By now we are all familiar with the antics of “The Donald.” He promises to “Make America Great Again.” He launched his campaign by boldly proclaiming Mexican immigrants were “rapists.” He has made fun of Senator John McCain, a man who still can’t raise his hands above his shoulders due to injuries sustained by severe torture during the Vietnam War, as “not a war hero.” He drew fire recently for making misogynistic comments about Fox News Anchor Megyn Kelly. He made headlines for insulting Rand Paul on his looks during the most recent GOP presidential debate. He also refuses to offer specifics on how he will fulfill any of his political promises.
Suffice it to say, I’m no fan of Donald Trump.
But the man and his candidacy seem to have proposed an interesting solution to the problem of money and the interference of special interest groups in American politics.
While Trump claims his wealth is $10 billion, and Forbes claims it is $4.5 billion, most analyses can agree that Trump is one of the richest men in America.
Much of the GOP debate last Wednesday, Sept. 16, consisted of candidates bashing the influence of special interest groups, but the money trails don’t lie. When Jeb Bush was questioned by CNN anchor, Jake Tapper, as to whether “the $100 million you’ve raised for your campaign makes you a puppet for your donors. Are you?”
To the anchor, Bush replied, “No. Absolutely not. People are supporting me because I have a proven record of conservative leadership where I cut taxes $19 billion over eight years.”
However, a look at Bush’s top corporate donors for the 2016 election cycle from OpenSecrets.org reveals a veritable who’s who of major American businesses as contributors, with public donations (which are capped according to federal regulations) ranging from $161,100 to $21,600. Private donations to Political Action Committees run into the millions in some cases. For better or for worse, Bush personifies the American establishment candidate and a close examination of his list of corporate donors reveals that his policies, and those of his brother, have benefited many companies on that list. In contrast Trump’s top corporate donors for the 2016 election cycle according to OpenSecrets.org ranged from public donations of $5,000 to $500.
As Trump himself said in the last GOP debate, “I am not accepting any money from anybody. Nobody has control of me other than the people of this country. I’m going to do the right thing.”
Unlike Bush, Trump is not beholden to the politically correct whims of any establishment backers. And while that means no corporate backer can call and threaten to pull their backing of him in order to stop him from spewing his own particular brand of vitriol and circus politics, it also means that “The Donald” doesn’t feel the need to peddle his views for money because he has all the money he needs. His unshakable faith in what he seems to think the problems in modern American society are seems to be proven because he continues to say what he believes, even when it costs him some of his business empire. Earlier this year, NBC refused to air Trump’s Miss America pageant in retaliation for his comments about Mexicans, but that was a price Trump was willing to pay and he made no apologies for saying what he did.
Say what you will about the man, but Trump has his convictions. He holds them to be true, and they stand unsanitized unadulterated by politically correct establishment backers.
That is something American democracy needs to see more of in its politicians.
Rishi Solanki is a second-year majoring in Electrical Engineering and minoring in Finance. He writes on business, politics and campus issues.