Ross cites some notable figures given by Michael Franc about the profile of donors to the different parties, but I have to call a foul when I see someone refer to John McCain as a “populist,” even if it is just in passing. If McCain is a populist, I am a Sandanista. Aside from his silly gas-tax pander, which is also not really populist and is exactly the kind of phony economic populism you would expect from him, McCain has almost never taken a position that one could confuse for populism (i.e., supporting a wide distribution of wealth and power or having government actually serve the interests of citizens).
One reason why Democrats are hauling in more CEO and corporate donations is that they are poised to dominate the government, or at least increase their majorities in both houses. The donations are a kind of insurance. If the Congressional GOP didn’t have the look of a three-day old horse carcass that had been picked clean by vultures, they would probably be getting many of the donations that are now going to the Dems, and they were getting many more such donations in the bad old days of the DeLay era. Nonetheless, corporate donors have been more generous to the Democrats generally since the ’90s when the Clintons began cultivating friends in the the financial sector. The other reason is that there is obviously no connection between being a top corporate executive and being interested in what the GOP is selling if the Democrats are perfectly willing to accommodate you. In many ways, corporate executives, especially those who work for multinationals, are going to be more inclined to the views of progressive globalists, and the latter will often find the Democratic Party more amenable to them on a host of issues. What seems to be missing from this analysis and from Ross’ response is any discussion of the GOP leadership’s complete disconnect from its own political base in its consistent, egregious tilt towards corporate interests. One of the continuing problems that will bedevil Ross and Reihan’s project, which has some worthy elements, is that the GOP has been and will to some degree always be a party that more often than not serves corporate interests. They aren’t going to act like a “working-class party” anytime soon. That has its merits and flaws, but it means that those Sam’s Club Republicans will continue to have their interests unrepresented.