Yesterday’s Republican caucuses in Nevada came and went with no declaration from the state’s most famous political resident, Sheldon Adelson. The media say he is taking a pass on the Republican field for now. Politico says that he has declined overtures from anti-Trump forces– even though “he distrusts Trump’s commitment to Israel’s defenses, which is the mogul’s animating issue.”
Which raises the question: Why shouldn’t Sheldon Adelson go to Hillary Clinton? Why shouldn’t he be pleased as punch by Hillary Clinton and quietly building his bridges to her?
Adelson has to fear Trump greatly since Trump does not need his money. Trump is the least Israel-friendly in the entire Republican field, and he’s the frontrunner. Adelson has to like everything Hillary Clinton says about Israel, so why do anything to defeat her?
Clinton is the biggest Israel lover in the race right now, right next to Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz. She has promised to take the Israel relationship “to the next level,” has bragged that she was born within months of Israel, she has promised to fight Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) and work with Republicans to do so. She has also promised to invite Benjamin Netanyahu to the White House in the first month of office. In her latest book, she kisses up to Dennis Ross, the leading policy advocate for Israel who works in both Republican and Democratic administrations, no problem; and Ross’s latest book is a giant shill job for Hillary Clinton not liking Obama’s policy on Israel.
Sheldon Adelson has to love all of that. Helping her out financially will only solidify her support for Israel. As Bernie Sanders says, those billionaires don’t give their money for nothing!
The Clintons have always excelled at triangulation, and this is a golden opportunity. We’re bound to see that triangulation if Hillary Clinton wins the Democratic nomination. She will instantly try to buy off the Sanders forces and move to the right. For instance, she could even reach out and get a middle-of-the-road Republican running mate, so as to form a new coalition. Adelson would be behind her all the way. There are rumors today that Mike Bloomberg is offering himself to Hillary Clinton as a running mate. Sheldon Adelson can’t have any real problem with Bloomberg either.
Clinton’s triangulation to Adelson should begin quietly right now. She surely thinks that Marco Rubio will be more difficult to beat than Donald Trump. Clinton’s game right now is to hope that Adelson doesn’t jump in for Rubio in a big way, thereby maybe upending Trump. Hillary Clinton should be sending a quiet message to Sheldon Adelson through his good friend her sponsor, Haim Saban, to stay on the sideline; because your favorite country is safe with me, and Rubio is a lightweight who can’t beat Trump and keeps coming up third and will just waste your money.
Clinton and Adelson both see that the currents inside the electorate that are critical of Israel are lining up behind Bernie Sanders and Trump. Right now it is looking like Sanders won’t win the Democratic nomination and Trump will win the Republican one. Trump is terrifying to Adelson: He dissed John McCain’s war record, declared that the Iraq War was a disaster based on a lie, and also said that Bush didn’t keep anyone safe, in fact 9/11 happened on his watch. And he made many of those statements on TV in supposedly military-friendly South Carolina, thereby energizing a populist antiwar constituency. Who knows what he would do as president? He just might declare that the whole military-defense-industrial-congressional complex is a “scam” being run by a bunch of “losers” and declare he is going to cut its budget in half.
In an effort to win Adelson’s support, Senators Lindsey Graham, Marco Rubio, and Ted Cruz all made their hawkish love of Israel into a centerpiece of their campaigns. They divided the pro-Israel vote among them, but if you watch Ted Cruz’s concession speech from last night, you’ll see that when he played the Israel card, the crowd was pretty quiet. Minute 6, below. Cruz:
If you want to see American standing unapologetically alongside the nation of Israel, ask yourself who has led the fight to stand unshakably with the nation of Israel. And if you want a president who on day one will rip to shreds this catastrophic Iranian nuclear deal; if you want a president who will utterly and completely destroy ISIS, ask yourself who has led the fight against this Iranian nuclear deal, against Islamic radical terrorism and who is best prepared to keep America safe.
Few forces in the American electorate are particularly crazy about Israel these days– maybe older Jews in Florida.
The ones who really care are the donor class and the establishment. That’s Hillary Clinton’s base!
Of course it’s a loaded issue for her to reach out to Adelson at this point. He would be a giant negative for her with the progressive Democratic base: Adelson is the sinister billionaire Bernie Sanders is running against. And if she wins, Clinton’s campaign will have the full weight of the Democratic establishment behind it, and as much money as she can spend, 2 billion plus perhaps.
But you can never have enough money if you end up running against an egotistical billionaire who will spend anything to cement his place in respectable U.S. history. Sheldon Adelson needs Hillary Clinton as much as she needs him right now. And that’s why she has won the Adelson primary.