Thanks to a Supreme Court ruling which somehow equates freedom of speech with the ability to make giant campaign contributions, 2016’s batch of presidential candidates are being largely funded by a mere 60 wealthy individuals, where the 2016 candidates could likely feel pressure to reward their political donors with political gifts and favors like never seen before. As one example, Texas Senator Ted Cruz had his entire three month campaign donation amount from smaller donors matched by a single $11 million donation from a New York based hedgefund manager, Robert Mercer. And, donors who have contributed $100,000 or more to the presidential campaigns of all the candidates as a collective whole have received nearly 50% of all donations from these larger donors.
Large real estate, investment, business and other special interests are the majority of the larger donors, where the expectation wish list could include weaker banking, trading or environmental regulations as political favors in exchange for bankrolling some candidates drive to gain office. Some large businesses may see this as an investment strategy, where they donate large amounts to candidates and later save millions more in lower business costs. Further, it will be difficult for elected officials to turn a deaf ear to the political demands of their largest donors.
Efforts over the years to weaken the influence of big special interests in politics were turned back by the Supreme Court’s decision allowing big money and big influence to creep back in full force in our political system where the voice of millions of voters now matter far less than the voice of a relative handful of huge donors, stacking the political system in their favor.