Pundits have feasted on Barack Obama’s recent musing that Pennsylvania’s rural citizens “cling” to their religion and guns out of embittered economic desperation. Thus far, they have focused on whether Obama is an elitist who views religion as a crutch and whose copy of the Constitution somehow lacks the Second Amendment.
More important, though, is whether Obama’s remarks reflect the emerging demographic transformation of the Democratic party from a bottom-up “party of the people” into a holding pen for all sorts of economic and educational elites. One way to test this is to look at who has been making presidential campaign contributions during the 2008 election cycle. Thanks to the way the Federal Election Commission collects this data, we can sort contributions according to a donor’s occupation or employer.
The Democrats’ penetration of America’s elites is evident when we look at how the two parties fare among those at the very top rungs of corporate America.