In 2008, a full 20% of President Obama’s campaign contributions came from Wall Street banks, getting considerably more money from the big financial interests than John McCain did. Why? Because he was winning and corporate money will usually flow to the winner. So now that Obama has taken a clear lead over Romney, will that money start to flow back into his campaign coffers? Noah Millman says the answer may be yes.
The second number to watch is fundraising totals. The business community – Wall Street in particular – has been overwhelmingly supportive of Mitt Romney this year. But that is neither typical – there was a lot of support for Obama last time around, from Wall Street in particular – nor particularly wise if a Romney victory is doubtful.
Paul Krugman suspects that the Romney campaign’s attempts to spin away President Obama’s poll lead is an effort to prevent corporate donors from hedging their bets by donating to Obama as well. I doubt that – spinning is what campaigns do; they don’t need a reason. But he’s right that if it looks like Obama has a good chance of winning, he should suddenly discover that Wall Street and other corporate donors who have been shunning him become much more generous. President Obama’s fundraising numbers have already been perfectly respectable, but if they become substantially better than respectable that will be another sign that the smart money thinks this game is probably over.
With the Republicans in power, the big corporations know they’ll get pretty much whatever they want. With the Democrats in power, they can still get most of what they want because they know they can throw enough money around in Congress to make sure any really damaging legislation is turned to their advantage, or at least much less to their disadvantage. That is why Obama was so hemmed in politically when it came to health care reform that he had to drop the public option.