Yet Another Republican Billionaire Is Convinced Republicans Are Too Damn Liberal

It seems like every two years I read a story like this:

Richard Uihlein, a wealthy shipping-supplies magnate from Illinois who shuns the spotlight, has risen to become one of the most powerful — and disruptive — GOP donors in the country.

For years, Uihlein has given money to isolated races in the service of his anti-union, free-market and small-government views. But he has dramatically increased his giving this cycle, pouring $21 million into races from Montana to West Virginia to ensure more conservative victories in the upcoming midterm elections, Federal Election Commission records show.

Every election cycle there’s some new Republican billionaire who’s dumping bucketloads of money into races all over the country in service of his unique view that Republicans just aren’t conservative enough. Inevitably, this includes a deeply held belief that unions are a tool of Satan, despite the fact that unions apparently didn’t prevent them from becoming billionaires in the first place.

Anyway, Uihlein is the latest Fox News fan to decide that the Republican Party needs a shot of real conservatism and the RINOs need to be ridden out of town on a rail. Honestly, though, since this has been happening regularly for at least the past decade, I have a hard time calling this “disruptive.” It’s just business as usual.

What happened to the good old days, when robber barons were assholes during their business careers but then settled down to a life of philanthropy after their kids took over the business? Shouldn’t Uihlein be funding a children’s hospital or a nationwide chain of free internet cafes for inner-city kids or something?

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

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Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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