As Heritage’s Michael Franc documents again today, the Democratic party is rapidly becoming a party of rich cultural elites:
Through May 1, the Democratic presidential field has suctioned up a cool $5.7 million from the more than 4,000 donors who list their occupation as “CEO.” The Republicans’ take was only $2.3 million. … Wall Street firms, long a symbol of American elite accomplishment, also tilt decisively toward the Democrats. Employees in storied Wall Street institutions such as Lehman Brothers, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, and Morgan Stanley have all favored the Democratic field by a large margin. … Professors favor Democrats over Republicans by a nine-to-one margin ($3.7 million to $430,000).
Who favors the Republicans? … Republican presidential aspirants holds a nearly three-to-one edge among janitors, custodians, cleaners, sanitation workers, factory workers, truckers, bus drivers, barbers, security guards, and secretaries. While Democrats command the financial loyalty of architects, Republicans successfully woo contributions from the skilled craftsmen who turn their blueprints into reality — specifically, contractors, hardhats, plumbers, stonemasons, electricians, carpenters mechanics, and roofers.
Caught in between the demands of the Democrat’s new wealthy base and its old hard working middle class constituents are the Blue Dog Democrats. Despite the strong headwinds in Democrats favor, of the 48 member Blue Dog caucus, 12 are fighting completive races this fall. One might think a caucus of this size could pull some legislation their way, but on issue after issue the Blue Dogs have heeled to their new rich masters:
- Immigration: Enforcement First immigration policy is extremely popular in Blue Dog districts and Rep. Heath Shuler (D-NC), has even authored a bill supported by the conservative immigration group Numbers USA. Problem is, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) will not allow any movement on the effort. Republicans are spearheading a discharge petition to force a vote, and they have 186 of the required 218 signatures so far, but Pelosi has been able to twist enough Blue Dog arms to keep the bill off the House floor.
- FISA: Republicans are also pushing a discharge petition on common sense reform to our nation’s Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), but again Pelosi is blocking this effort as well. 21 Blue Dogs sent Pelosi a letter in January urging her to pass the much needed reform, but Pelosi completely rebuffed them.
- Supplemental Spending: Most recently Blue Dogs have made noise about not supporting Democrat efforts to tack billions of dollars in unrelated spending onto the latest Iraq/Afghanistan war spending. Blue Dog Rep. John Tanner (D-TN) explained: “Some of us oppose creating a new entitlement program in an emergency spending bill, whether it’s butchers, bakers or candlestick-makers.”
We’ll see if the Blue Dogs finally follow through this time.