Revolted Colonies

U.S. Politics and Culture

Category: Campaigns

Tapped Out and Brassed Off: No More Donations

Money in politics

I’m on a first-name basis with Barack, Michelle, Joe, Hillary, Chelsea, Senator Al (Franken), somebody named Jess and somebody else named Nick.  All my new BFFs write to me, some of them every day to tell me about their opponents’ character defects, and they always ask for money. Not a lot, $5.00 here, $25.00 there, or $50.00 if someone is really sore aggrieved about something.  Lately it’s been about the FBI, but it’s mostly about Donald Trump.  And there’s always a deadline, a crisis, a one-stroke-of-midnight tone to these messages. I wasn’t ready for these desperate pleas for support. I thought that’s what families were for.

Work for (a) Change 

Every time there is a tick in one of the polls, the Clinton campaign turns that tick into a nick for cash.  “Ohio’s up? Help us seal the deal! Ohio’s down? Help us save the U.S. as we know it!” We’re a week away from Election Day.  As of September 30th, Clinton had $385M cash on hand compared to $40M for Trump. Her campaign and its affiliates took in $101M through October 19th, while Trump raised $29M during the same period. Clinton had $62M on hand. On the other hand, Trump had to kick in $31M of his own money to keep the doors open —and he never invests his own money. With a week to go, they’re still spending and whining about money. Frankly, my dears, I don’t give a damn.

The Clinton campaign has been going on for two years. Democrat-affiliate Super-Pacs have been at it even longer.  I contributed to Bernie (“$27.00 —would you like a receipt?”). When Bernie folded, I backed Hillary, even though I am not an ardent supporter.  But seriously, does it ever stop?

The Politics Industry

The answer is No, it doesn’t. Political fundraising is perpetual.  After Obama won, fundraising continued without stopping for a breath. “Support the Agenda.” Then it was issue-driven, against Citizens United, among other things. Now, we get Super-PAC fundraising to limit Super-PAC fundraising? Only in America.

What do you call a perpetual campaign? you call it an industry. Politics for both parties is a business, and together they form an industry. After all, if campaigns were limited to 60–90 days, all the pros would have nothing to do the rest of the time. Pollsters, organizers, lawyers, accountants, and policy wonks would be cashiered. Our contributions keep the politics industry rolling. Our campaign system is a retort to anyone who says that politicians don’t create jobs. They create jobs for themselves. 

None of this fundraising is illegal. In fact, in our end-stage capitalist nation, it is the official language of politics. The Supreme Court said so itself in Citizens United. When I give money to a campaign, I’m not just speaking; I’m also investing, but I have no voice in how the company is run. I don’t get stock, interest or dividends. 

Brassed Off

The only thing I can do is to cap my investment, which is what I’ve done. So, Barack, Michelle, Joe, Hillary, Chelsea, Al, Jess and Nick: I’m turning off the spigot. No more money for 2016. I’m tapped out. But by all means, write to me next year when you’ve got your first quarterly report, and I’ll decide if your company’s prospects look good.

© 2016 The Revolted Colonies. Reprinted with permission.

You’e Fired!…and You’re Fired…and You’re Fired!

Molotov-Cocktail-psd37320

 

It took Donald Trump exactly two days to undo his new Teleprompter demeanor and turn his campaign on its head again. He demoted campaign manager Paul Manafort in favor  of Stephen Bannon and Kellyanne Conway, a team calculated to walk Trump back further into the political wilderness.

No matter what you thought of the content of Trump’s recent speeches, the fact that he was delivering them in a more conventional style gave the impression that he was starting the all-important pivot from sideshow freak to politician. In fact, the Celebrity Apprentice Candidate reality show was continuing off-camera the entire time. The pivot, when it came, turned away from the center, not toward it.

It’s been all bad news for the Trump campaign lately. Poll numbers are going through the floor. He was blaming his opponent, Hillary Clinton, until recently, when he declared the media as the true scourge and President Obama and Clinton as the founders of ISIS. He dog-whistled his Second Amendment friends what to do when President Hillary Clinton nominates Supreme Court Judges unacceptable to the Duck Dynasty crowd.  This situation cried out for a campaign chief who knows how to put out fires. Instead, he hired someone who brings his own Molotov Cocktails.

Stephen Bannon is now CEO of the campaign. He is the former chairman of Breitbart News, the late Andrew Breitbart’s conservative e-zine for the Torch and Pitchfork Crowd.  A former Goldman Sachs investment banker turned Sarah Palin acolyte, Bannon was named the Most Dangerous Political Operative in America in October 2015 by Bloomberg News. For example, Bannon thinks that Fox News is too soft and needs to take the gloves off.

Kellyanne Conway was promoted to campaign manager. Conway is a lawyer and pollster.  She had been a GOP operative since 1988.   Trump first tried hiring Conway while she had been running Ted Cruz’s super-PAC. When his campaign collapsed, Trump hired her initially to improve Trump’s image with women.

The story within the story is that Manafort had been a compromise choice, acceptable to the Republican National Committee and Trump.  After six weeks, Trump’s campaign was failing and, hey, you can’t fire the candidate, can you?

Actually, the RNC had been working on trying to dump Trump but hadn’t found a way out of its mess. After exploring the legal and electoral consequences, it reallocated its resources to protect the down-ballot candidates in the House and Senate, where the GOP currently holds majorities.  Its hold on the Senate is tenuous and especially troubling.   Retaining Senate control is the key to blocking any of Clinton’s judicial nominees.

Finally, the RNC pulled back on its operational support. This, in turn, caused Trump to fire the RNC symbolically, by canning Manafort.    Hiring Bannon was Trump’s declaration of war.  Trump accompanied this staff turnover with the announcement that he will not pivot. Trump’s going to dance with the one who brought him, even if they both fall off the dance floor.

© 2016 The Revolted Colonies

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