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Why is Wall Street leaning left?

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If you take a close look at the numbers you’ll notice that in recent years Wall Street has started leaning left.

Commercial banks and their employees have been donating more cash to Democrats.

Joe Biden has dramatically outpaced Republican President Donald Trump in total fundraising during the final months of the campaign ahead of the Nov. 3 election.

That's is also true when it comes to winning cash from the banking industry.

That, as Reuters correspondent Pete Schroeder will tell you, is a big change.

“As the years have progressed, we're finding that banks are giving more to Democrats than they had in the past. It used to be a very tilted playing field with most of the money going to Republicans. And now what we're finding is that it's practically even and even some high-profile candidates are actually out-raising their Republican counterparts in some key races.”

So how has Wall Street split its money during the 2020 election cycle?

We looked at the data compiled by the Centre for Responsive Politics.

Joe Biden and his campaign have pulled in roughly $3 million from commercial banks, compared with just over $1.4 million for Donald Trump.

By comparison, in 2012, Republican candidate Mitt Romney pulled in nearly $5.5 million from banks and their workers.

Barack Obama received less than half of that, nearly $2 million.

But why the change?

Well it has a lot to do with the 2009 financial crash.

“What we've been hearing from the industry is that they're really looking to rebuild their bipartisan credibility among both parties. Ever since the financial crisis of 2009, the banking industry has seen its reputation take a pretty significant hit. And in the subsequent years, when Democrats were pushing very restrictive regulations on the industry, it was a very uneven political dynamic with banks pretty heavily in the corner of the Republican Party. But now that time has kind of come and gone and things have settled down a little bit, what you hear from the banks is they want to be able to support members of both parties because they say that they understand that, if anything, any of their policy priorities were ever to become reality, they need to have buy-in from both parties. So they want to make sure that they have allies in both the Democratic and Republican Party.”

So who else is getting the money?

Stripping out Trump and Biden, the next top recipient is the anti-Wall Street progressive and former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.

He’s received more than $800,000 during the 2020 election cycle.

It may seem counter-intuitive, but Sanders tops contributions from many industries due to his grassroots following among millions of Americans, including those who work at banks.

That suggests many bank employees favour more progressive lawmakers than the industry’s leadership.

"I think it makes for a much more complicated political landscape on Wall Street. I think in the years after the crisis, it was a fairly clean break of Wall Street, which pretty much well aligned with the Republican Party, because that's where the policy priorities were. And now what we're seeing is it's much more nuanced than it ever has been before."

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