Normally Wall Street–much as it does even if in direct conflict with clients’ interests–hedges its bets when it comes to campaign contributions, donating equal amounts to both Democrats and Republicans. Not coincidentally it generally reaps similar benefits from each. How else can you explain Bill Clinton’s near dismantling of the derivatives market and imploding of Glass-Steagall? Occasionally however Wall Street comes across a candidate it revels in despising to its very core, and it has apparently found that candidate in Elizabeth Warren.
Warren more than doubled the fundraising totals in the first three months of 2012 of her Republican opponent Scott Brown. This fact alone is not all that interesting, as Brown is perceived as being vulnerable in the 2012 election. It is not surprising that campaign cash is finding its way to Warren given that the Democrats have an interest in winning back the seat once occupied by Ted Kennedy, most notably because recent polling has been favorable to the Harvard professor.
What is interesting is the staggering advantage that Scott Brown continues to maintain over Warren in campaign contributions from Wall Street. Brown has a thirteen to one advantage in raising cash from the financial, securities and investment sector. Warren is a well known proponent of investor rights. She served President Obama as an economic adviser helping to set up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and would have been tapped to head up that agency if President Obama had not caved to pressure from conservatives and Wall Street who claimed that Warren would be incapable of regulating fairly.
We certainly should not read into this that challenging and outing Wall Street represents a new and lucrative blueprint for electoral success. This course of action remains an almost certain path to election day suicide for the rank and file candidate. However, the strange times in which we live wherein Occupy Wall Street is able to occupy time on even the most conservative media outlets may just lift Warren to victory, and with any luck will provide the American public with a real voice on their behalf in fighting for investor rights.
I find it interesting that Wall Street, through its near complete ostracizing of Warren, indicates it has no faith in its own ability to corrupt her once she is elected. Many Mr. Smith’s have waltzed into two-party Washington with grand ideas of righting wrongs and vindicating the rights of small investors and the public generally, only to leave having governed much more like Bill Clinton. Quite frankly Wall Street has disappointed me this time, much like each of the pitchers who intentionally walked Barry Bonds during his record-shattering year. But Wall Street doesn’t like a challenge, which is why they hedge their political bets and dump billions into investments that are in direct conflict with their clients to begin with.