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Beware the Ides of March: The Wall Street 1% vs. the Trump 1%

3 min read

Modern Money

March 15 marks the Ides of March. As the soothsayer warned Julius Caesar, “Beware the Ides of March.”

It is still unclear who will play the role of the doomed Caesar, but today’s “Third Super Tuesday” is likely to bring about the death of either Donald Trump’s presidential aspirations or the power of Wall Street political donors.
But few people realize tomorrow isn’t just about the Republican Party fighting for its identity and the shape of its future. It represents a clash of 2 percents. It is the “1%” versus the “Other 1%”. Wall Street’s 1% versus Trump’s 1%.

Why call it Trump’s 1%? The answer lies in a simple pop quiz:

How many Americans have voted for Donald Trump thus far in the primary season?

The answer is 4,347,768.

The funny thing about that number is that it represents just about 1.3% of Americans: The Trump 1%.

For better or worse, a shockingly small percentage of Americans have managed to bring about massive change. The Trump 1% has reshaped not only the Republican Party, but also the entire American political landscape. Despite all its money and all its planning, the Wall Street 1% has been unable to put down the rise of the Trump 1%.

The Trump 1% is not wealthy. The Trump 1% is not highly educated. One look at a Trump rally reveals his 1% has very little in common with the 1% of other movements, such as the Occupy Wall Street movement. And yet, Trump’s 1% has succeeded where Occupy failed. Trump’s 1% has usurped the “powers that be” in the Republican Party to place their own chosen one on the precipice of being the presidential nominee of one of America’s two major political parties.

How did we get here?

In the early days of the 2016 presidential primary season, the Wall Street 1% was foaming at the mouth to shape the election to its liking. Financial news outlets and newsletters that ostensibly cover financial news spent months covering with baited breath the money flowing into the 2016 presidential campaign.

Which candidates were the billionaires going to back?

Hillary was in, but what about the GOP?

Was Mitt going to run again?

Will Jeb! make a run?

Whew, Mitt is out and Jeb! is in.

Wall Street has its candidates. Let the fundraising shock and awe begin!

Of course all the navel-gazing about which candidate Wall Street’s “smart money” was going to support only highlighted the short memories of the financial world’s kingmakers. After all, the majority of Wall Street’s “smart money” went to Mitt Romney in 2012 and we all know how that turned out.

Nevertheless, the Wall Street 1% thought it had things sorted out and the 2016 presidential election would go their way. Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton are both cozy with the financial services industry, so there was no way the Wall Street 1% could lose.

And then Brutus – in the form of the phenomenon that is Donald Trump — arrived on the scene.