If you were in Vegas last weekend, you may have seen some hard-luck dudes hoping to hit the financial jackpot — and that was just the Republican governors hanging around Sheldon Adelson, wokka wokka. This is apparently what the world looks like now: presidential hopefuls whittling down their target audiences to the guys with the fattest wallets.
In case you missed the story, this weekend was the spring leadership meeting for the Republican Jewish Coalition in Las Vegas, a gathering that attracted a number of those interested in seeking the Republican nomination in 2016. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie came, as did Wisconsin's Scott Walker and Ohio's John Kasich. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush also showed up, although he didn't speak. Ostensibly, the men were there to simply give a speech to a politically active group. In reality, they were there to build a relationship with Adelson, the gambling magnate whose $20 million in support to Newt Gingrich in 2012 made Gingrich viable.
That's the equation. If you have money, you have a chance. Show that you have money, and you show that you have a chance. And if you have a chance, people will give you more money. Walker and Kasich need someone to step up and vouch for them, to make them contenders. Christie unexpectedly needs to do something similar, to show that, even with the George Washington Bridge scandal casting its shadow, someone's willing to invest. Politicians never like to have to campaign far and wide — it's why the electoral college still exists and why gerrymandering is rampant. So if you can make a statement by currying the favor of one guy, that's a good expenditure of campaign resources.