Democrats led the loud public outcry against the Supreme Court decision in the 2009 Citizens United case, which allowed corporations to spend unlimited money on election communications. Democrats and other leftists complained the decision would lead to corporate control of elections and, ultimately, corporate control of the government. The outcry implied the Republican Party was already in the hip pocket of big business, and that the Democrats were the last stalwarts opposing government becoming the dispenser of privileges and subsidies to corporations.
But a careful look at the historical record reveals that while both parties backed crony capitalism with tax dollars long before Citizens United, the Democratic Party has been a far more reliable supporter of crony capitalism than the Republican Party. And it continues to be so.
House Democrats voted in favor of bailing out Wall Street banks with TARP by a margin of 172-63 back in 2008 — a full year before the Citizens United decision. Rank-and-file House Republicans actually opposed the bank bailout 91-108, despite intense pressure by the Bush White House and congressional leaders of both parties (who all voted for TARP).
The TARP vote only strengthened the Republican opposition to taxpayer subsidies for corporations through the rise of the Tea Party movement, which is the only faction of Congress today that offers any serious opposition to corporate subsidies.
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