If You Liked Donating to Jeb Bush in the Primary, You’ll Love Giving to Clinton in the General

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Ready for money.
Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Every day in the United States, at least one retired Republican bureaucrat announces that he or she will be voting for Hillary Clinton in November. Or so it seems. On Tuesday, two former Republican EPA officials announced that they don’t want Donald Trump to make America great again. On Monday, 50 of their co-partisans in the national-security Establishment said the same. Late that night, Maine senator Susan Collins became the sixth GOP member of the upper chamber to announce that she will not pull the lever for Trump in November (Collins stipulated that she will not vote for Clinton, either).

But talk is cheap. And while Republican public officials detail their discomfort in newspaper columns, hundreds of GOP donors are sending a message that’s less loud but more potent: Donors to non-Trump Republicans in the GOP primary have given $1.6 million to their party’s nominee — while giving $2.2 million to his general-election rival, the New York Times reports.

Of the donors who gave at least $200 to Jeb Bush, John Kasich, and Chris Christie, more are now bankrolling Clinton than are donating to the GOP nominee. Among donors to all failed Republican primary candidates, only 2 percent have given to Trump. No Republican nominee has performed this poorly with his primary rivals’ donors since the last time the GOP nominated a mendacious, unqualified celebrity, in 1980.

And Trump isn’t just losing his party’s donors, ex-bureaucrats, and fans of the Iraq War — he’s also losing its Gordon Gekkos. Wall Street may have gone in for “hope and change” in 2008, but following the passage of Dodd-Frank, the finance industry backed Mitt Romney in 2012. But, this cycle, the money lenders are back in the Democratic temple. Per The New Yorker:

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, hedge funds and private-equity funds donated $27.6 million to Clinton and pro-Clinton groups during this election cycle, while the Wall Street Journal, conducting its own, broader calculation, came to an even larger number, $47.6 million. Both analyses found that Trump had received nineteen thousand dollars so far from the hedge-fund and private-equity industries.

These numbers may make some left-wing Democrats uneasy. If Republican warmongers and hedge-fund managers are “with her,” what does that say about blue America’s standard-bearer?

It’s certainly true that Clinton is on the hawkish wing of her party on foreign policy (to the point that she is, reportedly, courting the endorsement of celebrated war criminal Henry Kissinger). Nonetheless, there are plenty of reasons for GOP foreign-policy intellectuals and Wall Street donors to prefer Clinton to Trump, even if they don’t see eye to eye on policy. After all, Clinton has pledged to raise taxes on the rich and increase financial regulation, while Trump has vowed to abolish the estate tax and repeal Dodd-Frank.

But you can’t profit off investing in a loser. Right now, most general-election forecasts give Clinton an 80 percent chance of taking the White House in November. If you’re a Wall Street executive or Republican think-tank dweller who wishes to have some influence on the next U.S. president, you’re better off backing the winning candidate, regardless of her policy agenda.

And then, of course, there’s the whole “Trump appears to be an incompetent narcissist who admires dictators and deplores the Constitution” thing.

Plus, can you really trust a serial fraudster to put your money to good use? Trump and the Republican National Committee raised $82 million in July. But you wouldn’t know it by perusing the airwaves.