Did Adelson’s Gamble Pay Off?

Nov 9 2012 @ 4:41pm

Only one of Adelson's candidates was victorious. The day after the election, Goldblog quipped, "I want to play poker with Sheldon Adelson." But Matt Glassman argues that, for big donors, "winning isn't everything":

When you spend tens of millions of dollars trying to influence an election, you obviously want your preferred candidate to win. But the binary outcome of the election isn’t the only thing you can, or want, to influence. Your money is also going to affect: the policy issues your candidate raises, the positions on those policies that he introduces into the discourse, what issues he chooses to attack his opponent on, the way the media frames these debates, and so on and so forth. If Sheldon Adelson’s goal was to make sure neither candidate questioned the use of drones or backed the Colorado pot initiative, well, mission accomplished. It’s not like the end goal here is to get a man into the office; the goal is ultimately to influence policy.

Kerry Howley adds:

My time working for a donor-funded magazine convinced me that people often misunderstand the nature of donation and over-simplify the expected return. Sheldon Adelson wanted Newt to go all the way—mine the moon while invading Iran and lecturing all of us on fundamental transformational change, frankly. But even as he watched that beautiful dream slip away, he no doubt enjoyed the pleasure of being considered a player in a game that’s considerably higher status than casino building whilst having a Republican presidential candidate at his beck and call. Donations confer a sense of power over powerful people. Private equity manager Marc Leder, who played host to the party that led to the 47 percent debacle, got Mitt Romney to come to his own house and tell him that the rest of the country was sponging off of his estimable powers of wealth-creation. He got to watch a grown man beg, and isn’t that what we all want, really?