Dem 51
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GOP 49
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She's Got the Money

The billionaire class was lukewarm on Donald Trump for quite a long time, but their enthusiasm for him appears to be heating up. Is this because they've been forced to abandon hope for a more normal Republican to seize the nomination? Is it because he's made clear just how very much "for sale" he would be if he reclaims the White House? Something else? We don't know.

In any case, the latest fat cat to step to the plate for the 34-times-convicted felon is Miriam Adelson, widow of Sheldon. Four years ago, when Sheldon was still among the living, the couple bankrolled the pro-Trump PAC Preserve America to the tune of $80 million. Miriam just announced that she'll be backing Preserve America again, and she implied that her support would be even greater this time than it was in 2020.

What is Adelson buying with her money? We can think of three possibilities. First of all, like her husband, she is an outspoken supporter of Israel. So, she might want the candidate most likely to give PM Benjamin Netanyahu a blank check. Second, Trump and his circle have spent much time and effort in the past half-dozen years kissing the Adelson ring. Some people like being pandered to in this way, especially when the pandering is coming from a sitting U.S. president. Third, and finally, Adelson and her son-in-law have just made an aggressive move, purchasing majority ownership of the NBA's Dallas Mavericks. Their plan is to, in effect, create a Southern Las Vegas. At the moment, there are a lot of laws and regulatory barriers in the way of that plan. A friend in the White House could be useful when it comes to moving aside some of those laws and barriers.

Needless to say, this is not happy news for Democrats. However, there are a couple of silver linings. The first of those is something we have pointed out many times, but that is worth noting again. PACs spend money far less efficiently than campaigns do, primarily because PACs pay more for advertising. So, the impact of that $80 million will be watered down. That said, since it's a PAC that is not directly under Trump's control, Adelson can be reasonably confident the money will actually be spent on the campaign, as opposed to, you know, legal fees.

The second silver lining is that there may be a counterbalancing force about to enter the arena. Melinda Gates, ex-wife of Bill, has just departed the couple's foundation, and is now managing $12.5 billion in charitable funds of her own. Her key area of concern is women and girls, and more particularly, she is concerned with reproductive health and reproductive rights. Melinda just announced $500 million in grants to various individuals and organizations, some of them political in nature (e.g., National Women's Law Center). She also said the total give will be at least $1 billion in the next 2 years. That's $500 million that's yet to be allocated, and it's pretty easy to see some of that money making its way to, say, the DNC or EMILY's List. (Z)

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