Evidence appears to be mounting that the Obama administration has systematically targeted for closing Chrysler dealers who contributed to Repubicans. What started earlier this week as mainly a rumbling on the Right side of the Blogosphere has gathered some steam today with revelations that among the dealers being shut down are a GOP congressman and closing of competitors to a dealership chain partly owned by former Clinton White House chief of staff Mack McLarty.
The basic issue raised here is this: How do we account for the fact millions of dollars were contributed to GOP candidates by Chrysler who are being closed by the government, but only one has been found so far that is being closed that contributed to the Obama campaign in 2008?
It seems to me that if there were really politically motivated moves than we wouldn’t be seeing any dealers who contributed to Obama being closed. This basically fits into the conspiracy theory mode which many on the far right think in. They see the result but have failed to really look at the facts, and they think that because the propose one possible theory for the results there is reason to think it is true.
Megan McArdle points out that ” Democratic and Republican dealers are unlikely to be found in the same place, and the rural counties that tend to be red are probably less profitable.”
Nate Silver actually did the leg work to look at the dealerships which were not closed and found that they were overwhelmingly owned by Republicans. If most dealerships were owned by Republicans it only makes sense that most of those which were closed would be owned by Republicans. He also points out:
It shouldn’t be any surprise, by the way, that car dealers tend to vote — and donate — Republican. They are usually male, they are usually older (you don’t own an auto dealership in your 20s), and they have obvious reasons to be pro-business, pro-tax cut, anti-green energy and anti-labor. Car dealerships need quite a bit of space and will tend to be located in suburban or rural areas. I can’t think of too many other occupations that are more natural fits for the Republican Party.
Update: The Auto Prophet reviewed the data and came to the same finding that there was no obvious political bias in the closings, finding “Chrysler dealers (and probably all auto dealers) who donated for the 2008 election cycle overwhelmingly supported the Republicans.”