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There certainly seems to be one easy answer to the question posed in your title to this piece: Trump needs their money! He is desperate for contributions both for his campaign and to pay his legal and business debts.

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Trump didn't have as much money in 2016, he was fine with it. Sure money is part of it, a big part perhaps, but it's also a choice based on his view that he can win this way.

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Jun 16·edited Jun 16

It's about power, not money (not money in the narrow campaign-and-debts sense, at least). The business community has been running an anti-Biden whisper campaign all along. (I think it is because of his anti-monopoly support, and that it explains his inability to pull up his poll numbers, but that’s just speculation.) Trump the opportunist sees he can turn big money (meaning big power) to his side and win the election, and the business community confidently believes they will be more than a match for him after he does. (But see Linda Weide’s reply to Eric Lin Doub below.)

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Thanks for this. You're tracking a classic corporatist/syndicalist turn, which informs populism as it drifts rightward, relinquishing its anti-monopoly, anti-corporate (big business) rhetoric and program as it gains in popularity and the CEOs begin to realize they can "do business" with the firebrand. It happened in Italy, then In Germany, ca. 1922-1938, and it's happening now, right here in River City. We tend to forget how anti-capitalist fascist movements were at their inception, and for much of their political-ideological development. Trump's working-class and petit-bourgeois base responds to this dimension of his message; his new constituents on Wall St and in Silicon Valley are more afraid of his social-democratic opponent than they are of Trumps' residual populism.

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Thanks for this, James. As a Stanford student I lived in Germany in the 1980s. I studied the history of that country. What I learned, and what I see now of this ex-president, makes me want to really challenge you, Matt, for covering this arsonist of democracy, liberty and justice as if he is a legitimate candidate. He has tried and is still trying to burn down democracy. But he is running for fire chief.

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Hitler came to power with support from the business community because they were terrified of the left and the Labor unions, particularly after seeing the Communist Revolution in Russia. They saw Hitler as their useful idiot, whereas they became his useful idiots. There were those who had to leave Germany. I do not think most Titans of American business know much modern history, or they would take pause at wishing in a Trump regime. Last I checked businesses were made up of people, and people do not fare well in a populist regime, particularly because part of the maintenance of power is to keep people upset and off kilter. Not a great state to be in.

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I hope we do not find out what a Trump presidency will look like in terms of business, or anything else for that matter.

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Because Trump at his core is corrupt and a grifter. It was never about making America great again, it was about him.

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What about the elephant in the room. (No, don't hit me.) I mean Project 2025. It's not a conspiracy theory or a joke, and it is most decidedly frightening. Trump is their guy and this means no matter how I feel about Trump, there is no way I can support him. But how many people even know what Project 2025 is? Do you? You haven't really covered it, but it's a very important part of what Voting Trump is.

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Project 2025 has been vastly overhyped by reporters who don't know anything about conservatives. First, I've read parts of it, and it's mostly just orthodox GOP policy, though on antitrust it's actually much better than that. Second, Trump isn't into it. There's real tension between Project 2025 and Trump's orbit.

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Sorry Matt, but Project 2025 is the framework to greatly empower the Presidency with Trump in charge and doing the bidding of the corporate billionaire oligarchs. Project 2025 removes guardrails to executive power as the Seattle Times described as follows: Project 2025 proposes, among a host of things, eliminating the Department of Education, eliminating the Department of Commerce, deploying the U.S. military whenever protests erupt, dismantling the FBI and Department of Homeland Security, removing protections against sexual and gender discrimination, and terminating diversity, equity, inclusion and affirmative action.

Additional mandates include: siphoning off billions of public school funding, funding private school choice vouchers, phasing out public education’s Title 1 program, gutting the nation’s free school meals program, eliminating the Head Start program, banning books and suppressing any curriculum that discusses the evils of slavery.

