“Capital leaves the stage and shows ‘political muscles’!” The ugly and cruelty of American money politics has dealt a heavy blow to Trump, who is leaving the White House.
As one of the “most pro-business presidents”, Trump has earned a lot of real money for Wall Street giants and multinational companies in the past four years.
But before and after this election, especially after the Capitol riots, the relationship between American capital and poorly performing Trump has rapidly deteriorated, and more and more enterprises and big funders are “cutting off their seats” with Trump and Republican lawmakers who oppose the recognition of the election results.
German Capital magazine wrote: “Dozens of large American companies are stepping on the brakes, covering almost all areas of the economy, from Wall Street to the oil industry to the big technology companies in Silicon Valley. Money plays a pivotal role in the American electoral system, and this role is often disgraceful.
As a “game trader” of electoral politics, the capital forces of the United States are busy “punishing” Trump and his followers at present, but in the long run, will the big financial owners who are considering their own interests really cut off ties with the Republican Party?
“Abandoned by capital, the Trump brand completely failed”
It is well known that the Republican Party has been regarded as a “party for large enterprises” for decades.
The Republican Party’s support for low taxes and loose regulation is like nectar for corporate giants who are eager to raise profits and avoid government entanglement.
Therefore, CEOs and large companies are reliable sponsors of Republicans on the ballot.
But from October 15 to November 23, the last few weeks of Trump’s fierce struggle with Biden, as Trump’s support fell in the polls, rich Republican finominators basically stopped helping Trump, which became a new sign that they were ready to cooperate with Biden, according to the New York Times reported.
For example, Marvel Entertainment CEO Isaac Perlmatt donated $21 million to Trump’s super PAC “America First Action”, but has not donated to the Trump team since mid-October. In addition, many big funders did not fund the legal war Trump subsequently launched.
President Trump’s business allies began to distance himself from the Capitol Hill riots.
The National Manufacturers Association of the United States, which has thousands of member enterprises, was originally a supporter of Trump, but it was the first to call on Vice President Pence to “use the 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution to remove the president”.
Even some of Trump’s friends who have supported him in the past seem to alienate him. Schwarzman, CEO of private equity giant Blackstone Group and long-time close friend of Trump, has not donated to any pro-Trump groups in recent weeks.
The head of the PGA said that there will be no more championships at Trump Golf Club in New Jersey. Some entrepreneurs also said that they would consider not renting Trump’s “Trump International Hotel” and office buildings next.
German weekly Der Spiegel said on the 17th that “the Trump brand has completely failed”, and now the name Trump is not very useful in the business world.
Whether it’s real estate, golf courses or skating rinks: once precious images have been destroyed, and even European companies no longer do business with Trump.
Some Silicon Valley giants are as thorough as Trump’s cuts. Although Silicon Valley generally supports the Democratic Party, Oracle has also maintained a close relationship with the White House over the past few years, and company executives have also donated money to the Trump campaign.
Oracle CEO Safra Kaz and the company’s founder Larry Ellison argue that the Capitol Hill riots have had a negative impact on Trump’s governing legacy, and the two have had a hot relationship with Trump since 2016. Earlier last year, Trump participated in a fund-raising campaign for re-election at Ellison’s home in California.
More trouble is still ahead. In the past 10 days or so, dozens of large companies, including Bank of America, Disney and AT&T, have announced the suspension of donations to all politicians who support the Capitol Hill riots or refuse to recognize the election results and the political action committees that support them.
In addition to Trump, dozens of heavyweight Republican senators and congressmen such as Cruz and Holly were banned.
According to the Washington Post on the 15th, some American companies said they planned to suspend political donations to 147 congressmen who objected to the election certification results.
Marriott International, the world’s largest hotel group, and the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, the largest health insurance institution in the United States, have all announced the suspension of donations to Republican lawmakers who openly challenged Biden’s election victory.
Chemical giant Dow Chemical said that all political donations will be suspended for any congressman who votes against the election results, which will last for an election cycle of two years for members of Representatives and six years for senators.
After the Capitol Hill riots, several U.S. technology giants, including Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook and AT&T, have said that they would reassess or suspend political donations.
