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Upon browsing the given website, I found interest in the industry category. Specifically, I found the Finance/Insurance/Real Estate industry to be intriguing. This drew my attention because within society, these occupations typically do well financially. “In finance, the labor market values the assets that financial operatives take with them from one firm to another, such as knowledge, know-how and customers” (Godechot, O. 2014:25). When clicking the industry tab on the opensecrets.org website, a chart displays. It shows the 2021-2022 sector totals, with Finance/Insurance/Real Estate being ranked second. It breaks down different percentages of political contributions, recipients, etc. The total amount accrued before splitting it among different avenues was $583,861,509. If one was to just glance at that amount, not knowing where it was all going, they would think everyone in the category knows how to play their cards right. Yet, those who work in this industry are often logical and strategic, so they can receive the best possible outcome.
“After decades of deregulation and innovation, contemporary financial markets remain firmly anchored in law and legal institutions” (Carruthers, B. G. 2020:151). Those in the Finance/Insurance/Real Estate industry often times have to know federal, state, and sometimes local laws. This is where political affiliations can be portrayed, as well. From a sociological perspective, this can be an intense industry to be in. Many in this profession are under high levels of stress and expectations. While these occupations typically due make good money, they also work hard and long hours.
I chose to go to the Open Secrets website and look up the Republican Senator from Kentucky, Mitch McConnell. He is the infamous senator who denied former President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland, a nomination hearing in 2016. McConnell then said that a president could not have a Supreme Court nominee get a hearing in an election year. He argued that the American people needed to decide, in the election, if the same political party should be able to make the momentous pick. Only to go back on that when a Republican president was in office. Of course, in 2020, President Trump nominated judge Amy Coney Barrett for Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. Senator McConnell had no problem with it and rushed her nomination hearing in and got her on the bench in record time. No talk about letting the American people decide at that point.
In looking over the campaign donation of Senator McConnell, it is interesting to visually see that in his elections, every six years, his donations skyrocket. His major contributors are “retired,” which is to say that older Americans are donating to his campaigns. Subsequent are the industries of real estate and then, most importantly, the securities and investment industry. That makes sense since he has voted time and time again to protect low taxes on high-net-worth individuals and associated securities firms, especially on Wall St.
In trying to see how money in campaigns relates to winning elections, one must look at the major Supreme Court decision in 2010, that of Citizens United. It was a decision that allowed for corporations to donate as much money as they wanted to a candidate, albeit in a roundabout way, but the goal can be accomplished nonetheless. This financing mechanism by corporations was adjudicated as free speech. So, a candidate’s supporters could embark on creating Political Action Committees (PACs) and accept unlimited donations and run ads for the candidate and against the candidate’s opponent (Jorgensen, Song, and Jones 2017).
The anti-Citizens United candidates, mostly Democratic and ProgressiveS, are running on the idea of smaller, more numerous donations. No PAC money or donations from large corporations. They are trying to convey that a grassroots campaign is more “of the people, by the people” than those campaigns paid for by huge, conglomerate corporations and PAC money. Arbour states in his analysis that the small donations campaigns are indeed seen as shifting political rhetoric and behaviors of voters, and the power of small donors has begun to challenge the power of the two major party elites (2020).
IN 5-6 LINES, RESPOND TO THIS TWO DISCUSSION BORAD