Project 2025 also calls for banning abortion (which makes women second-class citizens), restricting access to contraception, forcing would-be immigrants to be detained in concentration camps, eliminating Title VII and Title IX of the Civil Rights Act, recruiting 54,000 loyal MAGA Republicans to replace existing federal civil servants, and ending America’s bedrock principle that separates church from state.

Matt, I don't get your desire to want to be friends with the right wing. They really aren't into antitrust. They only say nice things about antitrust when they complain about the power of info technology companies to keep their extremist views off their platforms shortly after January 6th insurrection. That's it! They really want unregulated, unchecked corporate power!

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"I don't get your desire to want to be friends with the right wing. "

I have no such desire, I'm just not partisan, I'm evidence driven. Trump filed antitrust cases against Google and Facebook. That's a thing that happened.

I read Project 2025, not a summary of it from biased journalists.

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Ooo. Tough crowd today! Maybe vote Kennedy!

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The Seattle Times is a biased source? Is there anything in the long quote I took from the Seattle Times article that is untrue? All of this is from Project 2025 which would be a complete and radical undermining of federal government regulation of industry including antitrust.

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Trump is a weathervane, with no discernible guiding principles, except for his ego. I liked his populist approach from 2016, but concerned about the coziness with Wall Street you described. Ultimately I don’t share the shrill rhetoric about him destroying democracy but it’s the lack of firm positions that concern me.

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Also, Matt, the data are not there that Trump is "ahead" in the 2024 election. I respect you as an evidence-based thinker and writer, so I trust you will inform yourself enough to not repeat this Red Wavey messaging that was prevalent in 2022, and wrong then. One resource:

https://open.substack.com/pub/simonwdc/p/5-polls-show-biden-gains-new-biden?utm_source=share&utm_medium=android&r=ktt63

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The polling shows a slight Trump lead. I'd prefer if it didn't but the polling is the polling.

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Exactly, the only poll that matters is Election Day. Polling is part of the election racket to extract huge sums from people who can’t afford it to supposedly support your preferred candidate.

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I hope you will actually read and study Simon Rosenberg. If you did, I do not think you would make the declarative statement "The polling shows a slight Trump lead."

No, "the polling is not the polling." Do you not recall how flawed "the polling" was in 2022? You are an expert in antitrust topics. Rosenberg has similar top-level expertise in polling and election results. He started saying ONE YEAR before the 2022 midterms that there would be no Red Wave.

Perhaps you don't have time to learn from those with more expertise than you have, but I hope you will try to make time and learn. At least read the one post I linked to above. Or, alternatively, do not make unsupportable statements like those in your post and the comments here.

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Matt, most polling shows numbers within the margin of error. That means it cannot be determined who is ahead.

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Sure. I do not know who will win.

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Very interesting article. Perhaps Trump’s focus has shifted because of the actions of Biden on inflation and open borders. Inflation has diminished the purchasing power and economic stability of the working class, yet Biden has essentially ignored it, trying to label it as transitory. And the impact of his migrant policy on blue cities has brought this lawlessness into focus. These are kitchen table issues and matter much more than topics like corporate power and antitrust.

On antitrust, both Biden and Trump have at least taken some meaningful steps, going against the grain of decades of Presidents of both parties. I do not think Trump’s not pushing this in the campaign necessarily mean he will change on the issues in a second term. We shall see…

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I think that is definitely the perception most voters have.

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Jun 16·edited Jun 16

I live in the Savannah TV market. A group is running an ad targeting Biden on inflation. They have a shot of Biden mumbling (literally) that inflation is minuscule. The voiceover asks if this is arrogance or dementia and asks the viewer to call Biden to have him admit there is inflation. It is factual and not angry in tone. This ties in with my comment below Biden’s denying the reality of inflation.

More interesting is the market. The market is solid red except for Savannah, which has a sizable black population. Is this Trump trying to shave a few points off the black vote for Biden? Again, with low hanging fruit of inflation killing the working class, there is no need for Trump to target corporations.

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Makes sense.

