Liberals still trailing conservatives in campaign fundraising, by a wide margin
The latest data, according to Politico, shows left-leaning campaign groups are losing the battle for dollars with their conservative opponents. Democrats at their convention in Charlotte, N.C., are set to try and close that gap, but their opportunity is fast evaporating.
Conservative Super PACs have been out-raising and out-spending their Democratic counterparts.
They spent eight times more than liberal Super PACs in this election, according to the latest figures from the non-partisan tracking site OpenSecrets.com.
But Democratic operatives are planning a series of events at this week’s party convention, in hopes of narrowing that gap.
They face a number of obstacles, from divisions between the White House and Congressional Democrats over sharing major donors and cash, to wealthy donors who are not motivated to put up big money in this election and the sticky issue of coming to terms with new campaign fundraising laws they had opposed.
Politico reporter Dave Levinthal says Democrats are having their hats handed to them in some regards — both in raising funds for the convention itself, as well as funding this year's campaigns.
"Democrats are having trouble both at the presidential level, and in some cases at the Congressional level, raising the requisite funds," he said.
The tables have turned dramatically in four years. In 2008, President Barack Obama vastly outspent John McCain in the race for the White House. But in the months since the Citizens United decision, which Democrats have blasted, Republicans have taken advantage.
"If they don't participate in the system as it is," Levinthal said, "then they do so not only at their own peril but, potentially, they spell their political death by not doing so."
So, while most Democrats say they hate the system, they're left to do nothing but throw their hands up and embrace it as-is.
Outside groups, accordingly, are raising as much money as they can to support Democratic candidates who may be uncomfortable with closer coordination.
But time is running out quickly. And there are no signs that big Democratic donors are rushing to close the gap.
According to Politico, in the second half of August, conservative groups out-raised liberal ones by a 10 to 1 margin.
"Much of that money was going against President Obama and advocating against his re-election," Levinthal said. "They're really in a hole here."
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