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Our Democracy Is Doomed: Match the Plutocrat to the GOP Candidate He Owns

May 14, 2015 in Blogs

By Evan McMurry, AlterNet

The 2016 GOP race is expected to bring out billionaires bankrolling their candidates.

“Whether it's the Koch brothers or Soros on the left or Sheldon,” former GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich recently said, “if you're going to have an election process that radically favors billionaires and is discriminating against the middle class—which we now have—then billionaires are going to get a lot of attention.”

Those are, pun intended, rich words coming from a man whose 2012 candidacy was almost single-handedly bankrolled by a billionaire casino magnate. More than anybody, Gingrich profited from the new limitless heights of election spending, as $15 million turned Gingrich from a disgraced former speaker to a viable presidential contender, the first in four decades to win South Carolina without taking the White House.

The 2012 GOP race was marked by the presence of billionaires anointing candidates with their millions and gaining outsized influence over the outcome, duration, and policies of the GOP primary. The 2016 race, only a couple months old, looks to be following the same course. Here are the candidates the billionaires are looking at so far.

Sheldon Adelson

Adelson, the 12th richest man in America at an estimated $32 billion, may be the biggest single figure in Republican politics. With seemingly endless amounts of money to spend and a monomaniacal focus on neoconservative foreign policy, Adelson not only gains the attentions of GOP candidates but also skews their policies. The right doesn’t lack for pressure to support Israel, but Adelson makes that support a dealbreaker.

Is there a more gauche way to put that? “It is not complicated for Republican politicians to come to the RJC and say they’ll stand with Israel,” said Senator Ted Cruz, speaking at Adelson’s summit in as Vegas recently. “Unless you’re a blithering idiot, that’s what you say when you come to the RJC.” Yes, but usually that’s the part you don’t say out loud.

In 2012 Adelson spent $100 million, the most of any single donor, with $15 million ultimately going to Gingrich’s otherwise floppy campaign. This year hopefuls like Cruz, Rick Perry, and Scott Walker, …read more


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