New reports are emerging today that Sheldon Adelson, casino magnate and 10th richest man in the world, intends to bankroll the campaigns of a number of Republican hawks in 2016, with a particular eye toward foiling Sen. Rand Paul (R – KY) in his White House bid.
Adelson spent some $150 million on Republican candidates in 2012, and the $15 million he gave to Newt Gingrich kept his failed presidential bid going long after it likely would have otherwise.
The billionaire is known for being extremely hawkish, and called on the Obama Administration to fire some nuclear weapons willy-nilly into the desert in 2013 to try to intimidate Iran, and to tell them “the next one is in the middle of Tehran.”
Money speaks loudly though, and despite Adelson’s policies being far-afield of the mainstream in America, a number of people hoping to be this cycle’s hawk-of-choice have been making trips to Las Vegas to court him.
Adelson’s political interests don’t begin or end with the United States, and he’s been a central figure in the Israeli elections, bankrolling a pro-Netanyahu free newspaper that is said to lose $3 million monthly, as a way to circumvent Israel’s $600 campaign donor limit.
The newspaper has been seen from the start as a mouthpiece for Netanyahu and his allies, and has been harshly critical of pretty much everyone else in Israeli politics. Earlier this week the newspaper published an editorial likening Isaac Herzog, the top candidate to unseat Netanyahu in next month’s election, to Neville Chamberlain, with the implication that President Obama is in the role of Hitler.
While Adelson’s focus over the next few weeks will doubtless be the Israeli election and ensuring that Netanyahu retains power, it seems he is already drawing up plans to more deeply insinuate himself in the US election beyond that.