One of the biggest selling points of the Trump presidential campaign was that he was paying for everything out-of-pocket. This allowed the Donald to speak his mind without the need to be beholding to fat cats and special interest groups. However, things are not always what they appear, and Trump announced that he’s happy to start taking donations.
Obviously, running a national political campaign costs a lot of money. Any reasonable person would rather spend hundreds of millions of dollars of other peoples money as opposed to their own. It is unclear exactly when Trump decided to cut his personal loses and begin to take political contributions. However, he was seen at a gathering of close friends and supporters in Manhattan last month, so it’s reasonable to assume that he’s been dipping into that cookie jar long before he decided to tell the public about his change of heart.
Trump has made it clear that he will accept contributions as long as they come with no strings attached. However, in reality, things don’t work that way in American politics. Big donors contribute to campaigns because they want access. They want to influence policy. They want to promote their own interests. They want to buy the loyalty of candidates who will reward them once they get elected. The very idea that Trump is telling the American people that he won’t be beholding to donors is nothing short of a blatant smokescreen that is not fooling anyone.
The issue now is how Trump will change as the money from rich and powerful donors starts to flow into the coffers of his campaign. Will his platform become more in tune with the sentiments of the Republican establishment? Will he spend less time criticizing the hands that feed him and start to tow the party line? Who knows. However, one thing is for certain. Trump has sold out, and his outsider approach will not work for much longer.
So, now we have an obnoxious, flamboyant and inexperienced candidate running for president who is under the influence of the same ilk of people who have been controlling this country for years. Trump has sold out to a system that has bought and paid for America a long time ago. The same corporations, special interests and big influence peddlers that he criticizes on the campaign trail will now be financing his efforts.
Should we have expected anything less?
The phenomenal expansion of government has coincided with limitations on freedom and personal liberties. Candidates lose their individuality and objectivity as soon as they take money from big donors. This is how things get done in Washington, and the passage of legislation and implementation of policies center on appeasing those who buy influence. Sure, candidates might parrot popular catch-phrases and form nice little soundbites in order to appeal to voters, but they are owned by their donors at the end of the day.
Trump is just walking into an established tradition in which the powers-that-be run this country from their bank accounts. Think of all of the rights that we’ve lost in the last couple of decades under Republican as well as Democratic administrations. The Patriot Act, the Affordable Care Act, the expansion of the EPA and the devolution of our educational system are all prime examples. All of these have curbed freedom while leaving the door wide open for fat cats and political contributors to gain a stronger hold on the direction that America is taking.
At least Trump has been somewhat honest about his change of heart, which is more than most other candidates are offering at the moment. However, he is falling short of admitting that his campaign is now funded by a handful of super-PACs who do not have the interests of the American people at heart.
It doesn’t matter who wins the 2016 election. America is still careening on a path of self-destruction, and there is little that we can expect from any candidate once they get in office. Politics has devolved into a form of entertainment and showmanship that is specifically designed to shift attention away from the subjugation of our liberties and the real issues that our country faces. Now it’s clear that we have a Republican front-runner who is one of the greatest showman of all.
The question is whether voters will still support Trump now that he’s no different than the rest of the pack.