Money Talks and Trump Walks

DC Politics National Politics

donationsNew Orleans   Anyone who follows politics closely has been waiting for the Gucci loafers to fall, and now that Trump finds himself as the presumptive nominee this self-funding talk is over and dead, as he realizes the general election is six months away, and it’s dialing for dollars, groveling for grub time for his campaign. The consensus price tag these days is $1 billion, so of course Trump, being a total high-low bargaining guy, says he is going to raise $1.5 billion, “no problem.”

Well, there are some problems with this, and they are the typical problems that Trump has been deriding for months of the campaign trail. The piper wants to be paid. There is no free lunch. Go to Wall Street for money and Wall Street in Trump-talk, “owns” you. In the past he accused both Hillary Clinton and Ted Cruz of being bought and sold. What will be the new Trump tune, especially now that we all know his price tag?

All signs are that the big bucks players on the Republican side will want their pound of flesh from Trump before they are willing to come in or they will stay on the sidelines which in these days of big money politics is the final death blow. The Koch Brothers who previously had pledged $900 million this cycle are now dangerously – and for all of us, depressingly — flirting with Hillary. Other big donors are also playing footsie on the issue. Adelson, the big donor from Vegas, is saying “anybody but Hillary,” which will likely be the banner many of them are forced to carry and that some Republican politicians are already belly flopping and crawling behind. Former Louisiana governor, abysmal presidential candidate, and currently unemployed Bobby Jindal, not surprisingly was one of the first to pledge fealty to Trump on the Hillary-will-be-worse caboose.

For all of us little people just trying to keep score it will be interesting to try to watch how far Trump will walk when money talks. He’s been claiming that the superrich, like himself, should pay more taxes? How many days will that position last? He has said he’s against the hedge fund tax dodge called “carried interest” that lets Wall Streeters keep billions from the taxman. How many minutes will that position last? He’s waffled around on the need to increase the minimum wage saying first, let’s go, then, oh no, and most recently as he starts going to his knees to beg for money, he’s saying, let someone else handle this, like the states.

Some signals are pretty powerful as he gets ready to flip the switch from populist disrupter to the new “I’m one of youse” stance with Wall Street and the one-percenters he needs to deliver him money. He has appointed a former Goldman Sachs, Wall Street vet, investment banker, and film financier to head his campaign finance committee to get the game going.

As Trump has said countless times. They won’t give you money for nuthin,’ they’ll all want sumthin.’ Explaining his own contributions to the Clintons’ in the past, he says, politics is “transactional.”

It hasn’t been pretty so far, but this next round will really be ugly.