the national interest

Trump Endorsed by Populist Democrat, Money Launderer Andrew Stein

Andrew Stein, remnant of a Democratic Party that used to care about the disadvantaged. Photo: Seth Wenig/AP

This election cycle has seen lots and lots of Republican officials saying they can’t vote for their party’s nominee for president. Very few Democrats have said the same. But there are special cases, and Andrew Stein is one of them. In a Wall Street Journal op-ed today, Stein explains that while he is a lifelong Democrat, “I believe my party has become the party of the elites and moneyed class and has deserted its historic mission as the party of the working class and disadvantaged.” Therefore, he argues, “I believe Donald Trump will make a great president and I ask my fellow Democrats to vote for him.”

Stein, a former New York City Council president, devotes much of his op-ed to recounting his past in Democratic politics and reverence for the party’s 20th-century heroes. His affinity for Trump is not the first foray into bipartisanship for Stein, who once dated Ann Coulter. Stein’s substantive case for the Republican nominee is rather brief. He refutes the charge that Trump is a racist by asserting, “Donald Trump is no racist,” a defense that may not fully address every concern on this front. His affirmative case for Trump states, “He is for strong pro-growth policies like reducing the marginal and corporate tax rates and eliminating thousands of job-killing and business-stifling regulations, the biggest of which is ObamaCare.”

Of course, cutting taxes for the rich, deregulating business, and repealing Obamacare are policies that literally every national Republican favors. It is not clear what this has to do with helping the working class and the disadvantaged. Possibly relevant to Stein’s endorsement of Trump’s tax and regulatory policies, but unmentioned in the op-ed, is Stein’s own conviction for tax evasion as part of a money-laundering scheme. At the time of his conviction, Stein requested leniency for his crime on the grounds that he is a longtime elected official. You can see why a man who used inside connections to steal a huge sum of money and requested favorable treatment because he was an insider could become disgusted that the Democrats were now “the party of the elites and moneyed class.”

Trump Endorsed by Democrat, Money Launderer Andrew Stein