We haven’t been following the ‘Occupy Wall Street‘ (and ‘Occupy Other Cities‘) stories too closely, but they do seem to be picking up steam in the main stream media. When we heard that Unions, a core Democratic constituency, were taking up the cause of the protesters it piqued our interest. We had to ask: what party stands to benefit most from the “Occupy Wall Street” Movement? Following is a chart of political donations from Wall Street (labeled ‘Securities & Investment’ companies in the data at Open Secrets). Read on!
(Editor: Please also see our chart of Republican and Democratic investments in Wall Street firms)
Republican Gains in Donations…
Interestingly, the Democratic advantage in Wall Street donations reversed with the wave election in 2010. It’s true that money flows to those in (or soon to be in) power, and with Republicans now in control of the House of Representatives they continue their financial advantages in Wall Street donations. At first glance, it is easy to suspect that if Democrats can leverage the protests and paint Republicans as being in the pockets of Wall Street it would be to their electoral advantage in 2012. Additionally, it sends a message to Wall Street that Democrats are able to rally protesters and it might be a good idea to close that pesky donation gap for the current election cycle.
Of course, things are never that simple! There are two places where that strategy can backfire. First, Wall Street firms might perceive a Democratic embrace of the protesters as anti-Wall Street, and adjust their donations even more to the Republican column. Another huge problem is the massive donation gap on the Democratic side of the ledger in 2008 – $24,000,000 more flowed to the Donkeys than the Elephants. 2008 was, of course, a Presidential Election year, so it is possible that the Democratic party is playing with fire. Can the Democrats paint the Republicans as huge beneficiaries of Wall Street largess without getting any paint on President Barack Obama? It’s probably too soon to tell, but let us know what you think in the comments below!