The Republican Donor Class Hopes to Avoid a Populist Nominee

In my “Race and the 2014 election” I discussed the continuing racial polarization of America and how the Republican Party has become the party of Whites — that Whites of both sexes and all social classes and age groups are voting Republican. This includes the White working class, despite the fact that the White working class does not favor the plutocratic policies of the Republican donor class. Commenting on the 2014 Congressional elections, I sketched the argument that a more populist Republican candidate that appealed to the White middle and working classes could win.

The problem, of course, is the donor class:

What the Republicans need is a candidate who would cultivate the nurse on her second shift et al. rather than the Chamber of Commerce/Wall Street JournalAdelsonZuckerberg, pro-immigration, pro-wars for Israel crowd where the big Republican money comes from. (The Wall Street Journal  refers  to the anti-open borders folks in the GOP as “the yahoo wing.”) Romney likely could be president now if more Whites who were turned off by Romney’s plutocratic image had voted (“Race and the 2014 election” see also “A Party of Plutocrats Has No Future”).

Given the obvious reality that the interests of the donor class are wildly different from those of the White base, the donor class has come up with a strategy to avoid input from the base during the GOP primaries: Decide on a consensus candidate before the primary season and thereby short circuit the entire process. Of course, they claim it’s because they think it will help them against Hillary and save them some money. But the real reason emerges about halfway through the article. From the New York Times (“G.O.P. Donors Seek to Narrow Field of Presidential Candidates to One“):

Dozens of the Republican Party’s leading presidential donors and fund-raisers have begun privately discussing how to clear the field for a single establishment candidate to carry the party’s banner in 2016, fearing that a prolonged primary would bolster Hillary Rodham Clinton, the likely Democratic candidate.

The conversations, described in interviews with a variety of the Republican Party’s most sought-after donors, are centered on the three potential candidates who have the largest existing base of major contributors and overlapping ties to the top tier of those who are uncommitted: Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, former Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida and Mitt Romney. …

But the reality of all three candidates vying for support has dismayed the party’s top donors and “bundlers,” the volunteers who solicit checks from networks of friends and business associates. They fear being split into competing camps and raising hundreds of millions of dollars for a bloody primary that will injure the party’s eventual nominee — or pave the way for a second-tier candidate without enough mainstream appeal to win the general election.

Of special concern, no doubt, would be a “second-tier” candidate who was a populist conservative who opposed the immigration amnesty and wanted to change immigration policy to improve the labor market for middle and working class Americans. Indeed, there is fear that the “center right,” business as usual, chamber of commerce-type candidates favored by the donors would lose to such a candidate in messy and contentious primary battles:

“If you are philosophically a center-right donor, I think you have an interest in clearing the field,” said Bobbie Kilberg, a top Republican fund-raiser in Virginia with ties to Mr. Romney and the Bush family. “I think that’s important because there is clearly going to be a competition of philosophies for who is going to be the presidential nominee. And I firmly believe that person has to be from the center-right.”

But talk of an establishment coronation is likely to incur the wrath of party activists and outside groups seeking a more conservative nominee. (My emphasis)

Admittedly, agreeing on a candidate prior to the primaries is a great strategy for the donor class. It’s a strategy that reinforces the idea that America is an oligarchy, not a democracy.

But they should realize that there are a great many White voters who will not be attracted to their Chamber of Commerce candidate. These voters will stay home in 2016, just like they did when Romney ran in 2012. And the Republicans will lose once again.

Indeed, the greater disaster would be if this strategy succeeded and the donor class got its center-right president.

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