Liberal billionaires may be the key to turning Congress blue and eventually stopping the Trump reelection bid.
The Trump Resistance has achieved a considerable amount since the beginning of 2017. It has pushed Republican senators to abandon Obamacare repeal and the courts to pause the repeal of DACA protections. The Resistance has buoyed congressional candidates, embarrassing Trump in Pennsylvania and most famously Alabama. Trump’s opponents are able to deploy crowds of protestors at a moment’s notice, like the demonstrations after the President’s disgraceful meeting with Putin in Helsinki.
But Republicans still act with impunity. The Trump administration frequently disregards court rulings and laws it does not care for. Republicans continue to pursue policies that have no support in the country at large. Axios reports that Republicans are even discussing another attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act after the midterm elections. In New York magazine, Jonathan Chait argues that the Republicans will most certainly repeal the law if they keep their congressional majorities, writing,
It would be disorienting to the public for Republicans to turn around and implement a wildly unpopular scheme to throw Americans off their insurance after spending a year refusing to bring up the topic in public. But a Republican Congress given a new lease on life by the midterms would conclude that public opinion no longer posed any threat
Terrible policies will continue to emanate from the White House for the duration of the Trump presidency, and the current Congress will not help. What more can the Trump Resistance do? Can they achieve ultimate success on their own? Or do they need help?
In the modern political system, especially under Republican control, liberal grassroots movements can only achieve so much. In the wake of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling, candidates need money to win office. Money propagates a candidate’s name and platform and can run relentless attack ads against opponents. Money fuels voter drives and data collection systems. Republicans and centrist Democrats have an inherent advantage in collecting that money because of the ease by which money for elections can flow to them. A liberal grassroots movement that wants to curb corporate power must fundraise, send out volunteers, and hope that people of modest means contribute their hard-earned dollars to a cause. Corporate-backed candidates simply ask for, and then receive, a massive check.
The Resistance clearly needs help, and that help must come in the form of liberal billionaires. So far, liberal billionaires have mostly avoided contributing directly to the Democratic Party, the most effective political wing of the Resistance. George Soros has amassed a large international network devoted to supporting democracy and his own cosmopolitan values. Tom Steyer has spent millions supporting a quixotic drive to impeach Trump now, although large numbers of Democratic officeholders and strategists believe that immediate impeachment would harm their party immensely. Other billionaires with liberal sensibilities, such as Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, are more focused on solving world hunger or global health issues than on American politics.
Liberal billionaires must realize that their priorities are considerably affected by the success of the Democratic Party. Only the Democrats will increase foreign aid or invest in the research and development necessary to curb global hunger and poverty. A Democratic Washington will fight climate change, perhaps the greatest threat to humanity in the world today. Democrats will also pursue policies to increase access to health care and higher-wage jobs that will reduce poverty. These policies will solve the problems that Gates, Buffett, and Soros care the most about. But in order to enact them, Democrats will need their help.