Somehow, the titans of the Democratic Party seem to have forgotten about a cataclysmic event that wiped out at least 40% of all middle class wealth in America. It was only a decade ago, and yet we are still getting bewildering reports out of the Wall Street class of Democrats. Per a must-read NYMag report on the temper tantrum currently taking place amongst the chief donors in the Democratic Party:
Democratic donors aren’t especially worried about policy; few have sussed out where candidates stand on Dodd-Frank or the carried-interest tax loophole, and few believe that, aside from Sanders or Warren, any contenders are likely to make an aggressive new push for regulation as president. What agitates them instead is — in a replay of the alienation they felt during the Obama presidency thanks to a few stray “fat cats” comments — how Democratic rhetoric threatens their sense of status. No moment crystallized the new reality more than when former Colorado governor John Hickenlooper — a centrist candidate who was a prominent business owner in Denver before entering politics — refused to even call himself a capitalist in a Morning Joe interview in March.
The puppet masters who oversaw the worst economic collapse since the Great Depression say that their fee-fees are hurt by how many people are upset over their failure, plus the fact that no major Wall Street executives were imprisoned for overseeing an event described like so, in the seminal book about the crisis, All the Devils are Here:
Moody’s [a ratings agency] Eric Kolchinsky forwarded some UBS research to colleagues. It showed that in a sample of III mezzanine asset-backed securities [Collateralized Debt Obligations], the triple-B tranches could expect losses of 65 percent and that the losses would extend into the triple-A tranches [the highest rated securities]. Kolchinsky quoted the UBS report to his colleagues: “This is horrible from a ratings and risk management point of view; perhaps the biggest credit risk management failure ever,” it said.
Quotes like this (from NYMag) also don’t help these Wall Street donors’ reputation as purely self-interested divas with absolutely no moral compass whatsoever:
Over coffee recently in midtown, an investment pro with a long history in Democratic politics described the struggle to resist the unexpected pull of Trump. “What matters more?” he asked, looking up at me. “My social values or my paycheck?”
Elizabeth Warren should just run these two sentences as a campaign ad:
“She would torture [Wall Street],” one banker told me. “Warren strikes fear in their hearts,” explained a New York executive close to banking leaders from both parties — so much fear that such investors often speak of the U.S. senator from Massachusetts, a former law professor and consumer advocate, as a co-front-runner with Sanders.
Wall Street is the literal representation of the Israelites bowing to the golden calf at the base of Mount Sinai, and a significant chunk of major Democratic movers and shakers cannot seem to grasp the basic concept that most of the country is still upset over an event where we lost roughly half of everything, and these schmucks got paid back in full—AND no one went to prison for committing clear financial crimes. These are not trivial matters, the 2013 LIBOR scandal was a staggering $500 trillion fraud, and it conveniently disappeared from our capitalist media coverage overnight.
The Democratic Party is being shifted left not by Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, but by the base, which is absorbing two new, far more liberal generations—who also double as the two largest in human history. The notion of “running to the middle” (meaning: do whatever the donors quoted in this NYMag report say) being the “safe” option when Democrats are winning roughly three out of every four millennial women is dubious at best. Democratic donors are losing power because of the reality that no matter how much money you spend, votes ultimately matter more to politicians than money.
This NYMag report makes it clear that nearly all candidates other than Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg (and Kamala Harris, to a sneakily quiet degree) are making Wall Street donors feel alienated. There seems to be a calculation being made by not just the Sanders and Warren campaigns, but also by “centrists” like the Beto campaign, that there are more votes to be had opposing the capitalist class than they could purchase with Wall Street’s money. That is a significant shift in the status quo that is leading these Wall Street donors to show their true colors:
“I mean, honestly, if it’s Bernie versus Trump, I have no fucking idea what I’m going to do,” one Democratic hedge funder told me. “Maybe I won’t vote.”
This is not about Bernie and Warren. They are simply candidates who are representative of a significant chunk of the Democratic Party. There is a direct line between Obama’s astonishing anti-establishment rise in the wake of the Wall Street-fueled 2008 collapse and the anti-establishment lean of actual centrist Democratic candidates like John freaking Hickenlooper today.
People are upset because the richest among us are as wealthy as they have been in a century, while GoFundMe is one of the larger health care insurers in America. Things are bad, and it’s thanks to the capitalist class’s economic policies like the “biggest credit risk management failure ever” and their dutiful politicians in both parties blindly doing their bidding to aid their legalized casino. It’s a new day in the Democratic Party, and no matter how much kicking and screaming the wealthy children on Wall Street do in public, it will not change the fundamental notion that this is no longer their political party. It’s ours now.
Jacob Weindling is a staff writer for Paste politics. Follow him on Twitter at @Jakeweindling.