What does that mean? We can only speculate, but it sure appears that DeSantis is prepared to challenge Trump for the 2024 nomination, and Wall Street is backing him, big-league.
When it comes to the likely Republican presidential candidates in 2024, Wall Street’s money is on Florida Governor Ron DeSantis—not former President Donald Trump, who’s been teasing another run at the White House.
A fifth of the $55 million that DeSantis has raised this year came from hedge fund billionaires, private equity bankers, investment managers, and other finance industry donors. Trump, who got less than 2% of his 2020 reelection funds from Wall Street, has raised the bulk of his $100 million war chest from small-dollar donors.
Ordinarily, a candidate eschewing Wall Street money in favor of small-dollar donors would be a good thing. But it’s hard to imagine Trump—who views the unremitting acquisition of cold hard cash as the summum bonum of the human experiment—is actually turning away hedge fund donors. More likely, the big money wants their particular brand of evil hermetically sealed in easy-to-store bottles and jars, not kept in a sippy cup that’s bound to get hurled across the room at irregular intervals.
One billionaire donor quoted by Bloomberg was crystal clear in his preference for a less shambolic variety of evil.
“Ron DeSantis is my favorite man,” says Thomas Peterffy, 76, the billionaire chairman of Greenwich, Conn.-based Interactive Brokers, who gave $250,000 to DeSantis’s political action committee in April. Although he donated hundreds of thousands to Trump in 2016 and 2017, he says he would rather the former president sit out 2024. Compared with the impulsive Trump, DeSantis “does much more substantial planning,” Peterffy says. “He thinks about how he wants to implement things. He gives himself time to think it through.”
Even a dragonfly fixin’ to mate with a bug zapper thinks things through more than Trump does, so Peterfly isn’t exactly setting a high bar. Peterffy probably meant that DeSantis is far less likely to pull a bottle of Yoo-hoo and a bag of Funyuns out of his pants during his State of the Union address. After all, when you’re buying a president, you can’t have everything, and someone who just does what he’s told is really all you can ask for.
According to Bloomberg, DeSantis has been a “money magnet” for obscenely rich folks working in finance. One donor, Citadel owner Ken Griffin, gave DeSantis’ PAC a gaudy $5 million.
While that cash is, for the moment, going toward DeSantis’ goal of raising $150 million for his reelection campaign in 2022, it’s easy enough to read between the lines and conclude that Florida Man would like to be president. Bloomberg notes DeSantis has held fundraising events in far-flung lands like Nebraska and New Jersey and notes that he’s “hoovering up unprecedented sums of cash.” The $55 million he’s raised so far this year exceeds the $41 million his PAC raised in 2018 for his barely successful gubernatorial campaign against Democrat Andrew Gillum.
That said, DeSantis’ fundraising efforts have lagged somewhat since COVID-19 decided to turn Florida into its fave vacation getaway. But Wall Street can hardly be bothered to care about dead Floridians when so much profit is at stake, so at least one insider remains sanguine about the guv’s prospects: “Sooner or later, he’ll be our president,” said Peterfly.
Not if we have anything to say about it.
Of course, the anthropomorphic IBS flareup known as Donald Trump is bound to weigh in before long. And when he does, get ready for lots and lots of blood on the abattoir floor. After all, we already know Trump “f*cking hates” DeSantis, and the 2024 GOP hopefuls are unsheathing their long knives as we speak.
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