An examination of contributions of $500 or more, using the Huffington Post's Fundrace website, shows that employees of the top five arms makers - Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop-Grumman, Raytheon and General Dynamics -- gave Democratic presidential candidates $103,900, with only $86,800 going to Republicans. Senator Clinton took in $52,600, more than half of the total going to all Democrats, and a figure equaling 60 percent of the sum going to the entire GOP field. Her closest competitor for defense industry money is former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney (R.), who raised $32,000.This is both a huge problem and an opportunity for people on the left like myself. If she's elected with corporate support, Hillary Clinton would be eager to solidify that support. And with good reason. As anybody who reads the literature on the power elite like William Domhoff's Who Rules America knows, the corporate sector is by far the most powerful and influential part of American society. Democratic administrations are in a particularly complex situation in relation to big business. Where the Republicans basically want to give business everything they could possibly desire, the Democrats have to weigh the interests of business against core Democratic constituencies like white liberal reformers, environmentalists, labor, feminists, and African-Americans. Business hostility can destroy a Democratic administration and contributed greatly to the failure of the Carter presidency. But the Democrats can't be successful without the enthusiastic support of core liberal constituencies either and they were reminded of that by the Nader candidacy in 2000.
The inevitable outcome for a Hillary Clinton administration would be a triangulation between business, liberal constituencies, and Democratic political interests. But the situation has changed since Bill Clinton's administration. During the Bill Clinton years, the right-wing was ascendant, business was extremely aggressive, and liberal reformers were on the defensive about social issues and driven away from the table in relation to the economy. In 2008, the right is going to be more of a a nuisance picking away at the Democratic administration than an influence.
At the same time, business is going to be somewhat chastened. The Bush administration and the Republican Congress gave business everything they wanted but expected that business would become a subsidiary of the Republican Party in return. The corporate elite didn't appreciate that. Eight years of right-wing government might also have convinced business that they respect the right even less than they like the labor, the left, and social reformers.
In this light, I believe that both a Hillary Clinton administration and the corporate sector will be disposed to compromise with liberal politicians and their activist constituencies. In fact, figuring out those compromises will be much of the work of the next Democratic administration.