As a general rule, ultra-wealthy people tend to be politically conservative. As a result, billionaire hedge fund manager George Soros is something of an aberration. Wealthy beyond imagining, the Hungary native is also famous for his support of progressive and liberal causes. Because he has supported left-leaning causes throughout his life, he has used his clout to influence elections by supporting certain candidates and opposing others. This isn’t so unusual; most people, even those without vast wealth, throw their support behind one party or another. When you’re as rich as Soros, however, innocent activities are easily misconstrued. However, it’s more than his wealth that makes George Soros the enemy of the right.
Before looking more closely at why the right have it out for Soros, it helps to understand what an outlier he is. Most people with his kind of wealth and power support conservative politics. However, Soros has a background that is far different than that of most wealthy individuals. A native of Hungary, he fled to England with his parents during the Nazi occupation. Growing up, he saw firsthand how social injustice ruins lives, so it comes as no surprise that he has long been a champion for such issues. Unlike so many who come from nothing and end up wealthy, Soros’s views haven’t budged. He still remembers what it’s like to be desperate, and he sincerely uses his influence to help others.
With all of that being said, it is easy to see why the right has these ideas about Soros. Any single person who possesses so much wealth and power is going to be in the cross hairs of conspiracy theorists. The ironic thing about the right’s opposition to Soros is that their very own party includes so many wealthy, powerful people who use their clout to support conservative causes–which is exactly what George Soros does with his influence.
Conspiracy theories abound about the Koch Brothers and others. The right only has one viable target, so it makes sense that they focus their efforts on Soros much of the time. However, they credit him with possessing far more power than he actually has. For example, in 2007, Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly ranted for almost 10 minutes about the dangers of Soros. He even went as far as to state that Soros is “off-the-charts dangerous.” Just last year, Infowars published a video titled “George Soros is About to Overthrow the U.S.” The craziest part is that these statements are being made in all seriousness.
Other than the fact that he is liberal and rich, why does the right have such a problem with George Soros? He not only has strong views, but he is outspoken about them. When George W. Bush was elected president during the hotly contested 2000 election, Soros became mobilized. During his first term, of course, Bush got the U.S. into the Iraq War. Soros was immediately an outspoken opponent of the war, and that didn’t do him any favors among the right.
Even all of these years later, George Soros hasn’t changed his ways. During the Obama administration, the billionaire was fairly quiet. There is little doubt about his opposition to all of the Republican candidates for president, but he was vehemently opposed to Donald Trump. Trump, of course, won the election and was elected president. Not surprisingly, George Soros actively supports many progressive organizations and movements that immediately took action against the newly elected president. Had this been reported, it would have been factual. Unfortunately, however, the era of fake news is upon us, which means that anything goes.
After Trump’s election, protests erupted around the country. Some were positively massive, including the Women’s March and the March for Science. Incredibly, rumors started almost immediately that most of the protesters at these massive protests were actually being paid by none other than George Soros. Indeed, the right painted it out like Soros didn’t have access to enough people who opposed Trump but that he had to pay people to do so. Naturally, this is completely false. Again, Soros openly and actively supports many progressive causes and organizations, but he doesn’t pay individual people to do his bidding like that.
There is a much darker side to the opposition to Soros than many people realize. Soros and his family had to flee Hungary during the 1940s because they feared persecution for being Jews. Sadly, anti-Semitism is still alive and well, and it has been directed at Soros through the years. The bigoted view that Jews “control the world” has been around for ages, and Soros has been cited as proof of this. Incredibly, Breitbart has even referred to Soros as an octopus, which is concerning since the Nazis used octopus imagery in their propaganda campaigns against the Jews.
Now that Trump is in office, we can expect to hear a lot more from George Soros. As an immigrant himself, Soros strongly supports the rights of migrants and refugees. Almost immediately after taking office, of course, Trump tried to put his infamous “Muslim ban” into effect. Indeed, Trump has targeted immigrants and refugees since long before he was elected, and that surely doesn’t sit well with Soros. The so-called Koch Brother of the Left is sure to keep using his clout and influence to protect the most vulnerable in our society, which includes those who flee here to escape from persecution.
Considering how much the right seems to fear him, it is incredible to think of all George Soros has accomplished in his 86 years. Indeed, he is already well on his way to becoming a centenarian, which would be just another accomplishment in a long, long line of them. After fleeing Hungary with his family as a kid, Soros attended the London School of Economics, where he earned both a bachelor of science and a master’s degree in philosophy. In 1969, Soros started his first hedge fund, Double Eagle. Soros Fund Management was founded the following year, and the hedge fund manager never looked back after that.
Although George Soros has made his fortune by being a savvy investor, he hasn’t just hoarded his fortunes. A generous philanthropist, he has donated billions of dollars to causes that he supports through the years. For example, his Open Society Foundation, which supports social justice causes, donated more than $1.6 billion to support democratic development in Eastern Europe. Another $1.5 billion or so has been donated to support democratic reform in the United States. Given all of the turmoil in U.S. politics these days, there is little doubt that George Soros will be busy fighting back with his fortune for many years to come.