Military donors step left
A new report by the Center for Responsive Politics' online Capital Eye newsletter finds that the percentage of military donations to Democratic presidential and congressional candidates has risen, from 23% in the 2002 pre-Iraq war election cycle to 40% since Jan. 1. That's a significant erosion of allegiance from the military's traditional political favorite, the Republican Party.
Barack Obama has benefited the most, raising $27,000 from uniformed military people, the report said. And while that amount is parking-meter money for a campaign that has drawn more than $50 million, it is an interesting barometer of the mood among military voters. Not insignificantly, the top military dollar-getter among the Republicans, with $19,250, is U.S. Rep. Ron Paul -- the only Republican presidential contender opposed to the war. According to the Capital Eye report:
"In the 2000 and 2002 election cycles, uniformed service members gave about three-quarters of their federal contributions to Republicans. The percentage dropped to 59 percent in the 2004 cycle and has remained there since. This shift toward Democrats is most visible among members of the Army, who gave 71 percent of their money to Republicans before the war began. So far this year, members of the Army have given a mere 51 percent to the GOP, spreading their contributions nearly evenly between the two major parties."
While there's one theory that the shift of cash to the Democrats reflects growing diversity in the military, donations among civilian Defense Department employees has also shifted, suggesting disenchantment rather than diversity is at play.
-- Scott Martelle