Among the losers in the United States this week are the super-rich, who spent unprecedented millions to evict President Barack Obama from the White House. The investing class turned sharply and vociferously against the president many of them had supported in 2008. On Tuesday night, the plutocrats lost their shirts.
“Boy, they threw away a lot of money,” Theda Skocpol, a Harvard professor, told me. “It was very interesting to hear on Tuesday night about all the corporate jets packed in Logan Airport” for Mitt Romney’s party in Boston.
One of the important questions in the United States today – and, eventually, in all democracies where income inequality has risen sharply, which is to say in pretty much all democracies – is what impact the political ineffectiveness of the super-rich at the ballot box will have on how the country is actually governed.
According to Skocpol, the answer will be determined partly by how we collectively choose to explain the president’s second-term victory.
“There will be an attempt to downplay the role economic populism played,” Skocpol said. “I would expect a lot of the Wall Street Democratic crowd to place the emphasis on social issues and immigration. There will be an effort to define it that way.”