IMMEDIATE RELEASE 16 September 2020WASHINGTON MERRY-GO-ROUNDToday’s Events in Historical PerspectiveAmerica’s Longest-Running Column Founded 1932Bloomberg, Putin, Trump, and FoxBy Douglas Cohn and Eleanor Clift WASHINGTON – Billionaire Michael Bloomberg is committing $100 million of his considerable fortune to help Democrat Joe Biden win Florida, a key swing state that could determine the election. Pres. Donald Trump won Florida’s 29 electoral votes by a single percentage point in 2016, and polls show the state is once again on a razor’s edge. True, it is not a good idea to have billionaires jumping into political races to sway the results with money, but Bloomberg is playing by the rules and doing it openly. His money will go through Independence USA, a super PAC he created, and work with other Democratic groups to focus on reaching Hispanic voters. Polls show Biden is weaker than he should be in the Sunshine State, and Bloomberg’s money could make a difference, though, clearly, this is an argument for campaign finance reform. Meanwhile, the Trump campaign is surprisingly stressed for cash. Trump fired his initial campaign manager, Brad Parscale, for enriching himself while overseeing the campaign’s profligate spending, which included $11 million for a pair of Superbowl ads. Parscale’s successor, Bill Stepien, revealed that the campaign is rapidly burning through what was once a billion-dollar war chest. Asked if he would be willing to spend his own money to finance the campaign if needed, Trump said he would. But where would he get that money? Remember, Trump has refused to make public his tax returns, and even now, as he asks voters to reelect him, he is fighting in the courts to keep those financial records secret. Who knows? He may be broke, and it is fair to speculate that a gift from Russian President Putin may be his secret source of funds. In his nearly four years as president, Trump has repeatedly deferred to Putin, and former Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats, is quoted in Bob Woodward’s new book saying he is “deeply suspicious” that the Russians have something on Trump. That something is money, a link Trump’s two eldest sons bragged about before Trump became a candidate for president. Donald Trump Jr. said in 2008: “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets. We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.” Eric Trump told a golf writer in 2014 that Russians funded his father’s golf courses. It is not out of the question that Trump would look to the Russians to help bankroll his reelection. Voters would have no idea of such collusion as long as those around Trump who might be in the know stay silent, and the administration continues to stonewall any congressional or legal inquiries. The Trump campaign’s financial crunch is real. The campaign has pulled back from television advertising in key states, relying instead on the much less expensive platform of Facebook and other social media. This is a financial decision, but it is also the campaign’s belief that the election will be won for Trump on those platforms, and not on television. In any event, Trump’s bombastic personality gets him more airtime on cable news networks than any other political figure current or past. Why should he pay for more? For Democrats, there is equal opportunity. Right now, there are more television ads promoting Biden on Fox News Cable than ads promoting Trump. Fox News stars like Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson continue to toe the Trump line in their primetime shows, and that is valuable airtime. But the opportunity for Biden to get his message out in television ads on Fox is a gift for the Democratic ticket. Fox doesn’t turn down money, and the Biden campaign is surprisingly well endowed with cash, having raised $364 million in August alone. Flooding the Fox airwaves with Democratic ads demonstrates that democracy and capitalism do go hand in hand, spreading the word in hostile territory as long as the bills are paid. Douglas Cohn’s latest books are World War 4: Nine Scenarios (endorsed by seven flag officers) and The President’s First Year: The Only School for Presidents Is the Presidency. Twitter: @douglas_cohn © 2020 U.S. News Syndicate, Inc. Distributed by U.S. News Syndicate, Inc.
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