Wow. Our experiment is off to a great start—let's see if we can finish it off sooner than expected.
Donald Trump, the would-be Republican presidential candidate, is on a roll lately. Most notably, a recent CNN poll put the New York real estate tycoon atop the field of Republican hopefuls, including former governors Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty. But the longer Trump sticks around, the more voters learn about Trump's past—which, from the looks of it, will only hurt his presidential odds.
I reported last week, for instance, that while Trump currently opposes domestic partner benefits for gay couples, he publicly supported them in a 1999 interview with The Advocate, a leading magazine on gay issues. In that interview, Trump, who was then flirting with a presidential run on the Reform Party ticket, also called for stronger protections against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, and said gays would be free to serve in a Trump administration. It's those kinds of positions, said Dave Peterson, an Iowa State political science professor, "that are going to do him in" with Iowa voters.
For Trump it gets worse. As a Center for Responsive Politics analysis revealed, Trump has a history of donating to Democrats. In the past 20 years, six of the top ten recipients of Trump cash were Dems. They include Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) and Sens. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Harry Reid (D-Nev.), and New York's two Democratic senators, Kirsten Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer.
Here's more the Center for Responsive Politics' analysis:
Trump has also supported other notable politicians, including:
- $7,000 to former Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.), the "liberal lion of the Senate"
- $7,500 to former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani (R)
- $5,500 to Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) including $2,000 during his 2004 presidential run
- $5,000 to former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.)
- $4,000 to former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD)
- $2,000 to former President George W. Bush (R)
- $1,000 to then-Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.)
Trump's donations to various political action committees and 527 groups also demonstrate his bipartisan checkbook.
During the most recent election cycle, Trump contributed $170,000 to the Republican Governor's Association, $50,000 to the ultra-conservative American Crossroads PAC, $30,400 to the National Republican Senatorial Committee, and $10,000 to the Democratic Party of New York.
However, of the nearly $420,000 Trump has donated to committees, the largest recipient has been the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee with $116,000—or more than one fourth of his total contributions to all party and political action committees.
If Trump is indeed serious about running in 2012 (which remains to be seen), the big question is whether conservatives will forgive him for his past positions and donations to Democrats. I wouldn't bet on it.