Visualize a fantasy (as unpleasant as it is to contemplate) that Newt Gingrich is elected president of the United States. Immediately following his inauguration, he has a visit from
Sheldon Adelson, the man who single-handedly revived Gingrich's campaign and can be credited with his fictional election. Would there be any request that a President Gingrich could deny his major benefactor -- maybe a government sponsored monorail running from LA into the lobby of his casino, the diversion of water from needy farmers to run the casino's fountains or something not quite so personally beneficial -- bombing Iran's nuclear facilities!
Major contributors to political candidates justify their contributions on the lofty basis that they wish to support the candidate whose ideas and principles reflect their own. The more truthful ones admit that they are buying access and influence -- particularly those that contribute to both of two rival candidates. But I suspect that contributions of the size made by Mr. Adelson might be expected to purchase a soul or two.
There is something frightening about the ability of one man to affect the outcome of an election, and then contemplate the influence that same person could exert over the candidate, if elected. Of course, both parties suffer from the same danger, but Mr. Adelson happens to be the current poster boy for the consequences of the Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United. I previously published: "Could Democracy be Destroyed in the Name of Free Speech?" expressing my concern for those consequences. I fear that this instance is the beginning of a slow trickle turning into a roaring stream of individuals and corporations buying elections and possibly the candidates themselves. If this trend continues, we may as well just eliminate elections and let the wealthy hold auctions, and the highest bidder could pick the winner. Democracy -- going once, going twice. Sold!
How will Donald Trump’s first 100 days impact YOU? Subscribe, choose the community that you most identify with or want to learn more about and we’ll send you the news that matters most once a week throughout Trump’s first 100 days in office. Learn more