Academic studies of voter behavior indicate that “most voters decide on incumbents based largely on a retrospective judgment of the economic situation during the last year or so.” We talk about principles and values and ideologies but most of us vote our pocketbook.
* quote taken from The New Yorker, June 18, 2012, p. 54
Wanna talk some more about pocketbooks and politics?
Talk is cheap. Running for office isn’t. In the 2010 election cycle, just 26,783 Americans – that’s less than one percent of one percent of our population – gave $10,000 or more to support candidates for public office.
In other words, the total number of voters who gave $10,000 or more would fill only two-thirds of the 41,222 seats at Nationals Park, the baseball field two miles from the U.S. Capitol.
These 26,783 are the people who have access to government. These are the people whose voices are heard. These are the people calling the shots. “Unlike the other 99.99% of Americans who do not make these contributions, these elite donors have unique access. In a world of increasingly expensive campaigns, The One Percent of the One Percent effectively play the role of political gatekeepers.”
* from The Political One Percent of the One Percent by Lee Drutman, Dec. 13, 2011
Most people say, “I’d give if I had any money, but I don’t.” But the evidence indicates otherwise. Fully one third of America’s net worth is controlled by the wealthiest one percent of our population. But the dollars that control Congress aren’t coming from one percent of the population; they’re coming from one one-hundredth of one percent. In other words, 99 percent of the top one percent is choosing to contribute nothing but their own yap-yap-yap.
I remember a little Pekingese dog who sat on a grandmother’s porch and said bark-bark-bark. Bark-bark-bark. But he was never gonna bite anybody. He just liked to bark.