The Donald Vs. The Donors—He Doesn't Need Their Money, But He Does Need America's Votes
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In the modern Republican primary, you don’t compete for voters, you compete for donors. Thus Marco Rubio, who is obviously massively vulnerable with voters because he won election by running against Amnesty and promptly became a major backer of the Gang of Eight Amnesty/ Immigration Surge bill, nevertheless took a step closer to consolidating the Republican Establishment around his candidacy by gaining the support of Open Borders billionaire Paul Singer. As Fortune noted:
Wanted by who? Marco Rubio, for one!Singer, the 71-year-old founder of hedge fund Elliott Associates, is not only one of the Republican party’s largest individual donors but is also regarded as especially influential among wealthy Republicans—the kind of campaign backer who can spur others to follow him.

[Billionaire investor Paul Singer backs Marco Rubio, by Jack Dickey, October 31, 2015]

As a kind of afterthought, we are told among Singer’s main causes are “same-sex marriage and U.S. support for Israel.”

Rubio’s campaign welcomed its new plutocratic overlord:

Alex Conant, a spokesman for Mr. Rubio, welcomed the endorsement, adding, “We know we have a lot of work to do before Marco wins the nomination, but clearly this moves us in the right direction.”

[Paul Singer, Influential Billionaire, Throws Support to Marco Rubio for President, by Maggie Haberman and Nicholas Confessore, New York Times, October 30, 2015]

Needless to say, publicly celebrating this news is self-discrediting if you are trying to combat the idea that GOP politicians are just errand boys for their donors. But the Beltway Right has never been known for self-awareness.

Singer’s own background shows his passionate attachment to mass Third World immigration is unlikely to be driven by humanitarian concern. His holding company has been described as a “vulture fund” characterized by its ruthless tactics in forcing impoverished Third World countries to pay down their sovereign debt to Wall Street [This Vulture-Fund Billionaire Is the GOP’s Go-To Guy on Wall Street, by Peter Stone, Mother Jones, September/October 2013]. Intentionally or unintentionally, he’s actually helping drive mass immigration by making life worse for Africans and Latinos in their own countries.

Yet even though this should seem unseemly, both the Main Stream Media and many candidates are now increasingly open about how the primary season has essentially been a complicated audition to convince a small circle of millionaires and billionaires to crack open their checkbooks. The candidates of the GOP “Establishment” are in fact nothing more than front men for a small groups of people capable of putting up multi-million dollar donations.

Jeb Bush and his Right to Rise PAC had the initial advantage, as Jeb was able to tap the Bush family’s already established network to raise an astonishing $103 million over the first six months of 2015 [Meet the Megadonors Bankrolling Jeb Bush’s Campaign, by Russ Choma, Mother Jones, July 31, 2015]

However, Bush’s performance thus far has made his donors nervous, leading to the pathetic spectacle of Jeb having to personally reassure his donors that he’s still a worthwhile investment [Jeb Bush tries to reassure jittery donors after lackluster debate, by Sahil Kapur and Michael C. Bender, Bloomberg, October 29, 2015] And Bush is even having to lay off staff and cut pay. [Jeb Bush’s struggling campaign cuts pay, staff positions, by David Jackson, USA Today, October 23, 2015] Where could the money have possibly gone?

Jeb was so easily caricatured as a creature of his donors that the trope emerged of “Establishment” and “Outsider” candidates. Though useful, the categories sometimes conceal more than they clarify. For example, Carly Fiorina has consistently been classified as an “Outsider,” even though her renegade status is due entirely to her inability to win a Senate election against Barbara Boxer.