Hallmark Cards, known for making greeting cards, even asked two Republican senators, Holly and Marshall, to refund money. Over the past two years, the company has donated $7,000 to Hawley’s campaign and $5,000 to Marshall’s campaign.
Stripe, an online payment company, also said it would no longer process payments for Trump’s campaign. A Bank of America spokesman said that the “shocking attack on Congress” would affect the agency’s donation decision in the 2022 congressional midterm election.
A former U.S. government official from the Republican Party told the Global Times that Trump and his Republican supporters were abandoned and punished by capital forces because they undermined the “rules of the game” of American democracy, which Trump obviously forgot that the real trader of the game was these capital forces.
Of course, there are a few exceptions. The American Bankers Association, one of the largest donors to Republicans who oppose the election results, currently has no plans to suspend donations.
“In the United States, money is the breast milk of politics”
Another New York Times article, titled “Capital Leaves”, said that some heavyweight investment banks and banks are suspending all political donations. For example, Goldman Sachs will freeze its donations to the PAC and will “comprehensively assess the behavior of politicians during this period”.
However, it is worth mentioning that the Trump administration’s economic team has close ties with Wall Street financial groups, including “Goldman Sachs” – Treasury Secretary Mnuchin has worked for Goldman Sachs and Soros Fund Management Company, and Cohen, a former White House economic adviser, also served as Goldman Sachs president.
JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup, the two largest banks in the United States, said they would suspend all federal donations to Republican and Democratic lawmakers for six months.
Wolf, head of global government affairs at Citigroup, said in a memorandum to employees that “we will not support candidates who do not respect the rule of law.” The memo also said that Citigroup donated money in 2019 to Senator Holly, a Republican from Missouri, who spearheaded the anti-certification of Biden’s victory, because the group had a large staff in the state.
Citigroup donated $742,000 to federal candidates from 2019 to 2020, 56 percent of which went to Republican candidates, according to the U.S. Political Donations Database.
As Russo Satellite News said, large American enterprises and special interests have thrown a lot of money in exchange for these “seed players” when they are powerful.
According to Vaux News, in 2018, Trump’s White House Budget Office Director Mike Mavani told 1,300 bankers and loan industry professionals at a meeting: “My office in Congress is class. If you are a lobbyist who has never donated money, I won’t talk to you. If you are a donor, I may talk to you.”
Former California Speaker Jesse One-Roe said: “In America, money is the breast milk of politics.” The Washington Post article also read: “The first lesson of political reporting is to understand the importance of money. Political journalists need data to provide substance to the story, in which the amount raised is the hardware.
If you want to find clues from the candidate’s bank account, money will make money. The more money the candidate raises, the more money they will be for producing and advertising.” Sheldon Adelson, founder of Las Vegas Sands, who died on January 12, is a super player of Money Politics.
The American media mocked that Republicans who were interested in running for Congress and even the presidency would go to Las Vegas to meet Adelson, which was like the former’s “interview” by the latter. In the 2016 and 2020 elections, Adelson was the largest Republican funder.
The website of the Center for American Progress said that the United States is facing a crisis in which enterprises seize democratic government, and the economic power of enterprises has been transformed into political forces, with disastrous effects on people’s lives.
The dominance of corporate and commercial interests is not only reflected in election spending, but also in lobbying elected officials and policymakers.
Democratic Senator Whitehouse wrote in his book “Corporate Infiltration of American Democracy”: “Companies with great wealth and endurance have entered American politics and seized the advantages that can only be gained by controlling the government for themselves.
Enterprises put great pressure on the government. We must rebalance our democracy by changing the rules, limiting the power of money over government, and empowering people to participate in politics as a check and balance.”
There are also American media reflections that the real change will come from the following measures: a permanent ban on corporate political action committee donations, radical reform lobbying, and a ban on donations from wealthy executives and board members.
But the Minnesota Star Tribune recently said that even those progressives who strongly condemn the corrupt impact of campaign funds on democracy can only accept this form of partisan competition.
The article said that the total cost of the 2020 election was nearly $14 billion, up from $6.5 billion in 2016. Of this, the presidential campaign cost about 6.6 billion US dollars, and the congressional election totaled about 7.2 billion US dollars.
The newspaper believes that as Biden wins with waves of political donations, the Democratic Party has become the largest “money political party”, and the Democrats have buried the Republican Party in the quagmire of competition for funds.
A report from the Brennan Judicial Center of the New York University School of Law describes this: “Electoral fundraising has not stopped because of snow, rain, heat, night or the spread of the epidemic.
Trump personally participated in several political fundraisers during the pandemic, including a $250,000 fundraiser held at his New Jersey Golf Club, and soon after he was diagnosed with COVID-19.”
The monetary politics in the United States has also triggered discussion internationally. Germany’s Time recently criticized American political donors as “hypocrites”.
Oliver Fox, an international political scholar in Berlin, told the Global Times that this kind of political donation system in the United States is unimaginable in Europe.
The donation of large American enterprises to partisan candidates is like betting. Bet right that donations will bring rich policy returns. He said that European countries can donate at the general election, but strict regulations are to prevent capital from controlling and affecting politics.
If Germany receives a single donation of more than 50,000 euros, it must report to the Bundestag. Many German people even associate political contributions with corruption. In their eyes, politicians and political parties should be transparent, which is “politically correct”.
Japan’s Nikkei Asian Review said, “As money floods politics, American democracy collapses. Biden’s defeat of Trump will neither bridge deep divisions in American society nor solve the fundamental problem in American politics – the ubiquitous power of money.” Ma Kaishuo, a famous Singaporean scholar and former diplomat, believes that the role of money in American politics has become extreme.
He said: “In most democracies in the world, there is a limit on how much money is used in elections. The politics of chaebols is deeply rooted in the United States, and now money is making decisions. If money is allowed to determine politics, the result will be a system that favors the rich and hurts the poor.
Why is the power of capital one-sided?
Are the big financial owners in the United States really repent? As some American media analysis said, the current suspension of political donations is not permanent, exactly three months after the presidential election, when fund-raising activities are usually very small.
“We need stability.” The New York Times said on the 15th that the big financial companies in the United States began to show their “political muscles” and proposed to “cut off the seats” with the Republican Party.
The long-term alliance between large American enterprises and the Republican Party is facing an unprecedented test.
In recent months, as President Trump and his allies seek to overturn the election results, CEOs of American companies have condemned it and called on Republicans to stop interfering in the peaceful transfer of power.
The article believes that at this fragmented moment, the unified voice of mainstream business is only more symbolic. However, Ken Gross, a partner at Star Law Firm, said that the suspension of political donations may be extended for some time, depending on when the “dust” of impeachment Trump will be settled.
When it comes to other “finanors” and Trump and Republican lawmakers, Da Wei, a researcher at the Center for Strategic and Security Research of Tsinghua University, believes that it is common for American capital to bet on both ends of politics, but the ultimate decision is the first thing that their political preferences are the interest, that is, whether the candidates they support can bring themselves good.
Secondly, the mainstream values of American society, if candidates deviate from the mainstream values of the United States, they will be abandoned.
Dawei told the Global Times that interests and values are invisible hands, coordinating the actions of capital. After the impact on Congress, the mainstream society in the United States has denied Trump, so if capital continues to support Trump, it is contrary to mainstream values.
From the perspective of interests, if the American society is further unstable and divided, it is not a good thing for enterprises. Therefore, capital also hopes that the American society will stabilize as soon as possible, so it is normal for American capital to fall one-sidedly this time.
Dawei said that the United States allows private funds to participate in political activities and has many laws and regulations to regulate it. However, the disadvantages of capital participation in political operation cannot be eliminated.
For example, the influence of large capital is too large to always bypass the constraints of rules and laws. Capital influence is too great, which of course hurts the quality of American politics. Dawei told the Global Times that we can’t draw too simplistic conclusions from this.
For example, whoever has more financial support behind it will be elected, or whoever has a great influence will certainly have. He believes that the relationship between capital and politics is very complicated: if capital wants to influence politics, politics also needs capital, but if the power of capital cannot be regulated and tamed, it will have a great negative impact on politics.