Jonathan Cook: the Blog from Nazareth -

Adelson hopes to buy US election for Israel

What does Benjamin Netanyahu hope comes next, after his stalling formally ends the peace process? My best guess is he thinks that, if he can hold on a couple more years, he will have in office the Republican candidate of his choice. Am I suggesting that Netanyahu can decide who is US president? No, but a good friend of his may be able to.

I recommend reading the Washington Post link below if you want to understand both how Netanyahu intends to change his fortunes and how the US political system itself is bought by the money-men. 

Billionaire casino magnate Sheldon Adelson is a close friend of the Netanyahus and the owner of the most-read, and free, Israeli newspaper, Israel Hayom. Adelson has sunk millions into creating a newspaper that is widely regarded as little more than a propaganda sheet for Netanyahu. Adelson, you may have guessed, is deeply committed to the positions of the far-right in Israel.

According to the WP, he is now seeking to refine his approach to the 2016 US presidential elections after his failure to buy the 2012 vote. Then, he hoped to get his candidate for the Republican nomination, Newt Gingrich, into the White House. He threw huge sums at the race, but failed – let down by a candidate with too many skeletons in his closet. In the process, though, his money fuelled an ad campaign that seriously damaged the eventual Republican candidate, Mitt Romney. Adelson appears to have concluded that his approach probably allowed Obama to win a second term.

According to the WP:

Shawn Steel, a Republican National Committee member and prominent California-based fundraiser, called Adelson “a very rational guy” who has learned his lesson from 2012.

In other words, Adelson does not want to make the same mistake twice; he is now going to be more careful about selecting the Republican candidate. He wants to back the right frontrunner, so he can he be sure his millions secure him – and Israel – the White House. To that end, the WP reports, he is holding a set of interviews at his Las Vegas luxury hotel, the Venetian, for the position of Republican frontrunner. It seems that Jeb Bush, George W’s brother, and Chris Christie, New Jersey’s governor, are top of his list.

A friend of Adelson’s is quoted:

He doesn’t want a crazy extremist to be the nominee. He wants someone who has the chance to win the election, who is reasonable in his positions, who has convictions but is not totally crazy.

I think that requires a redefinition of the word “crazy”. What is meant is Adelson does not want someone who is likely to come across to voters as crazy. Jeb Bush, says the friend, is considered a good choice because his wife’s Mexican background may appeal to working-class voters:

Jeb Bush, because he’s bilingual, because of his wife, he has a better chance to reach out and get more access to the minorities.

Adelson, of course, does not get a clear run at deciding the race. He has the views of a few other billionaires to take into account, like the Koch brothers. But as the article notes:

While other conservative donors, such as the industrialist brothers Charles and David Koch, can inject substantial financial firepower into campaigns, Adelson is perhaps the most highly sought-after because of his willingness to dip into his personal fortune to back candidate-specific super PACs.

For that reason, Republican candidates will be chasing after his money and keen to show they share his views on key subjects, like Israel:

“Certainly the ‘Sheldon Primary’ is an important primary for any Republican running for president,” said Ari Fleischer, a former White House press secretary under President George W. Bush who serves with Adelson on the RJC board. “It goes without saying that anybody running for the Republican nomination would want to have Sheldon at his side.” …

A senior strategist who has advised past GOP nominees said the 2016 hopefuls “are just falling at his feet.”

So, even according to the WP, US presidential candidates are as good as bought with the money of the craziest billionaires on the planet. And then the election itself is bought with the money of the crazy billionaires who manage to get behind the two final candidates.

Apparently they call this process “democracy”.

(h/t John V Whitbeck)

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