“How Republicans and Big Business Broke Up”

The Wall Street Journal has a deep dive, including great graphics, on the dwindling role of corporate money in financing Republican campaigns. “Instead, they are turning to smaller donations from millions of individuals who tend to be wary of big-businesses priorities such as free trade.”

I’m not sure whether the structure of campaign finance laws has contributed to this development. The story instead points to a cultural realignment within American politics: “Conservatives say the fault for the breakup lies with CEOs who increasingly meddle in politics by taking progressive stances on divisive social issues.”

But whatever the causal relationship here, I wonder whether this development can prompt the business community to consider support for electoral reform. As I noted yesterday, the traditional wing of the Republican party is being squeezed out of significance (and even existence) because of the way the structural relationship of partisan primaries operates in connection with plurality-winner general elections in an era of increased populist-fueled polarization. The traditional wing of the Republican party is of course associated with the business community. Therefore, the business community has an interest in exploring electoral reforms that would counteract the “center squeeze” resulting from the way the existing system is currently operating. Maybe the business community can help educate the remaining traditional GOP politicians on this point and, more broadly, help broaden a coalition in favor of electoral reform to adopt measures to redress this “center squeeze” problem–so that electoral outcomes can correspond more accurately to the views of the electorate’s median voter, consistent with the basic democratic principle of majority rule.

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