A More Visible Primary For Money

Maybe it’s my imagination, but is the aborning presidential cycle, at least on the Republican side, producing an inordinate number of Big Donor Events? To hear Bloomberg Politics‘ Julie Bykowicz, a GOP presidential candidate could spend every waking moment strutting his or her stuff before a roomful of Daddy Warbucks types:

Next stop in the invisible primary: Boca Raton, Fla. At least seven Republican presidential hopefuls will spend the weekend with about 200 of the party’s top donors at the Boca Raton Resort & Club for the Republican National Committee’s national finance spring retreat. It begins Friday….

The 2016 money chase for what could be a crowded and costly Republican primary has taken hopefuls to places like Des Moines, Iowa, for an agriculture summit hosted by a major donor; Sea Island, Ga., for a gathering of the American Enterprise Institute’s top givers; and Palm Springs, Calif., to meet with Koch network.

Next month, several potential candidates, including Perry and Cruz, jet to Las Vegas to meet megadonor Sheldon Adelson and other major donors for a conference of the Republican Jewish Coalition.

Used to be these kind of suck-up-to-the-donor confabs were quieter and less frequent, and a lot of the money-grubbing was by intermediaries, with The Talent brought in to seal the deal, not to make the initial sale. This time around you almost need a formal calendar to keep up with the events, and maybe a tote board to register the dollars just like they are pledged delegates. The old jokes about the Sheldon Adelson Primary are not that funny anymore.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.