Every week brings more news of the growing Republican advantage in raising money and spending it on advertising.
The most widely discussed donation this week was the $10 million gift from casino mogul Sheldon Adelson to the pro-Romney Super PAC Restore Our Future. As The New Republic’s Alec MacGillis notes, “For Barack Obama’s campaign to match the $10 million, it would need to get checks from 181,818 donors giving at the average Obama donation amount of $55.” The scary thing about Adelson’s donation is not even its massive size; it’s the fact that Adelson could give much more. Adelson had said he was willing to give his initially favored candidate, Newt Gingrich, up to $100 million. He could easily afford to give Romney far more than that. As Forbes pointed out, “Adelson is worth $24.9 billion.… Given that he’s one of the 15 richest people in the world, the Sands chairman could personally bankroll the equivalent of entire presidential campaign—say, $1 billion or so—and not even notice. (The $10 million donation he just made to Romney is equivalent to $40 for an American family with a net worth of $100,000.)” Indeed, since he has said that this is the most important presidential election of his lifetime, it makes sense that he would.
Democrats have little power to combat this disproportionate influence given to the very wealthy. The best they can do is try to explain to the public that Republicans receiving such generosity from individuals like Adelson are effectively in their pockets. “Instead of United States of America, maybe he wants it to be ‘United States of Adelson,’ ” said Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel (N.Y.) on MSNBC. It’s better than nothing, but it’s not better than $10 million.
Meanwhile, continuing a trend I first reported on back in December, Wall Street is investing heavily in the Romney campaign. In 2008 Wall Street finally came to realize that the Republican Party’s habit of irresponsibly mismanaging the economy and budget—and the unwillingness of much of their coalition to do logical things to prevent global economic meltdown, such as lending banks money to boost liquidity—means they are better off with Democrats. They overcame their historical affinity for the GOP and gave more to Obama than McCain. Obama has rewarded them with more bailouts, soft regulation, no prosecution of the malefactors behind the mortgage-backed securities crisis, and extension of the Bush tax cuts. Their way of thanking him has been to donate far more to his opponent, who says he would not have voted to raise the debt ceiling, and thus forced the United States to default on its debts and send the bond markets into a tailspin. Politico reports, “Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign and the super PAC supporting it are outraising Obama among financial-sector donors $37.1 million to $4.8 million. Near the front of the pack are 19 Obama donors from 2008 who are giving big to Romney. The 19 have already given $4.8 million to Romney’s presidential campaign and the super PAC supporting it through the end of April, according to a POLITICO analysis of Federal Election Commission filings. Four years ago, they gave Obama $213,700.”