While campaigning for Democrats during the 2010 midterm elections, President Barack Obama often made use of an automobile allegory to convince voters why it was a bad idea to vote Republican.
To audiences at campaign stops across the country he more or less explained, “The other party spent a decade driving the economy into the ditch… now they want the keys back. They can’t have them back. They don’t know how to drive.”
Run with this automotive theme and ask yourself, what driver in his or her right mind would leave a car with the engine idling in the middle of the street and not expect someone else to drive off with it?
This captures how average voters in this country have abdicated their influence (if ever exerted) on government decision making — ranging from going to war to whether or not the richest 2% of US citizens deserve an extended tax cut.
So, who has driven away with what we believed was a one-person-one-vote democracy?
Meet the bundlers. In the world of campaign finance, the high rollers aren’t those who merely pony up $5,000 per candidate, per election cycle. The bundlers are the people with deep pockets who can rope in friends and corporate colleagues with deep pockets — to- ante up for the candidate of choice. An April 15, 2007 New York Magazine feature of the Democratic Party’s field of presidential hopefuls, provides a telling profile of such middlemen.
Robert Wolf, Chairman of UBS Americas, became an Obama donor after his first choice, Virginia governor Mark Warner, decided not to run. Though he was courted by other candidates, Wolf wanted to fundraise for a “campaign where his presence would be ‘impactful,’ for a candidate who would take his calls, listen to his ideas. He wanted to feel the love. And while Wolf refuse[d] to speak ill of [Democratic competitor Hillary] Clinton, it’s clear he doubted that, no matter how much dough he raised, he’d never be feeling it from her.”
What writer John Heilemann illustrates so well is the generational divide among wealthy Democratic campaign donorsc — between the established guard who already had a place at the table with Clinton, and those lacking such access. Another young generation bundler who went on to support Obama put the choice more bluntly: