Are you ready for "GOP Donor Class: Civil War"?
The seemingly unstoppable campaign train of Donald Jejune Trump has finally rolled into the Republican Party's Disfunction Junction. With Marco Rubio essentially beaten, Trump is left to kinda sorta) battle Ted Cruz for a nomination that only Trump has a mathematical shot at winning.
So what does that mean for super-wealthy conservatives in the finance sector who see Trump as the Grim Reaper of the American economy? They can't back another candidate, and they can't just sit idly by to let some contractor from Queens parade his nonsense to the White House.
Well, that's why the lord created Super PACs...
The effort is centered on the recently formed Our Principles PAC, the latest big-money group airing anti-Trump ads, which is run by GOP strategist Katie Packer, deputy campaign manager for Mitt Romney in 2012.
The group, initially funded by $3 million from Marlene Ricketts, wife of billionaire T.D. Ameritrade founder Joe Ricketts, wants to saturate the expensive Florida airwaves ahead of the state’s March 15 primary with hopes of denying Trump a victory that could crush the hopes of home state Sen. Marco Rubio.
Seems like a good and simple idea. Flood ad money into Florida (and Ohio ?) in order to support Rubio (and Kasich?) so that the GOP can keep Trump from grabbing yuge delegate counts in Texas, Florida (and Ohio?). So, we're guessing that every Wall Street millionaire not aligned with Hillary is going to pump as much as they can into this thing?
A conference call on Tuesday to solicit donors for the group included Paul Singer, billionaire founder of hedge fund Elliott Management; Hewlett Packard President and CEO Meg Whitman; and Chicago Cubs co-owner Todd Ricketts, one of Joe and Marlene Ricketts’ three sons. Wealthy Illinois businessman Richard Uihlein is also expected to help fund the effort. Jim Francis, a big GOP donor and bundler from Texas, was also on the phone call on Tuesday.
According to Politico's Ben White, Singer is basically playing the role of sugar daddy in this affair (he has apparently abandoned the notion of jumping aboard the Rubio campaign).
This person said Singer, who is worth close to $2 billion, is fully dedicated to making sure the group has all the funds it needs to inundate the airwaves in Florida and other states viewed as not entirely friendly to Trump, a group that includes Illinois, Missouri, Arizona, Wisconsin and other states in the Northeast and West.
As we've said before, Singer and Trump hate each other with a passion. So while it makes sense for Big Paul to write checks until his wrist hurts, "Wall Street" doesn't think with one brain. So who's really getting in on this?
According to Reuters, definitely not the Koch brothers;
The Koch brothers, the most powerful conservative mega donors in the United States, will not use their $400 million political arsenal to try to block Republican front-runner Donald Trump's path to the presidential nomination, a spokesman told Reuters on Wednesday.
The decision by the billionaire industrialists is another setback to Republican establishment efforts to derail the New York real estate mogul's bid for the White House, and follows speculation the Kochs would soon launch a "Trump Intervention."
"We have no plans to get involved in the primary," said James Davis, spokesman for Freedom Partners, the Koch brothers’ political umbrella group. He would not elaborate on what the brothers' strategy would be for the Nov. 8 election to succeed Democratic President Barack Obama.
Three sources close to the Kochs said the brothers made the decision because they were concerned that spending millions of dollars attacking Trump would be money wasted, since they had not yet seen any attack on Trump stick.
Politico's own report contains this nugget as well,
And many Wall Street donors are already burned out after pumping over $100 million to Jeb Bush and his Right to Rise super PAC with nothing to show for it. Wall Street’s support is also splintered among candidates at the moment. Singer is backing Rubio. Financiers Stanley Druckenmiller and Ken Langone are backing Kasich. And many senior executives say trying to stop Trump now is a foolish crusade that will wind up burning cash with nothing to show for it.
“My personal view is that Trump is going to get the nomination anyway and there is nothing that can be done about it now,” the chief executive of a Wall Street bank who once backed Bush said in an interview on Wednesday after turning down a pitch to contribute to a new anti-Trump super PAC. “I never believed Trump could get anywhere near where he is right now. I thought he was ridiculous and people wouldn’t really vote for him. All of that was wrong.”
Well, firstly we'd love to know who this "chief executive of a Wall Street bank" is (we're looking at you, Corbat) but secondly let's be honest: Most of the guys that Our Principles would love to put on its donor list have made careers out of managing risk.
Backing anyone against Trump at this point does not appear to be much different than setting your money on fire with a Zippo.
For instance, one prominent hedge fund manager who is an also equally prominent of the GOP told Dealbreaker that he will not be getting involved with Our Principles, saying simply "No, time to be constructive."
But how? Vote for Hillary?
Wall Street readies big Trump assault [Politico]