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Party not for sale for the moment

June 12, 2016

I wonder if billionaires really do have their finger on the pulse of the electorate. This really is a strange, strange story: Furious GOP donors stew over Trump: At an exclusive Park City retreat, some of the Republican Party’s top financiers lashed out at their nominee. How likely is it that their interests coincide with the interests of most Americans?

On Friday afternoon, at an exclusive Republican donor retreat here hosted by Mitt Romney, frustration boiled over. During an off-the-record question-and-answer session with House Speaker Paul Ryan, Meg Whitman, the billionaire Hewlett Packard chief executive officer, confronted the speaker over his endorsement of Trump. Whitman, a major GOP giver who ran for California governor in 2010, compared Trump to historical demagogues like Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini and wanted to know how the speaker could get behind him.

At another discussion session during the day, which featured top Romney alumni Stuart Stevens and Matt Rhoades, Ana Navarro, a Republican contributor and ubiquitous cable news personality, called Trump a “racist” and a “vulgarian and a pig who has made disgusting comments about women for years.” (Neither Whitman nor Navarro would comment.)

Even Ryan, who has endorsed Trump despite criticizing his behavior, joked during his presentation on Friday that in a recent conversation with magician David Copperfield, he said that he wished he could make himself disappear.

The incidents, which were relayed by three sources who were present — one of whom described them as “shocking” — illustrates the intense anger coursing through the GOP donor community. Far from letting go of their white-knuckled opposition to Trump, they’re stewing in it. . . .

Some are convinced the situation is growing increasingly bleak. In an interview here, Spencer Zwick, Romney’s former finance chair and one of the most prominent fundraisers in Republican politics, said that some of Romney’s donors would stay on the sidelines — and that others would even give to his Democratic opponent.

Just what it is that Trump would do or wouldn’t do that upsets them – or why it would or should upset them – is hard to work out from the article. Values voters they are not. These are unlikely to be small-government types, opposed to a crony capitalist relationship between business and government. Getting money out of politics is an imperative in a Republican system far more than in a Parliamentary democracy, but it should be done everywhere it can. And it shows why this needs to be done in ways that you would think those with the money to spend ought to do their best to keep quiet.

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