Whether we like it or not, politics runs on money. It’s essential not just to cover any fees for becoming a candidate, but in this day and age, you have to pay for the best people to step in and help you get in office. Paid political operatives are a thing, and they’re a big thing for many political races.
As a result, donors tend to have significant influence, but only to a point. You see, candidates will often view donors as representative of the voters, and as such will listen to donors to get a bead on what the people are thinking.
Unless, of course, a mega-donor goes off the rails and starts talking like the opposition.
A prominent Republican political donor demanded on Saturday that the party pass legislation to restrict access to guns, and vowed not to contribute to any candidates or electioneering groups that did not support a ban on the sale of military-style firearms to civilians.
Al Hoffman Jr., a Florida-based real estate developer who was a leading fund-raiser for George W. Bush’s campaigns, said he would seek to marshal support among other Republican political donors for a renewed assault weapons ban.
“For how many years now have we been doing this — having these experiences of terrorism, mass killings — and how many years has it been that nothing’s been done?” Mr. Hoffman said in an interview. “It’s the end of the road for me.”
Mr. Hoffman announced his ultimatum in an email to half a dozen Republican leaders, including Jeb Bush and Gov. Rick Scott of Florida. He wrote in the email that he would not give money to Mr. Scott, who is considering a campaign for the Senate in 2018, or other Florida Republicans he has backed in the past, including Representative Brian Mast, if they did not support new gun legislation.
“I will not write another check unless they all support a ban on assault weapons,” he wrote. “Enough is enough!”
I’m pretty sure there will be plenty of money to continue going around in the absence of Mr. Hoffman’s funds.
After all, anti-gun Republicans don’t have a long political life expectancy. Republican voters, especially in Florida, aren’t likely to really care about Hoffman’s opinion on the subject. They tend to overwhelmingly support the Second Amendment, and no amount of temper tantrums from rich guys are about to change that.
However, it does say a lot about Hoffman.
What I see is that he isn’t a conservative or a libertarian. He’s not someone who believes in the Constitution. He’s not someone who understands the virtues of smaller government.
No, he seems to be someone who supported Republicans because he figured they’d give him things like tax breaks and less hassle from the EPA on his real estate deals. He apparently didn’t support the GOP because he agreed with their policies so much he felt like he could utilize them to make his life a little easier.
With guns, however, he apparently doesn’t feel like he benefitted from the Republican Party’s support of the Second Amendment, so he’s demanding those candidates ignore their constituents and listen to him.
Well, good luck with that. I’m certain those Republican candidates would lose far more than Hoffman could offset if they capitulated and went anti-gun, even for the briefest moment.