The New Model for Political Fundraising

by Sal on January 12, 2010

in Election 2010,Nature

The NRCC, NRSC, and RNC are experiencing financial issues.  They are not meeting their fund raising targets, and are lagging behind the Democrats in both money raised and cash-on-hand.  Why is this the case, when the political mood seems to sharply favor Republicans and be antagonistic towards Democrats?  The answer is simple.  Conservatives have had it with the Republican machine supporting liberal Republican candidates such as Arlen Specter (when he was still a Republican), Charlie Crist, and most egregiously, Dede Scozzofava.  A more recent sign of the NRSC’s incompetence is their refusal to spend any money or time on the Massachusetts Senate race, where Republican Scott Brown has a shot (albeit a remote shot) at beating Democrat Martha Coakley for the first time.  The NRSC cried “poverty” as the reason not to be able to support Brown.  (It is worth noting that the NRSC’s congressional counterpart, the NRCC, found Dede  Scozzofava worth $1 million in contributions).

Naturally, Conservatives are sick of being pushed around by the GOP machine.  There is money to be had out there, but the GOP has proven itself unworthy of that money.  So what are Conservatives doing?  Pooling their money to PACs such as Sen. Jim DeMint’s Republican Steering Committee and SarahPAC, as well as sending money to individual Conservative candidates.

The Massachusetts Senate Race proves that with a little ingenuity and the Internet, individual fund raising can be highly successful.  Yesterday, Scott Brown launched a 24-hour “money bomb” to attempt to raise $500,000.  By noon, he had surpassed that goal and reset the goal to $750,000.  That was quickly surpassed, and he reset the goal yet again to $1,000,000.  By around 8 PM EST, Brown had surpassed that total as well.  He ended the night with $1,303,302.50.

The other day I heard someone (I think it was Tabitha Hale, but I’m not 100% sure) describe the ultimate purpose of the Tea Party movement in regards to electoral politics.  While some are clamoring for the Tea Party to establish of itself as a third party, Hale (or whoever it was) stated that the purpose of the Tea Party was to engineer a hostile takeover of the GOP.  I couldn’t have said it better myself.  The GOP needs some housecleaning, and at the end of the day, the change in the donation habits of Conservatives is likely to lead to that takeover.  As grassroots successes mount (whether or not Brown wins, if he pulls close in a Massachusetts election, it will be a campaign success), Conservatives will have more clout to put pressure on the RNC, NRSC, and NRCC.  Only then will the party start to shift towards the will of its base.  2010 may be the start of that very process.  In any case, it’s going to be an interesting year.

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