Is The Rise Of The Modern American Oligarch Another Sign Of American Decline?

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When powerful elites stop caring about the common good, and pursue their own interests instead, they create unstable societies. The oligarchs may be able to manipulate the public for a while, but the people will eventually wake up when the abuses are too great.

Oligarchs fear the revolt of common people and will use all their financial and political resources to prevent it. This dynamic is not only relevant today, but has been documented for thousands of year. The modern American oligarchs, who have made their fortunes in Silicon Valley or Wall Street, will do everything they can to keep their status under the current system.

Tim Scott, South Carolina Senator, is the latest recipient of oligarchical generosity. He has raised an incredible amount of money within a few days of his announcement of his presidential campaign.

Scott, who is relatively unknown in the United States, had already amassed a war chest before he officially declared his campaign Monday. He had nearly $22 millions, which was more than any other presidential candidate.

Scott’s wealth is not surprising, given that he’s been a favorite among Republican megadonors – modern day oligarchs – since at least the year 2020. In the two quarters leading up to his Senate reelection campaign in 2022, Scott raised nearly $10 million each. A pro-Scott super PAC called Opportunity Matters Fund received millions of dollars in donations from high-profile GOP donors, including New York hedge fund titan Dan Loeb and Las Vegas hotelier Steve Wynn.

Ellison is notable because it appears that he has a long-term relationship with Scott. He has given $30 million, which was 88% of the total funding, to the Opportunity Matters Fund. This fund is now called Trust In The Mission or the TIM PAC. His advisors believe he will double his contribution during the campaign. However, with an estimated net worth over $100 billion, he can afford to push Scott to the finish.

Ellison spent $30 million in 2016 to support Florida Senator Marco Rubio. He spent millions of dollars opposing Donald Trump, then the Republican candidate for President. However, in the lead up to 2020 elections he warmed to him.

Scott is polling at 1%-2% in a number of different polls. This places him last, behind South Carolinian Nikki Haley, and businessman Vivek Raaswamy.

It is not surprising that oligarchs such as Ellison, who have unlimited resources and are neutral on Trump, favor him. Scott is a good bet for those tired of Democrats’ class warfare governance.

Scott does not criticize Trump harshly or defend him vehemently. Pressed by reporters, Scott said that he “of course” would support the former President in 2024. He declined to elaborate. He has a measured tone and presents a positive vision for the future. He’s not as conciliatory like a Romney or McCain – he is willing to get involved in the culture war. He isn’t a fiery flamethrower who will take on controversial positions like Trump or Florida Governor. Ron DeSantis.

He tells his supporters that he’s “a Christian who is conservative and you might have noticed that I am black”.

This makes him an impressive candidate, especially from someone’s perspective like Ellison. Scott’s megadonors likely believe he will be able to beat Trump in the primary if DeSantis falls. He is a Trump supporter, but not to the point that he drives Independents away.

He can be the great racial uniter that Barack Obama, who was a former president of the United States, promised to be. He may even be able to steal more black votes from an elderly white man who has a history of lionizing Southern Segregationists.

Scott is the epitome “good” candidate.

It is possible that oligarchs such as Ellison are replacing grassroots realities with their preferences. Scott isn’t the populist brawler a cynical, bellicose base of conservatives demands from their politicians. Scott is unlikely to be able to defeat Trump in the primaries, or galvanize a large enough vote in the general election against a Democratic base that believes that the country is at the brink of fascism.

Perhaps billionaires place too much emphasis on candidate quality. The corporate media may be warm towards Scott right now, but that will change when he is a serious contender. Many will still believe the media when they call him “the black face of white supremacy”.

Ellison’s backing of Scott is not a reflection on his record as a politician, or even a person. According to all reports, he is a good man with a conservative background and a compelling story. It does, however, speak to the power of money on political campaigns. It’s not a new phenomenon, but the Covid/BLM scandal exposed the corruption of the highest levels in virtually all major American institutions. The fragility of current politics is revealed by the oligarchs’ belief that they are the best and can catapult any vision above grassroots or media preferences.

Maybe they’re right, and maybe they’re not. It doesn’t matter. Even if they are correct, it doesn’t mean that will always be the case in future elections. It doesn’t matter if they have pure motives, other affluent interests may not be. It is not good for American politics that their vision will be more likely to prevail if they have deep pockets.

Either America is facing a future in which elites, like Ellison, decide what voters want — or people will revolt violently. The Founders understood that a balanced society was necessary and created a constitutional republic as a safeguard against either extreme. Any other approach is likely to bring about doom, and it’s un-American.