Hungarian-born entrepreneur Thomas Peterffy has launched a nationwide campaign to support Republicans in this election and protect personal liberties from the encroaching socialism of the federal government.
"The meaning of freedom is in the U.S. Constitution," Peterffy, 72, the self-made billionaire and founder of Interactive Brokers Group Inc., told Newsmax in an interview. "Republicans want to live by the document's original meaning.
"Democrats want to reinterpret it and use the power of government to force people to act in a way that they think would be better for all — and in some cases, especially better for them," he added. "Sounds familiar?"
Peterffy, who fled Communist Hungary in 1965 and landed in the United States with single suitcase, is now No. 32 on the Forbes 400 billionaires list, with a net worth of $12.6 billion.
His "Freedom to Succeed" campaign has been saturating the television airwaves with spots calling on Americans to support Republicans and conservative causes on Election Day.
That includes backing the Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.
Trump is "more of a common-sense, practical business person," added Petterffy, while expressing some reservations about the billionaire developer's character and patience.
Born in Budapest in a hospital basement during a Russian air raid, Peterffy lived under Communism with his divorced mother, grandmother and an uncle who had been held in a Siberian prison camp.
"Socialism and Communism are extremely attractive to a superficial observer," Peterffy told Newsmax. "It is not until you get into the details, or actually experience it, that it becomes apparent that it does not work."
"As a child, I grew up in fear," he said. "When I was four, all my other relatives were deported to the countryside, having to leave most of their personal belongings behind.
"My mother had various jobs, from where she was regularly fired as politically undesirable. I often saw her crying and mumbling that we'll starve to death.
"We were in constant fear that my uncle would be arrested or that our building would collapse due to bomb damage."
Peterffy said he soon realized that Communism "did not make common sense, not from a theoretical perspective and not from a practical point of view.
"It angered me that millions had to suffer, lie and pretend to prove the insane economic notion of collectivism," he said.
Peterffy first went to West Germany, later immigrating to the United States as a refugee. He could not speak English when he arrived in New York City.
He first worked as an architectural draftsman for an engineering firm, soon getting into technology by volunteering to program the company’s new computer.
He left his career in architecture in 1977 when the purchased a seat on the American Stock Exchange.
The following year, Peterffy founded Interactive Brokers and pioneered electronic securities trading. He also was critical to the founding of the Boston Options Exchange in 2002.
"Everything around us can be done better and cheaper if you are willing focus and devote the time and the energy to figure out how to do it," he told Newsmax. "Probably by introducing technological innovation into the process, in most cases.
"Just learn about something, anything, really thoroughly and go and do it. Persist through the setbacks."
However, this entrepreneurial spirit is under siege by an American political system that is rapidly embracing socialism, he said, personified by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in the presidential primaries.
"Sanders, the socialist, almost got the Democratic nomination — and if he had, he would be beating [Donald] Trump today," Peterffy told Newsmax.
"Sixty-four percent of people under the age of 40 in America believe that socialism is a better system.
"Led by academia and the media, public opinion is rapidly moving to the left."
That's why Peterffy created "Freedom to Succeed." He said he is supporting Trump's candidacy because of the candidate's "skills, knowledge, preparedness."
"He has more life and management experience than [President Barack] Obama did," Peterffy said.
"Donald Trump is not my favorite person for the job, but I am motivated by what I see as the long-term consequences of a Trump versus a Hillary presidency," he said. "She will appoint liberal, activist judges who will work with her to give citizenship to 11 million illegal immigrants.
"They will all vote Democrat and we'll never have a Republican president ever again," Peterffy added.
"Socialism is coming to America."
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