Why Does an 80-year-old Have The Attention of 2016 Contenders?

Why Does an 80-year-old Have The Attention of 2016 Contenders?


Do you know who Sheldon Adelson is? For those of us not in the political game of fund-raising, this casino magnate was the major shaker who rocked the 2012 elections by giving “$91.8 million to Super PACs favoring Republicans.” You can imagine why he catches the attention of 2016 contenders like Govs. Chris Christie  and Scott Walker and even former Governor Jeb Bush.


While Rand Paul is definitely one of those 2016 contenders, he didn’t make it to the ‘Sheldon Primary’ (the four-day Republican Jewish Conference) this past weekend. However, something interesting stirred up in his absence and Paul might have “a target on his back.” He’s won over crowds like Berkeley but his CPAC superstar status didn’t impress GOP donors at this event.


On the margins of the conference, where attendees heard from four potential 2016 candidates who advocated for a strong American foreign policy and support for Israel, five donors huddled with a reporter pledged to reach into their deep pockets to ensure Paul doesn’t win the GOP nomination.

“The best thing that could happen is Ted Cruz and Rand Paul run and steal each other’s support,” says one of the donors, “but if not, we’ll be ready to take Paul down.” (TIME)

Whoa, why the hard feelings? If the name of the conference wasn’t a hint, it involves foreign policy and this is where Rand Paul frequently takes a hit.

Will Marshall of Politico writes:

Politically speaking, Paul faces an intractable dilemma: If he embraces his inner libertarian, he’ll stir excitement among liberty-loving younger Republicans—GOP strategist Bill Kristol cuttingly calls them “Snowden Republicans”—as well as many on the left who take a dim view of U.S. power and motives.

But he will alienate many social conservatives and Tea Party “patriots” who still believe in American exceptionalism, as well as mainstream Republicans who see military strength as a more reliable basis for U.S. security than withdrawing from a fractious world.

Rand definitely stands out from the rest of the Republican Party on foreign affairs. For those who don’t want the U.S. involved in foreign troubles, he’s an easy guy to support. However, he still has to strike a balance with the hawkish ways of the old-school GOP establishment.

“He represents a departure from something a lot of Republicans are used to,” says S.E. Cupp of the NY Daily News.

Sheldon Adelson
Sheldon Adelson

The GOP megadonors at the Republican Jewish Conference (RJC) primarily have Israel on their minds, but they’re concerned about Paul’s step back from foreign involvement. In addition to that, there’s two things that the 80-year-old Sheldon Adelson has at the top of his agenda, according to USA TODAY, and that’s: “banning online gambling and electing a president who will unconditionally support Israel.”

Donors at the RJC even suggested that Adelson might target Rand “if he appears to be well positioned in the Republican primaries.” Yikes.

Rand Paul’s name frequently pops up for 2016 contenders, but is his stance on foreign policy holding him back? Give us your feedback in the comments below or on Facebook.

(‘Man on Bench’ photo courtesy of ribena_wrath, via Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0)



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