We have all seen it, a slew of contestants vying for the attention and affection of an eligible suitor. Welcome to The Bachelor: U.S. Presidential Primary addition, where the contestants are candidates and the prize is a billionaire willing to shower the lucky winner with an endless supply of campaign cash.
Look, there is nothing new about insanely wealthy interests getting involved in national politics — I’m looking at you, Kennedys, Roosevelts, and Rockefellers. Hell money in politics is practically a national pastime. What is unusual about money in politics today is that the candidates are following the money instead of the money following the candidates. I’ll explain.
The primary for the Kochs, Adlesons, Ellisons, and Steyers is real and being taken seriously by almost all presidential hopefuls. In a very crowded GOP field, landing a big donor can be the difference in extending a campaign to the nomination. Talk about an uncle sugar, ehh Mike Huckabee.
What’s worse is that many candidates are shifting their positions to align with mega donors. As the LA Times reports, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has had to reverse his position on an Export Import Bank, a government-backed agency that lent to foreign investors. The Kochs opposed the Export Import Bank so Jindal had to as well. Texas Governor Rick Perry also once favored the bank, but had to pen an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal about his sudden change of heart.
Need more proof? Take the ethanol subsidy for farmers, a policy that is held sacred to many Iowans. Guess what? The Kochs don’t like it, and now neither do Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio. In case you are not good at seeing irony, this is an unbelievably clear example of how candidates are bending to the will of rich donors instead of the people.
The kind of money that is being poured into early elections is meant to dilute the power of grassroots candidates who rely on their platform and relationship with the voters to propel them into the next primary. Candidates like Bernie Sanders and Ron Paul know this reality all too well. Even though their brand of politics is palatable to a lot of voters, they face serious odds when put against millions of dollars in PAC cash in small primaries.
Sorry America, looks like you will not be getting a rose in 2016.