With Donald Trump’s unorthodox and vitriolic campaign seeming to suck up all the oxygen on the planet, it is easy to lose sight of a core truth this election has revealed: A presidential contest between a billionaire and a multimillionaire does not magically lessen the influence of the wealthiest over our elections and public policy. If anything, the sagas of Trump and Hillary Clinton only illustrate the scope of a much wider problem. Let’s start with Trump, who despite professing to be worth billions of dollars has stepped away from an unfulfilled promise to self-fund his campaign. During the primaries Trump billed himself as the only candidate not beholden to the big donors. A year ago he explained: “By self-funding my campaign, I am not controlled by my donors, special interests or lobbyists. I am only working for the people of the U.S.!” Never mind that Trump never fully funded his campaign and that his only plan to fix our broken campaign finance system has been to elect people too rich to be bought by other rich people. Now, facing the need to raise or spend hundreds of millions of dollars to stay competitive with Clinton and the fundraising of Democrats and their allied super PACs, Trump has given in, not only raising money for his own campaign but giving the green light to the supportive super PACs he used to scorn.
Trump is coming late to the funding game, but he is now hoping to close the money disparity with Clinton and the Democrats by winning support from Sheldon Adelson, who contributed between $98 million and $150 million in the 2012 elections but is resistant now. He also reached out to the Koch brothers. Although the Kochs are not supporting Trump directly, their massive voter registration and get-out-the-vote efforts for Republicans, especially Senate candidates, could well benefit Trump in closer states.
And then there is Clinton, who between stints as secretary of State and presidential candidate gave speeches to groups like Goldman Sachs and others who wanted to stay in her good graces. Goldman Sachs gave her $675,000 for giving three speeches. Why did she take the money? She told Anderson Cooper “Well, I don’t know. That’s what they offered.” More truthfully, that’s what she charged.
Full Article: Even Trump and Clinton need big-money donors: Column.