CNN and CBS News are reporting that billionaire casino magnate Sheldon Adelson is planning to re-up his commitment to Newt Gingrich with another $10 million donation to the Super PAC supporting Gingrich’s presidential bid. The contribution, which is expected by the end of the month, has the potential to shakeup the Republican race yet again by keeping Gingrich in the game for at least another few weeks. The former House Speaker’s campaign has been running out of money fast, and the new cash will help close the fundraising gap between him and opponents Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum.
There had been a lot of speculation this week about whether or not Adelson would pony up again for his friend Newt. He and his wife have already donated about $11 million to the Super PAC, Winning Our Future. The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that Adelson was thinking about throwing his weight behind Romney, an indication that the Las Vegas mogul’s real objective is to take down Santorum.
So why would Adelson decide to throw more money at Gingrich, a man who, in all likelihood, will not be the Republican nominee?
The obvious answer is Israel. Over the course of many years, Gingrich and Adelson have bonded over a shared commitment to the Jewish State.
Presidential historian Doug Wead points out that there is another, more ruthless, political logic behind Adelson’s support for Newt. It’s straight-up Machiavellian.
The 15th century Italian political philosopher wrote that when there is a battle for the throne, it’s best to get behind someone. If that candidate wins, you will be rewarded for your loyalty. But if a rival wins, that’s even better — the rival will have exaggerated your importance so much that he will want make sure you never support anyone else again.
In other words, the more money Adelson commits to Gingrich, the more powerful he becomes — not only with Gingrich, but also with Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum.
This logic is the underlying reason why Super PACS are reshaping presidential elections. It is likely that there will always be someone with a lot of money and Machiavellian instincts who, for a relatively low price, can refinance a campaign overnight and buy a seat at the table, regardless of who ultimately wins the race.
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