Why you should care
Because these 1 percenters are flocking to an unlikely candidate.
What’s it like to be Sugar Daddy Warbucks? Likely white, middle-age, a Silicon Valley tech guru or some New York business tycoon with money to burn, or so says SeekingArrangement.com, which facilitates partnerships between cash-strapped coeds and wealthy benefactors. In fact, users of the site averaged a net worth of $5.2 million in 2015.
One more thing in common: Most sugar daddies are feeling a “Bern”-ing sensation, according to a survey of SeekingArrangement.com users.
Almost a third of sugar daddies who reported donating to a presidential campaign this year backed Bernie Sanders.
Despite being card-carrying members of the 1 percent that Sanders so often rails against, 345 sugar daddies reported donating to the Vermont senator, with Donald Trump (291) and Hillary Clinton (174) as the next biggest recipients. “A lot of people see Bernie supporters as ‘Bernie Bros,’ which is the opposite of what you might think of as a sugar daddy,” says Brook Ulrick, a spokesperson for SeekingArrangement.com, who adds that in 2012, most sugar daddies reported donating to Barack Obama. More than a thousand deep-pocketed donors with loose views on relationship norms said they gave to campaigns — and just as they bankrolled the aspirations of their sugar babies in return for time and favors, dozens of these men paid cold hard cash to help fuel the ambitions of candidates such as Ted Cruz and Ben Carson.
Millionaires with private limos and corporate ties seem like odd supporters for a socialist who wants to break up big banks and raise taxes on the nation’s highest earners. But it may be a matter of who has your heart … and your ear. Older Clinton-to-Sanders converts do so “because of the presence of young voters in their life who are excited about Bernie,” Ben Jealous, a top Sanders surrogate and strategist, told OZY in April. Plus, what tells a millennial “I love you” better than donating to their favorite white-haired septuagenarian?
And one shouldn’t underestimate the power of the paycheck. As Sanders talks about the need to create free college, sugar daddies are especially sensitive to the ballooning cost of tuition and student loans — because it’s usually they who are the ones footing the bill for their young paramours. Then again … “I don’t think sugar daddies give a damn,” says strategist Taylor Jones, who helps sugar babies navigate their relationships. There’s also the question of survey methodology — this is a user poll, not research backed by hard science. Jones isn’t surprised by the results though. “Sugar daddies are more inclined to align themselves with the thinking of a Bernie Sanders because they want the control (that) money gives them over people.”