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Who are the best friends to have if you want inflation to rise if not monopolists? I think you are right about the importance of inflation, and the sitting president will always be blamed for it no matter how far fetched it is, and how evident it is that monopolists are gaining from inflation; and Trump is gaining too, with his new speak.

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Jun 15·edited Jun 16

I believe that the massive unfunded spending under Biden on the heels of massive COVID relief spending in 2020 is a major contributor to inflation. And as much as Democrats whine about “the rich” not paying their fair share, they made no effort to raise taxes the past three or four years. Whether this could have been done through reconciliation is open to debate, but they didn’t even try. Hence, the massive overexpansion of the money supply leading to inflation.

Further to the extent that monopoly power, or other factors contribute to inflation, Biden did not minimizing it. The “transitory“ inflation trope wore thin, and now they tout the “only” 3-4% inflation as a win. But the average person knows that this another 3-4% on top of 25% inflation. Instead of trying Bill Clinton like “I feel your pain” schtick, the Biden crew may now pay a price for sticking its head in the sand.

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A combination of factors including Trump's vast Covid spending, Covid related supply chain disruptions, Absurdly negative real interest rates after 15 years of zero nominal rates and quantitative easing globally, decades of rising corporate concentration making generalized inflation an opportunity to increase margins putting additional upward pressure on prices, and various other factors -- as well as Biden's stimulus.

The idea that Biden is primarily responsible for 10% inflation globally in the past few years simply doesn't accord with the facts.

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Jun 16·edited Jun 16

I am speaking of perceptions. Accepting all of your points to be true, it is Biden team’s denial and gaslighting (“transitory inflation”, etc.) that has fueled the anger. I include the R Congress for the infrastructure and chips bills in the inflationary spending, by the way. Neither party cared because they had to pay off their donors, but Biden may pay the price.

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I agree.

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He found a group of people (the rich business community) who are as cynical as he is.

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As you've pointed out, personnel is policy, so it will be telling who Trump actually appoints to positions if elected. And who he gets rid of.

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Trump starves for praise. Give him praise and he'll give you anything, he desperately needs it.

Sheldon is gone; he's broke. He needs money.

The polls are clueless. They're always wrong. People lie in polls.

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Figuring out Trump isn't hard. He's a serial liar, and whatever he claims he will do, the odds are better if you bet on that he will do the opposite.

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I wouldn't agree the odds are better. it just depends on if it's useful for him to do it. I think trump has few values other than winning bigly but he definitely has some bones to pick with "the establishment" that have somehow persisted long after he ostensibly became a part of it, so i think you can trust that he'll always be tilting at establishment windmills, he just reallocates who he considers the establishment when useful to the primary MO

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Jun 16·edited Jun 17

Might have been the case when he was younger and had full use of his faculties. Seems to me he is becoming more delusional in old age, and regressing to a childhood trait of seeking attention. There's no substance to believe in such raving.

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Comment from pilot flying that low flying Boeing two days ago. Saved it to my cell phone "drive". Does the link work? Anyway, where the rubber of corporate interests hits the road of humanity with greatest harm, is, in my opinion, when people are dumbed down or numbed by stress. Not excusing, just trying to understand.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1vyBfbjUwpmUHfT903LcdWkybE5ei4zfp/view?usp=drivesdk

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This is definitely a concern, especially for the folks subscribing to Matt's blog. It would be awful to lose ground made on the antitrust front under Biden (his support of which I still don't understand), assuming the Dems snooze their way to a loss in November.

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Posting this here because I don't know if I'll remember to add it to a comment at a more appropriate moment. But reading Graeber and Stoller and Doctorow/Giblin and Schneier and Wilkerson together is definitely churning up a lot of interesting patterns in my head.

https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2024/06/rethinking-democracy-for-the-age-of-ai.html

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Is this just about the weather? (Yes, weather is a critical factor in many many problems)

But what's the deal with Boeing?

https://www.foxnews.com/us/southwest-airlines-flight-hawaiian-island-plunges-comes-within-400-feet-pacific-ocean-report

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I know!

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