The new scarlet letter in politics is "R"—as in "Rich."
From Hillary Clinton to congressional, gubernatorial and state-legislature candidates around the country, wealthy candidates are getting pummeled on the campaign trail because of their large fortunes. Once seen as symbols of the American dream, today's wealthy candidates are trying desperately (and often awkwardly) to deny their wealth and appear as middle class, everyday Americans.
The most heated class battle is taking place in the Illinois governor's race. Billionaire private equity chief Bruce Rauner is getting pilloried for his nine homes and $53 million in income in 2012. As he admitted to the Chicago Sun-Times, "I'm probably .01 percent."
News that Rauner belongs to an exclusive wine club, called The Napa Valley Reserve, that typically costs more than $100,000 to join has been a boon to his populist opponent, Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn.
"You just can't get more out of touch than Republican billionaire Bruce Rauner," Izabela Miltko, a spokeswoman for Quinn, said in a statement Tuesday. "While enjoying a luxury $140,000 wine club membership, Republican Bruce Rauner actually proposed to cut the minimum wage."