really jumped out at me. Ignore who the candidate is and just read it as a story of access for money.
The donor in the story gave roughly half the money that the candidate's (supposedly independent) superPAC received in 2011. The candidate and the donor's relationship stems from the fact that the donor has contributed and raised large amounts of money for the candidate in the past. Count the instances of access in the story: The donor gets to drive around Iowa with the candidate, the donor gives the candidate's introductory speech at a major political conference, the donor is backstage as the candidate prepares his post-election speech. I submit that no relationship would exist if the donor were not a large donor.
I strongly believe in the freedom of speech and I believe that buying lots of advertising will only win you elections if you have an effective message to push in your ads. At the same time, I'm also keenly aware that a huge reason why some countries are well-off and others aren't is that, in some countries, if you want to execute a business project, you have to write a line for bribes into your budget. And I'm also keenly aware that, by dint of their social standing and their financial status, politicians and other policy-makers are already predisposed to hearing the voices and needs of the wealthy and powerful plenty loudly without having to pander to them for cash.