‘Free’ Cash, The Irresistible Offer Boss Trump Can’t Refuse


To dramatize the Trumpster as full of sound and fury but void of heroism, compare his caricature with Joseph Campbell’s depiction in The Hero with a Thousand Faces: 

A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.

Blowhards with zero political record invent marvels that defy belief (great, porous walls paid by others, “job-creation second only to God”).  True heroes risk everything and achieve palpable victories, then return to serve the common good. Beware the Trumpery of declaring himself “winner” before battling “fabulous forces” on major, primary battlefields. Irony as fat as his mouth: if Boss Trump ever honestly appraised his own toothless political resume, wouldn’t he then sputter to himself, “Get your sorry ass out of here. You’re fired before you hired”?

For what a career of serial greed kept him from doing is learn the craft of politics. And now this sham independent has the nerve to promote this ultimate hustle: “elect me for what I am not,” a puppet owned by corrupt special interests. Let’s list everything else Trump is not, like a thoughtful, compassion leader with demonstrable civic wins. And what devious tycoon (infamous for deceitful dealmaking) comes without corrupting interests, like rampant ego, vainglory and adventurism? What devious scoundrel wouldn’tequate the fiction of permanent self-financing with moral purity? And when did Trump major in the laughable, selfless charity business, expending his treasure all to restore lost American greatness?

That delusion is about to end, as Trump’s polling success now requires oodles of money to stay competitive beyond his likely cash reserves. And that means Plan B, an automatic shift since his seeded “business gambit” is working. “Self-financing” is already old news, as Trump readies to embrace the freest money available to any venture capitalist, whether running for office or running an office. What cashcomes with fewer actual strings than limitless campaign “donations” free for the taking?

And all this bait and switch requires is for Trump to rework his con artist terms. Simply redefine that what is no more than crude crude bribery (“ownership”) for all others is for this high-minded saint simply “investments” with no “strings attached.” Please. This faux, newly-hatched “conservative” (by dubious agreement with week with the RNC) would dirty himself (“I’m too rich to be bought”), only find clean ways to make “America Great Again.” So open the floodgates, per CNN, not just for Trump-friendly superPacs and 501(c)3 non-profits (with source anonymity), but “investments” even from ordinary folks. Trumpery, like empire, must expand to succeed.

Rich ‘Nobodies’ Count

“One of the things they like about me is nobody’s going to buy me,” Donald Trump bellowed last week in Iowa. True, “nobody” (poor nobodies) buys Trump. Only fat cat buddies with whom he breaks bread — or ground for casinos and skyscrapers — even ruins pristine Scottish coastlines, per this chilling, must see documentary, “You’ve Been Trumped”.

In Iowa Tuesday, the Trumpster bemoaned how much self-financing costs him, repeating the equation of money with bribery, “I turn down so much money. I feel like such a stupid person”  . . . How about if I take all of this money — and I promise you, I swear to you — that I won’t do anything for these people. How about that?” On cue, the barrage of boos confirmed Trump’s moral exceptionalism. But later on Face the Nation, what defines “special interests” got downright mushy, ”Certainly I would take contributions, I actually like the idea of investing in a campaign . . . But it has to be no strings attached. I don’t want any strings attached.” So now “investors” are all Santa Clauses, their largesse untarnished by “strings” or gift wrapping?

Note the simplistic implication, that every nefarious donor totally “owns” candidates, lock, stock and barrel when in fact access and influence on legislation are what routinely gets purchased. What rightwing billionaire worries about “buying votes” as national Republicans clock in with lock-step precision? Truth is, even small donors like me make campaign donations with firm expectations our noble candidates will promote our interests. Only simpletons, without political nuance, buy Trump’s knee-jerk, quid pro quo equation of money = bribery.

Follow the Money

Did it ever make sense that Trump, pitching his savvy, selfish, money-making genius, would suddenly embrace a selfless charity model for politics, especially when the price tag for winning explodes?  Let’s consider assumptions to explain his switcheroo.

  1. Yes, a blustery, narcissistic, ex-liberal real estate celebrity puts up, say, $5 million “seed capital” to test his chances at media razzle-dazzle. Flies his own plane, keeps staff costs low, dishes out outrageous slanders and personal digs, awash with gaseousness from blowing your own “rich, very rich” horn.
  2. Item: White House runs today push $1 billion dollars. And what ego-driven shark, seeking the ultimate CEO job title, would not go all in? Otherwise, the horrors and shame of becoming a loser.
  3. The core Trump sales pitch equation: my astonishing fortune equates with my alone delivering political astonishments. Who expects Trump to spend his own hard-won cash on the longest-shot gamble of his career? What business genius puts so much family treasure on the line with outsiders banging down the door?
  4. Trump buys into the greedy, yet risk-averse religion, “the art of this deal,” thus playing with other people’s money is by far the only serious option. Flip-flopping in business is called “flexibility.”

Follow the Free Money

Consider the irresistible appeal of “campaign contributions” vs. the real liability of “investments.” Virtually “free,” campaign money

  • Comes in endless, often unsolicited amounts, at times anonymously,
  • Comes without financial “strings,” like interest payments or contracts,
  • Over which you and staff have total spending sway,
  • And how much with hard political “strings attached”?
  • Plus, such incomes is not taxable, nor gets repaid when spent.

What hustler, ambition seared in presidential glory, wouldn’t exclaim, “Cease my beating heart: does such totally free cash flow still exist?” What imbecile, let alone Mr. High IQ, refuses income “investments’ unknown in all of Christendom, if not capitalism-dom, if not world-dom?

How else can Trump answer the inevitable waves of massive negative advertising? Will Trump’s current hypnotism over a quarter of rightwing voters hold when competitors are few, and all loaded to the gills? What about the historic, Know-nothing voter ceiling that must be overcome? And Trump, knowing that fear-mongering is a transient lever, will need millions to keep his vanity campaign going. There is no other way for him to become the only major party nominee without high political or government tenure.

As self-invented winner he basks in his own self-aggrandizement; as a loser, he gets more obstreperous (if possible) or bows out, declaring victory for having “changed history.” For a decade, irate GOP wingnuts throw early tantrums, to say, “we matter, too.” But tantrums, along with favorites, faded with unerring consistency in ’08 and ’12, especially for unelected, unelectable amateurs. How often do cowed Republicans not in the end accept establishment picks? Almost never. Okay, the party got hornswoggled and took a radical gamble, namely Barry Goldwater in 1964. That turned out well. And Trump, hated by the establishment, is no Goldwater, a senator whose Republican loyalties were never in doubt.


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For over a decade, Robert S. Becker's independent, rebel-rousing essays on politics and culture analyze overall trends, history, implications, messaging and frameworks. He has been published widely, aside from Nation of Change and RSN, with extensive credits from OpEdNews (as senior editor), Alternet, Salon, Truthdig, Smirking Chimp, Dandelion Salad, Beyond Chron, and the SF Chronicle. Educated at Rutgers College, N.J. (B.A. English) and U.C. Berkeley (Ph.D. English), Becker left university teaching (Northwestern, then U. Chicago) for business, founding SOTA Industries, a top American high end audio company he ran from '80 to '92. From '92-02, he was an anti-gravel mining activist while doing marketing, business and writing consulting. Since then, he seeks out insight, even wit in the shadows, without ideology or righteousness across the current mayhem of American politics.