Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Donor Denial Big Contributors Can't Control the Gop Nomination Process

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Donor Denial Big Contributors Can't Control the Gop Nomination Process

Article excerpt

Rarely do the country's two most important newspapers have competing articles on their front pages on the same day with opposite takes on the same underlying story, but we got that Tuesday.

"A Crowded GOP Field for 2016 Encounters Donors Reluctant To Commit Early," reads the online headline in The Washington Post. "G.O.P. donors seek to anoint a 2016 nominee early," says The New York Times.

Both can be true in their own way - there may be a sentiment among big donors that uniting behind a candidate would be a good thing, but they certainly haven't settled on one.

In either case, though, there's a myth at work. The myth says that presidential primaries in general, and the Republican primary in particular, are processes that can be controlled - by billionaires or anyone else.

It's in almost everyone's interest to maintain this myth. The likes of Sheldon Adelson want to believe it not only because it justifies their involvement, but also because it's in their nature. They've mastered the business world and rule over legions of underlings who will do whatever they say. They issue commands and see them carried out. When they get involved in politics, candidates come before them in supplication.

And since those candidates want the donors' money so desperately, it's in their interests to feed the donors' belief that they can determine who wins and who loses. Raising the tens of millions required to win the nomination does indeed require the help of a lot of ultra-wealthy donors, but that help is necessary but not sufficient to secure victory.

No one's going to tell the donors that, though, because everyone wants their money to keep flowing. The candidates want it, the consultants want it and even the media feed the idea, by reporting on their role in the process, which no doubt serves to convince the donors that they really are the vital ingredient of candidate success. …

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