Money can’t buy happiness, but in post-Citizens United America, you can sure as hell buy a presidency.
Forbes has confirmed that billionaire Sheldon Adelson, along with his wife Miriam, has donated $10 million to the leading Super PAC supporting presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney–and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. A well-placed source in the Adelson camp with direct knowledge of the casino billionaire’s thinking says that further donations will be “limitless.”
Adelson, who has built Las Vegas Sands into an global casino empire, will do “whatever it takes” to defeat Obama, this source says. And given that Adelson is worth $24.9 billion–and told Forbes in a recent rare interview about his political giving that he had been willing to donate as much as $100 million to his initial presidential preference, Newt Gingrich–that “limitless” description telegraphs potential nine-digit support of Romney.
One. Hundred. Million. Dollars. And he has literally billions more where that came from. So when Sheldon Adelson buys himself a President, what will he get for his purchase? Even if Adelson spends a mind-blowing billion on this election (and there’s nothing stopping him, frankly) he’s still ridiculously wealthy. And you can bet the expectations are that Romney will give Adelson whatever he wants.
And now keep in mind that Adelson is just one of that many billionaires backing the GOP this year at the local, state, and national level. Every politician in the country is bought and paid for now by the top fraction of the 1%. The rest of us cannot compete with this. And should Romney win due to a never ending deluge of money and attack ads to reach every American voting this year, he’ll make sure that Citizens United will remain the law of the land permanently.
We’re basically screwed as a result. SCOTUS will have to revisit the decision I’m sure, but by then it will be far too late, and with another pair of conservatives on the court or so from a Romney presidency, the game’s over. What’s to stop Adelson and his buddies from putting together a ten or even eleven digit figure and simply buying state legislatures, Governor’s mansions, Congress and the White House?
By no means am I saying we should give up, but the headwinds now are a jet engine pointed in our faces that shoots out bricks of cash. They’re investing billions now to reap trillions later. Can’t beat a return like that.