But it was her combination of “Establishment” and “Outsider” qualifications which made Carly Fiorina the next contender in the donor sweepstakes, as she drew the attention of T. Boone Pickens and the Koch Brothers after her strong performance in the second Republican debate [Koch brothers, other 2016 mega donors warm to Carly Fiorina, by Michelle Conlin, Reuters, October 4, 2015] However, she’s since been reduced to picking a fight with the shrieking harpies of The View in order to stay relevant [Carly Fiorina to appear on The View Friday Amid ‘Demented Face’ Controversy, by Alex Griswald, Mediaite, November 2, 2015]

With Singer now backing Rubio, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, another early favorite, also loses much of his rationale for staying in the race, despite doing well in the third debate. Already hurting for cash, it’s hard to imagine the New Jersey governor ever getting his desperately-needed funding [Stile: Deficit in fundraising raises doubts for Christie camp, by Charles Stile,, October 17, 2015]

Thus, the GOP Establishment is moving towards consolidation as pressure increases on Jeb and other candidates to make way for Rubio. Not a moment too soon for the Establishment—Donald Trump leads the polls even in Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush’s home state of Florida. The only way Rubio can win is if Bush drops out.

Without Bush in the race, Rubio’s support jumps 8 points and puts him just 3 points behind Trump, 24-27. Bush, though, doesn’t benefit if Rubio exits the race. Without Rubio on the ballot, Trump’s support moves up to 28 percent and Ben Carson and Ted Cruz vie for second place. Bush remains in fourth place, with 17 percent support.

This is a death-knell for the Bush campaign. The Republican establishment gains nothing if Rubio drops out of the race. If Bush drops out, however, Rubio is in a strong position to win the state next March. Bush has ample resources in his Super PAC to challenge Rubio, though. He could mortally wound Rubio, but it isn’t clear that he would benefit.

[Trump leads Florida thanks to Rubio, Bush split, by Mike Flynn, Breitbart, November 2, 2015]

This is dangerous for Trump, as he is competing for voters with Ben Carson and Ted Cruz (who is being backed by newly independent Tom Tancredo.) But luckily for Trump, Bush is not giving up.

Even as this is written, Jeb’s new slogan, “Jeb Can Fix It,” is trending on Twitter. Despite much mockery, Bush is gamely trying to relaunch his campaign, targeting both Trump and Rubio in a speech in Tampa [Jeb Bush Vows Not to play ‘angry agitator’ Amid ‘Jeb Can Fix It’ Tour, by Candace Smith, ABC, November 2, 2015]

Trump had better hope Jeb can pull it off, as a divided Establishment is precisely what he needs as he prepares to take the fight to Rubio. In yet another unforced error, a Super PAC supporting Trump was shut down after being accused of being too closely tied to the campaign.

However, Trump has turned this setback into a possible advantage by crusading against Super PACs and challenging other candidates to close their own [Trump pushes his call to end super PACs at GOP debate, by Brent Johnson,, October 28, 2015]. Trump is also making up for his blown opportunity to attack Rubio on H1-B visas during the third debate by trying to make Disney’s replacement of its American workers an issue in the campaign.

Though Trump is certainly not a polished politician, his ability to quickly recognize mistakes, recover, and go back on the offensive is proof he still knows “The Art of the Comeback.” But we can expect the H1-B visa issue will be explored in detail in the upcoming Fox Business debate on November 10 [Claws Out: Fox Business Promises “Real Debate” on November 10, by Christine Rousselle, Townhall, November 1, 2015] Trump can’t afford another display of ignorance. If Trump is unable to draw blood, or, worse, loses an exchange, the GOP Establishment will continue its consolidation around Rubio. Meanwhile, Trump will be more vulnerable to defections to Carson or Cruz.

As the hysteria from the consultant class and the Beltway Right makes clear, the Trump campaign is a formidable challenge to the control of Open Borders donors over the Republican Party. As the plutocrats already control the Republican Congress, Trump may represent the last chance for the Republican Party to actually be influenced by its voters, as opposed to directly run by Wall Street donors and their paid shills.

Trump’s stance on immigration and personal charisma may have driven him to the top of the polls. But to win, he’ll need to confront and displace the financial powers pushing for open borders. That confrontation might come as soon as next week.

And when Trump directly confronts Rubio at a debate, we’ll know whether the Trump campaign is really the movement that American patriots need, or just another false start.

James Kirkpatrick [Email him] is a Beltway veteran and a refugee from Conservatism Inc.





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