Wall Street doesn’t like to back a loser, and that philosophy applies to elections, too.
In 2006, after years of giving a majority of its contributions to incumbents within the GOP-dominated Congress under President George W. Bush, the Securities & Investment industry gave 52 percent of its contributions to Democrats, just in time for a blue wave.
In 2008, the industry gave 58 percent of its contributions to Democrats, just in time for the election of President Barack Obama.
Stockbrokers and hedge fund managers continued to back Democrats through the first 21 months of the 2010 election cycle — giving Democrats 51 percent of contributions — but as it became clear Republicans would be storming both chambers, contributions shifted right before the election. The industry gave more than 69 percent of contributions to Republicans in the October 2010 pre-general FEC filing period, just in time for a GOP takeover.
During the 2018 election cycle, the 2010 swing is happening again, only this time in the direction of Democrats.
After giving 52 percent of funds to Democrats through the first 21 months of the election cycle, the industry gave 71 percent of its $7.86 million in campaign contributions to Democrats in the most recent pre-general election FEC filing period from Oct. 1 to Oct. 17.
But it’s not just Wall Street that is shifting its political spending toward the non-incumbent party. The widespread change can be seen across several industries that are active political contributors.