Billionaire casino magnate Sheldon Adelson is on the verge of deciding which GOP candidate he wants to buy –  and at the moment, it looks as if Marco Rubio will be the lucky winner. It should come as no surprise. The Koch Brothers have seen their favorite son, Scott Walker, crash and burn, while Jeb Bush is busy digging his own political grave. Donald Trump, for all his entertainment value, is a clueless hack who has driven four companies into the ground and whose policies would bring down the nation. Ben Carson is a raving theocratic lunatic, and Carly Fiorina is either a pathological liar or a deluded psychotic schizophrenic. For establishment Republicans, Marco Rubio appears to be the only viable candidate.

During the last Presidential election, Adelson spent in excess of $100 million on GOP candidates and legislation. That is only a small fraction of his net worth (nearly $26 billion, according to Forbes), but it makes him very attractive to Republican candidates. Currently, he is only one of a number of billionaires planning to buy the 2016 election who are now looking at the youthful Rubio more closely as his poll numbers rise among GOP voters. Other potential backers include investment banker Charles Schwab and New York hedge fund manager Paul Singer. If any or all three of them decide to invest in Rubio, it is likely that fellow oligarchs will follow their lead.

While Marco Rubio may carry less baggage than other GOP candidates, he has his liabilities – not the least of which is his history of financial troubles, despite enjoying a solid, upper-middle-class income. His legislative record is also spotty; as a senator, he has missed 11% of the votes, whereas the average for most lawmakers is 2%. Nonetheless, oligarchs such as Adelson are starting to see the proverbial handwriting on the wall with Bernie Sander’s successful attacks on everything they stand for. Desperate to hold on to their power, they’re now reaching for anyone they think might be relied upon to continue the rigged economic policies that keep them wallowing in luxury at the expense of everyone else.

Dream on, Adelson. In case you’ve forgotten, America’s oligarchs and plutocrats poured over $316 million into Romney’s campaign last time around – and despite the fact that the GOP outspent Democrats by some $1.5 million, Romney lost by 126 electoral votes. This story is yet another example of how the 1% continues to labor under the delusion that they can literally buy American democracy. It is an issue that is front and center in this election, when voters on both sides are starting to see through the BS and realize that we’ve all been getting the shaft.

But by all means, keep it up. It shows the billionaire class for what it is – self serving, maddened by greed, and willing to believe that their money can buy anything – even democracy.

K.J. McElrath is a former history and social studies teacher who has long maintained a keen interest in legal and social issues. In addition to writing for The Ring of Fire, he is the author of two published novels: Tamanous Cooley, a darkly comic environmental twist on Dante's Inferno, and The Missionary's Wife, a story of the conflict between human nature and fundamentalist religious dogma. When not engaged in journalistic or literary pursuits, K.J. works as an entertainer and film composer.