cycle that were released by the Federal Election Commission (FEC) on Tuesday, November 13, 2018. The figures are based on contributions from PACs and individuals who gave ≥ $200.

In the 2018 midterms, the broader sector of finance, insurance and real estate followed a similar pattern. Its firms have given $150,087,616 to Democrats juxtaposed to $128,189,429 to Republicans.

2016 Presidential Election Cycle

In 2016, the $53,237,185 in campaign contributions to Republicans made up 54.5% of the total $97,654,259 for that cycle. That compares to 45%, or $44,417,074 given to Democrats.

Most interesting, congressional campaign contributions do not accurately reflect which horse Wall Street backed at the top of the ticket in 2016.

The securities and finance industry contributed $87,965,257 to Hillary Clinton, a stunning 80.8% of the total $108,807,888 given in two-party contributions.

That compares to the $20,842,631 contributed to then-Republican nominee Donald Trump, a paltry 19.2% of the total.

Unsurprisingly, campaign contributions from the broader finance, insurance and real estate sector also heavily favored the Democratic Party’s nominee. The entire sector gave just $37,873,136 to President Trump, while they contributed a whopping $117,318,552 to Mrs. Clinton.

A comparison of previous cycles certainly appears to strengthen the populism argument, meaning Wall Street’s newfound affliction to the Republican Party looks to be more about President Trump and their electoral expectations than it does about the GOP.

In 2012, the Republican Party enjoyed a significant advantage at both the congressional and presidential level.

Top Five Industries
Industry Barack Obama Industry Mitt Romney
Retired $53,389,683 Retired $63,246,113
Lawyers/Law Firms $27,713,018 Securities & Investment $23,047,500
Education $22,631,033 Real Estate $15,470,102
Health Professionals $10,573,639 Lawyers/Law Firms $14,360,501
Civil Servants/Public Officials $9,006,109 Health Professionals $13,050,828

The broader finance, insurance and real estate sector backed Mitt Romney over Barack Obama, $61,034,315 to $21,106,073. In fact, the securities and finance industry was the second largest giver to Mr. Romney at $23,047,500, more than the entire sector gave to Mr. Obama.

What should we take from this data?

First, we should reserve at least a certain level of judgement about the impact populism could have on the trend in the mid- to longterm. Wall Street doesn’t like change because it benefits from status quo markets. President Trump’s brand of economic nationalism had not yet taken a hold in the Republican Party in 2016.

But a lot has happened since, and a lot has made them nervous. Nearly $3 billion in lobbying fees spent to ensure the adoption of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), was wasted.

The renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is another trade reform the sector opposes. The same is true of the Street’s concern for the cost of labor to industry without unfettered legal and illegal immigration.

Clearly, the benefits to the U.S. economy from the president’s agenda are offset by the money firms stood and stand to lose from his presidency. The data indicate Wall Street king-makers are less concerned about the national domestic economy than they are about corporate profits.

(Please note: This article will be updated to reflect proportional breakdowns for the U.S. Senate and U.S. House.)

Written by
Staff Writing Group

Led by R. D. Baris, the People's Pundit, the PPD Elections Staff conducts polling and covers news about latest polls, election results and election data.

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