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New York Magazine ran a piece today about the collective freakout from big pocket donors in the financial industry. There's "tremendous fear" that Democrats will nominate someone who'll force them to do something socially embarrassing like vote for Donald Trump. Look, they don't want to do it, but Democrats might give them no choice.

Democrats on Wall Street, the supposed "masters of the universe," say they're trying to save the party from a hostile takeover by the loony left. Bernie Sanders is "too crazy" to even imagine in the White House (and when you consider who's already there, that's saying something). And while they see "co-front runner" Elizabeth Warren as "less crazy" and "way more competent" than Sanders, she scares the pants off the average Gordon Gekko.

"She would torture [the financial industry]," one banker told me. "Warren strikes fear in their hearts," explained a New York executive close to banking leaders from both parties

We're so old we remember when we copy-and-pasted this from Rebecca yelling at Jamie Dimon, because it was right now:

You know who went out of his way to not put any of you fuckers in jail? Barack Obama. And how did you respond? You whined that he had poisoned your relationship and also wept you were having your heads cut off like the French Revolution, because Barack Obama said "maybe don't give yourself a billion-dollar bonus this year, on account of you should actually be in jail."

So it is ... rich maybe that the Wall Street people who were already whining about Democrats being too GOSH DARN MEAN TO THEM are whining more, harder, uncutter about it now.


"The anti-corporate, anti–Wall Street direction of the Democratic Party is driving Democrats into the Trump camp, which is, in most cases, the last place they want to be," said Kathryn Wylde, CEO of the Partnership for New York City, the business group that counts among its members all of the city's major financial institutions

Hillary Clinton raised more than four times what Trump did from the financial crowd. It wasn't because she was a neo-corporate shill (seriously, that's not why). It's just that people who make money for a living weren't stupid enough to place their bets on someone with a history of bankruptcies and shady business deals. But that was 2016 and Trump was just a racist demagogue. Now it's almost 2020 and Trump is a racist demagogue who signed Paul Ryan's tax scam bill. He's your typical awful Republican, and that's worth a second look if the alternative is Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez in a fake mustache.

WYLDE: The fact that [Trump's] raised as much money as he has is a reflection of how many Democrats are holding their nose and supporting him because they feel demonized by the Democrats.

Oh, did that mean old Lizzie Warren with her 40 whacks of progressive policy hurt the widdle feelings of rich assholes? She really crossed the line with her "No Child Left To Starve" plan. Trump is reported to have a "narrow advantage" among the "people with means" who normally donate to Democrats.

Over coffee recently in midtown, an investment pro with a long history in Democratic politics described the struggle to resist the unexpected pull of Trump. "What matters more?" he asked, looking up at me. "My social values or my paycheck?"

That's not supposed to be a dilemma. The answer, according to all recorded fiction, is your "social values." Sure, Jean Valjean, the hero of "Les Miserables," violated ethical codes around stealing, but he was starving and only took a loaf of bread. Access to bread for hedge fund managers isn't a problem. They probably even have croissants. So their concern is less about survival but more about how much of their insane wealth they should keep for themselves (shorter answer: All of it Katie). That's what's tempting them to "hold their nose" and vote for Trump? We recall the line from the Bible: "What does it profit a man to gain the world but lose his soul?" The "investment pro" would probably respond to this literally: "OK, I've lost my soul, but I have gained the world, which had a closing price today of $100 trillion." We're guessing he doesn't really have any "social values."

Early this month, 20 or so major Democratic donors from the financial industry gathered for a dinner of unicorn steaks and dragon blood wine. They spitballed ideas for escaping their current predicament.

"How do we come up with an alternative?" asked one person at the dinner.

It sounds like a bunch of sleazebags trying to produce a focus-group-tested patsy to run against Trump. Who do they have in mind? There was Beto O'Rourke, whose record in the House was a "centrist-shaped blank slate." There's also Pete Buttigieg, who once worked for McKinsey and Company. Mayor Pete might come from the Rust Belt but he "talks like a Silicon Valley exec." But these white boys are a long shot.

Cory Booker and Kirsten Gillibrand had "cultivated relationships" with Wall Street, but they've also started hanging with the cool commie kids. There's always Joe Biden, a moderate oasis in the left-leaning desert, but the fat cats aren't bullish on his chances of beating Trump.

Kamala Harris was a favorite of many in the room.

C'mon! You're gonna do our sister like that? She supports Medicare For All. She wants to pay teachers in real US currency and stick you rich creeps with the tab. And a universal basic income? She's got something like that too, both for rent and just general taking your ill-gotten hedge fund money and making it rain on poor and middle-class folks. If you think Kamala Harris is your all-day, fool-flavored sucker, then ... well, sure, give her all your money right now.

[ NYMag]

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He recently fled Seattle, where he did theatre work for Book-It Rep and Cafe Nordo.

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