Meet the liberals who love Trump

“Donald Trump is the biggest gift to the movement for reform since the Supreme Court gave us Citizens United,” said Lessig in a recent interview, referring to the court decision that riled up liberals by granting essentially unlimited campaign contributions from corporate entities. “What he’s saying is absolutely correct, the absolute truth. He has pulled back the curtain.”

As pundits search for the source of Trump’s resilient appeal, reformers say they’ve long known the answer: the constant emphasis on how his staggering wealth immunizes him from insider influence. It has arguably now become the campaign’s most salient theme. “I don’t need anybody’s money. I’m using my own money,” Trump scoffed at his campaign announcement in June. A month later, he told the Wall Street Journal, “When you give [contributions], they do whatever the hell you want them to do.” And primary voters seem spellbound. “The guys who want to give me a million – I said, forget it. Who cares?” Trump recently told a rapt audience. “All of the money that’s going to Hillary, and Jeb, and Scott and Marco? They’re totally controlled. Totally.”

The drubbing has only continued, and many share the sentiment that Trump has become an educator, if accidentally, on campaign finance. “In the course of explaining his many political contributions, he’s made the same points the reformers have made: that this is a pay-to-play system, that people put their money in and expect to get results,” said Trevor Potter, founding president of the Campaign Legal Center and former chair of the Federal Election Commission during the Clinton administration. David Donnelly, president of Every Voice, a leading non-profit that advocates for campaign finance laws, agreed. “What Trump is saying is the truth because he can afford to say it,” said Donnelly. “A lot of the other candidates don’t feel like they can afford to say it, because they’d bite the hand that feeds.”