Why is GOP trounc­ing Dems in fundrais­ing?


The Repub­li­can pres­i­dent has a job ap­proval rat­ing around 40 per­cent. The GOP has an un­fa­vor­a­bil­ity rat­ing around 56 per­cent. And Repub­li­cans trail Democrats by nine points in an av­er­age of “generic bal­lot” polls.

All of which makes it no­table that the Repub­li­can Na­tional Com­mit­tee is trounc­ing the Demo­cratic Na­tional Com­mit­tee when it comes to rais­ing money, es­pe­cially from small donors.

The num­bers are strik­ing. In June, the RNC raised $13.5 mil­lion to the DNC’s $5.5 mil­lion.

For 2017 so far, the RNC has raised $75.4 mil­lion to the DNC’s $38.2 mil­lion.

The RNC started the year with $25.3 mil­lion in cash-on-hand. Now it has $44.7 mil­lion. The DNC started the year with $10.5 in cash-on-hand. Now, that has fallen to $7.5 mil­lion.

As of June 30, the RNC re­ported $0 in debt. The DNC re­ported $3.3 mil­lion in debt.

A look in­side the num­bers is even worse for the DNC. Look­ing at col­lec­tions from small donors — that is, those who con­trib­uted less than $200 — the RNC raised $10.5 mil­lion in the months of May and June. The DNC raised $5.3 mil­lion from small donors in the same time pe­riod.

The RNC’s money to­tal is a record — more than was raised in any pre­vi­ous non-pres­i­den­tial elec­tion year. That is true for June, and for all of 2017 as well. The $75.4 mil­lion raised this year com­pares to $55.4 mil­lion for the same pe­riod in 2015; to $51.2 for the same pe­riod in 2014; to $41.1 mil­lion for the same pe­riod in 2013, and so on go­ing back.

“It’s def­i­nitely a re­flec­tion of sup­port for Pres­i­dent Trump,” said RNC spokesman Ryan Ma­honey. “Our small-dol­lar donors are giv­ing at a record pace be­cause they be­lieve the RNC is sup­port­ing Pres­i­dent Trump, and they like that.”

The ob­vi­ous rea­son for the Democrats’ trou­bles is that they lost the White House, the House and the Sen­ate last year. Now, the party ap­pears to have a par­tic­u­larly bad han­gover. One data point: In 2013, af­ter Repub­li­cans lost their se­cond pres­i­den­tial elec­tion in a row and many be­lieved the party faced years in the elec­toral wilder­ness, the RNC still raised more money in the Jan­uary-June pe­riod, $41.1 mil­lion, than the $38.2 mil­lion the Democrats have raised so far this year.

There is much dis­cus­sion about the in­ten­sity of Demo­cratic op­po­si­tion to Pres­i­dent Trump, and in­deed Democrats showed a lot of fundrais­ing en­thu­si­asm in the los­ing Ge­or­gia 06 con­gres­sional race that turned into a ref­er­en­dum on the pres­i­dent. But the fact is, the pas­sions be­hind The Re­sis­tance have not, or have not yet, turned into sup­port for the main ve­hi­cle of op­po­si­tion to Trump, the Demo­cratic Party.

Democrats have sim­ply not got­ten over the Hil­lary-Bernie split that plagued the party last year. And they have not de­cided what they will be in the fu­ture. Re­mem­ber, this is a party that won the White House in 2008 and 2012 on the strength of the Obama coali­tion of mi­nori­ties, young peo­ple, and the col­lege ed­u­cated — the group po­lit­i­cal jour­nal­ist Ron Brown­stein calls the “coali­tion of the as­cen­dant.” It’s not an ex­ag­ger­a­tion to say that many be­lieved de­mo­graph­ics fa­vored them so heav­ily that they were vir­tu­ally guar­an­teed Demo­cratic vic­to­ries in the years ahead. And then the Trump vic­tory re­minded them that there are still a lot of work­ing­class vot­ers in the coun­try who aren’t nec­es­sar­ily nat­u­ral Democrats.

This week, Democrats led by Sen­ate Mi­nor­ity Leader Charles Schumer and House Mi­nor­ity Leader Nancy Pelosi rolled out a new agenda, which they call “A Bet­ter Deal,” which is de­signed to ap­peal to those dis­af­fected vot­ers. And not a minute too soon. When a re­cent ABC- Wash­ing­ton Post poll asked, “Do you think the Demo­cratic Party cur­rently stands for some­thing, or just stands against Trump?” — just 37 per­cent said the party stands for some­thing, while 52 per­cent said it just stands against Trump, and 11 per­cent had no opin­ion.

So now Democrats have a huge job in front of them. And it is un­clear whether Tom Perez, the Hil­lary Clin­ton-backed can­di­date who won the DNC chair­man­ship in a di­vi­sive bat­tle with Rep. Keith Ellison ear­lier this year, is the man to do it. Last month, in ex­plain­ing an­other dis­mal fundrais­ing pe­riod for the Democrats, Perez dis­tanced him­self from the prob­lem. “I got here on March 1,” Perez told MSNBC, “and I was the first to say it, we’ve got a lot of re­build­ing to do.”

The new fundrais­ing num­bers don’t pre­dict what will hap­pen in 2018. But they do say what is hap­pen­ing now. And that is, in spite of his prob­lems there is enough sup­port for Trump in the Repub­li­can base to set new small-donor fundrais­ing records, while Democrats have yet an­other mea­sure of the work that lies ahead.

Byron York is chief po­lit­i­cal cor­re­spon­dent for The Wash­ing­ton Ex­am­iner.

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