This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, May 16, 2016:
Blame the Federal Reserve. Or better yet blame the political elections, which H.L. Mencken considered as “advance auctions of stolen goods.”
It now takes a billion dollars just to lose an election. That’s why Hillary Clinton has such an advantage, at least at the moment. A month ago the New York Times reported that, so far, Clinton has raised $262 million for her campaign compared to Trump’s $51 million. In 2012 the presidential campaign (not counting primaries) cost Obama’s and Romney’s campaigns $2.6 billion and, according to Investopedia, 2016 is likely to shatter that record, perhaps touching $3 billion, or even more.
So the announcement last week that T. Boone Pickens (a modest billionaire, if there is such an animal) endorsed Donald Trump for president and even offered to host some fund raisers for him, was Page Three news.
What hit the headlines on Friday, however, was Sheldon Adelson’s endorsement, which was backed up with a big check: $100 million. That’s about what Adelson spent in 2012, on 34 separate races. Only this year, according to insiders familiar with the casino mogul’s intentions, Adelson (above, with his wife Miriam) is going to pour it all into Trump. Wrote Adelson in the Washington Post:
While the primary cycle still has some important elections ahead, it is clear that Donald Trump will be the Republican nominee for president.
I am endorsing Trump’s bid for president and strongly encourage my fellow Republicans – especially our Republican elected officials, party loyalists and operatives, and those who provide important financial backing – to do the same.
The alternative to Trump being sworn in as the nation’s 45th president is frightening.
Adelson then added:
If Republicans do not come together in support of Trump, Obama will essentially be granted something the Constitution does not allow: a third term in the name of Hillary Clinton.
Some of Adelson’s money will no doubt be wasted, as it must be spread around among several different PACs supporting Trump, each with a difference approach and inevitable overlap. It’s a start, but that’s all it is.
Adelson has expressed misgivings about billionaires buying elections. Back in 2012 he said: “I’m against very wealthy people attempting to or influencing elections. But as long as it’s doable, I’m going to do it. Because I know that guys like Soros have been doing it for years, if not decades.”
There might be some positive ripple effect as Adelson’s endorsement might open the wallets of other wealthy Jewish activists who heretofore may have shied away from Trump thanks to his tactless comment about leaving Israel alone to fight its own wars with the Palestinians (tactless, that is, to pro-Israel people like Adelson).
There’s a possibility that Adelson’s endorsement might force the hand of the Koch brothers, who, at the moment, remain on the sidelines. Earlier in the primaries they announced that they wouldn’t attack Trump, as none of the other attacks seemed to faze him or his campaign. The Kochs may also still be smarting over the $200 million they blew on losers in 2012, and aren’t willing to risk any of their estimated $300 million 2016 political pot until they can be assured that Trump would really be a better candidate (from their point of view) than Hillary. Aside from his Trumpian bombasts and his shoot-from-the-hip style, the Koch’s have made it clear that they differ significantly over Trump’s immigration platform.
Trump is no fool. He is already backing away from a comment he made last fall when rumors surfaced that Adelson was considering funding Marco Rubio’s campaign. Trump tweeted: “Sheldon Adelson is looking to give big dollars to Rubio because he feels he can mold him into his perfect little puppet. I agree!” Trump side-stepped away from that comment on Friday, saying “I know that people maybe like me and they form a super PAC, but I have nothing to do with it. So we’ll see what happens.”
That’s exactly how a deal maker makes deals: he takes what he can get and gives up as little as possible to get it. What Trump really needs, aside from many more big checks like Adelson’s, is the Republican Party’s state-wide infrastructure: voter databases and local experienced skill sets offered by the party’s loyal members, such as strategic planning, phone banks, mailing piece stuffers, door knockers and so on.
It’ll be interesting to see how much Trump is going to be forced to give up in terms of his so-called ideology in exchange for the bucks and the organization that he’ll need to win in November.
New York Times: Which Presidential Candidates Are Winning the Money Race
Investopedia: How Much Will it Cost to Become President In 2016?
Wall Street Journal: Sheldon Adelson Endorses Donald Trump
Los Angeles Times: Mega donor Sheldon Adelson backs Donald Trump
The Wall Street Journal: Sheldon G. Adelson: I Didn’t Leave the Democrats. They Left Me