CEO and Chairman of Las Vegas Sands Sheldon Adelson speaks during a news conference at the Marina Bay Sands convention centre in Singapore June 23, 2010.
In 2012, Sheldon Adelson was the ATM that kept his longtime buddy Newt Gingrich's campaign alive. Functionally, it was no different then setting fire to big piles of cash, though it was either more or less entertaining, depending on your perspective.

In 2016, however, Adelson won't dump money on the basis of personal friendship. That's according to a new report from Matea Gold and Philip Rucker of The Washington Post, who say Adelson is focused on picking candidates he thinks can win.

“The bar for support is going to be much higher,” said Andy Abboud, Adelson’s top political adviser and an executive at the Adelson-run Las Vegas Sands Corp. He added, “There’s going to be a lot more scrutiny.”
So, who would the candidate be that could clear that bar? Well, this weekend he's hosting former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, each of whom will have a private session with Adelson as they seek his pot of gold for 2016. But do any of them meet these criteria?

Please read below the fold to find out.

“He wants to have the guy or the gal who’s most likely to put a coalition together to win in November,” [RNC member Shawl] Steel said. “The candidate will have to have a strong résumé — no sudden lightning-new guy — will have to build a formidable fundraising apparatus and really be emotionally tethered to bringing in middle-class Latinos, Asian Pacifics, Jews and blacks like never before.”
Ah. A veteran Republican with broad appeal outside the GOP base. Technically, I think that's what we call a "unicorn." As in Newt Gingrich had a better chance of winning the presidency in 2012 than Sheldon Adelson does of finding that candidate in 2016.

But even if Adelson is ultimately going to be disappointed by the results he gets from his largesse, that won't stop 2016 hopefuls from trying to get in his wallet. Because:

A senior strategist who has advised past GOP nominees said the 2016 hopefuls “are just falling at his feet.”

“It’s a bunch of people out scrounging for the same dollars, and Sheldon represents the largest or second-largest box of money,” said the strategist, who requested anonymity to speak candidly.

I think everybody is assuming that Republicans reached peak clownery in their 2012 primary, but with spectacles like this, I hold out great hope for 2016 to be an even better show.
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