Democrats may be considered the party for the middle- and working class, but the politicians in the party tend to be far from working-class themselves.
Candidates from working-class jobs made up just 4 percent of both Republican and Democratic candidates in nationwide surveys of people campaigning for state legislatures in 2012 and 2014, according to Nicholas Carnes in The Guardian. Carnes is an associate professor of public policy at Duke University and author of the book, “The Cash Ceiling: Why Only the Rich Run for Office – and What We Can Do About It.”
Why is this so? For one, it takes a lot of money to campaign and be a politician.
“Contrary to the cherished ideal of a government of and by the people, Americans are almost always governed by the very privileged,” Carnes wrote.
He added, “The president is the billionaire head of a global business empire. His cabinet is mostly millionaires. Most members of Congress are millionaires. Most supreme court justices are millionaires. Millionaires make up less than 3 percent of the general public but have unified majority control of all three branches of the federal government. Working-class Americans, on the other hand, make up about half of the country. But they have never held more than 2 percent of the seats in any Congress since the nation was founded.”
Here are 10 of the wealthiest Democrat millionaires in the U.S. House and Senate, and not one of them is African American.
Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia is considered one of the richest Democratic senators. He amassed his $90.2 million wealth through real estate, energy, and telecommunications, according to Business Insider. He has also been a venture capitalist.
Warner had an early stake in the wireless service company Nextel, which was eventually bought by Sprint. Currently, much of his fortune is held in blind trusts, USA Today reported.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut is worth an estimated $70 million. Blumenthal entered Congress in 2011 and his current term will end in 2023.
Like several other lawmakers on this list, Blumenthal married into his vast fortune. In 1982, after serving for five years as a U.S. Attorney for Connecticut, Blumenthal married Cynthia Malkin, daughter of Manhattan real estate mogul Peter Malkin, USA Today reported.
His wife’s personal fortune is estimated to be in the range of $65 million to $85 million.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California first entered Congress in 1992 and her term won’t end until 2025. With a net worth of $58.5 million, she is the wealthiest woman on Capitol Hill, according to USA Today. Married to Richard Blum, founder of equity investment firm Blum Capital, the couple has stakes in multiple industries including health care, media, retail, finance, and transportation. Feinstein herself has a $25 million-plus stake in Carlton Hotel Properties.
“Feinstein’s financial disclosure statement for 2014 revealed that she had anywhere from $5 million to $25 million invested in a blind trust. She also had between $3.1 million to $7.3 million in various money market accounts,” Investopedia reported.
Rep. Scott Peters of California has an estimated net worth of $32 million, mostly from investments he made with his earnings from years as a corporate tax attorney when he took on many high-profile cases, USA Today reported. His wife, Lynn Gorguze, also has a small fortune from serving as president and CEO of private equity firm Cameron Holdings since 1993.
Peters first entered Congress in 2013 and his current term will end in 2021.
Virginia Rep. Donald S. Beyer Jr. has an estimated net worth of $31.2 million which he made not while in Congress but when he was running several car dealerships around Washington, D.C. He was elected to Congress in 2015 and his current term ends in 2021.
Beyer served as the U.S. ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein under former President Barack Obama, Business Insider reported.
Rep. Suzan DelBene of Washington has an estimated net worth of $28.4 million. A former techie, her wealth was made mostly before she entered office. She served as vice president of mobile connections marketing for Microsoft. Before that, the Democrat launched two successful Internet startups, USA Today reported. She is married to a Microsoft executive.
California Rep. Ro Khanna has raked in about $27 million, mostly from a career as an economist and intellectual property lawyer. Khanna’s wife, Ritu Khanna, is wealthy thanks largely to her father’s work as an executive at investment firm Mura Holdings, USA Today reported. Khanna’s father-in-law, Monte Ahuja, is the founder and CEO of the automotive transmission giant Transtar, Business Insider reported.
Khanna entered Congress in 2017 and his term is set to end 2021.
Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III of Massachusetts hails from the political and wealthy Democrat Kennedy clan. He has an estimated net worth of $18.7 million. He first entered Congress in 2013 and his current term ends in 2021.
Kennedy’s money is old family money, “specifically that of his great-grandfather, who was a businessman, and his great-great-grandfather, who was a co-founder of Standard Oil,” USA Today reported.
The Kennedy family fortune was valued by Forbes as more than $1 billion collectively back in 2014.
Love or hate her politics, there is no argument that Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California is a wealthy woman. The outspoken Democrat and Speaker of the House is worth an estimated $16 million
She has amassed her wealth through the business activities of her husband, Paul Pelosi, who owns and operates California real estate and venture capital investment and consulting firm Financial Leasing Services. Holdings include a Napa Valley vineyard worth about $5 million, USA Today reported.
Her husband, whom she married in 1963, also has invested in Apple, Disney, Comcast, and Facebook.
As for herself, she owns a number of different properties, including several commercial properties that are used as apartment buildings or as office space for corporations as well as properties that can be used as vacation homes or in certain circumstances, homes that are rented out to other tenants, Money Inc. reported.
Nancy Pelosi has long served in Congress as a Democrat, first entering in 1987. Her current term is slated to finish in 2021. She is the only woman in U.S. history to hold this position and the highest-ranking female elected official, according to Wikipedia.
Listen to GHOGH with Jamarlin Martin | Episode 71: Jamarlin Martin Jamarlin Martin discusses how J. Edgar Hoover’s goal to water down and neutralize strong Black politics involved informants and agents trading money and status for the water-down.
Rep. Brad Schneider of Illinois has an estimated net worth of $14.9 million.
The Democrat served the Illinois 10th District from 2013 through 2015 and began serving once again in 2017. His current term ends in 2021.
Much of his wealth comes from his wife, Julie Schneider, whose family started what was the largest privately-owned insurance brokerage in Chicago, USA Today reported.
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