Pitchers and catchers reported just a few short days ago, but already things are looking good for the Chicago Cubs – or, at least, better than they have for a long time. Vegas odds are already favoring the Cubs for their first World Series appearance in decades, and batting practice had barely begun before left fielder Kyle Schwarber knocked a home run so far out of the park it busted a local windshield. Here’s hoping that this is simply the first in an ongoing scourge of baseball-related automobile damages, centered around Waveland Avenue.
Anyway, while the Cubs seem to be doing just fine, their owners, the Ricketts family, have come under fire from Donald Trump on Twitter, for their contributions to Our Principles PAC – a Team Romney-led effort designed to handicap Trump in primary states. Marlene Ricketts, wife of Joe Ricketts, founder of TD Ameritrade, has contributed around $3 million, so far, to help air ads attacking Trump in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. And Trump is none too happy about it.
For starters, the money spending isn’t exactly secret – it’s available for Trump’s viewing pleasure on Open Secrets, and in the Our Principles PAC SEC filings. It’s also no secret that the Ricketts are conservative. Prior to financing the campaign to depose the self-proclaimed Republican frontrunner, the Ricketts financed Gov. Scott Walker’s short-lived campaign, and have contributed to everyone from Texas Gov. Rick Perry, to Sens. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, to Gov. Chris Christie, Sen. Lindsey Graham, and former Gov. Jeb Bush. They are one of the few large donor families making big spends against Trump this cycle – at least, so far. And while there isn’t much data on whether the ads were successful, they appear to have at least gotten under Trump’s skin (which is, admittedly, not that hard to do).
But what’s really strange here is what Donald Trump is threatening to do should Ricketts resist his social media plea for satisfaction: according to Trump himself, the Ricketts family should prepare to be publicly smeared, all for the petty crime of being the political opposition. Donald Trump isn’t owed a coronation, or the unqualified allegiance of the GOP’s feudal lords. And he has no right to demand that someone stop doing the act that’s undeniably central to both the First Amendment and the entire electoral process: making one’s voice heard without fear of repercussion. It’s unbecoming of a candidate to be so thin-skinned, but more importantly, it throws his theory of governance into question. We’ve already endured one petulant Administration hell bent on punishing political opponents by weaponizing government services – as any 501(c)(4) subject to the whims of Lois Lerner can no doubt tell you – do we really want to reward such repulsive behavior by seeking it as a characteristic in our Presidential contenders?
I’d say “no,” but I’ve been almost universally incorrect in my Trump-centric predictions thus far. But seriously, America: Idiocracy was meant to be a warning, not a model.
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