President Obama’s top political adviser believes that if Democrats don’t keep pace with Republican fundraising, they could lose the White House this November, according to the New York Times.
David Plouffe gathered a dozen wealthy Democrats in a Silicon Valley office and told them that reports that President Obama will raise enough money to be re-elected are wrong.
Obama’s decision last month to endorse independent groups like super PACs to raise funds for campaigns may be backfiring. While Democratic super PAC Priorities USA raised $6.1 million in 2011 and about $2 million in February, the numbers pale in comparison with the amount of cash that many Republican super PACs have raised.
“February was obviously a much better month than we’ve had in a while,” Bill Burton, a spokesman for Priorities USA, told the New York Times. “But Democrats who want the president to win re-election are going to have to ramp up the numbers in order to stay competitive with the avalanche of Republican money coming at him.”
The leading Republican super PAC, American Crossroads, took in $51 million in 2011 and projects that it will raise a total of $240 million by the November elections. The billionaire Republicans known as the Koch brothers expect to raise an additional $200 million for other independent groups against a second term for Obama. Projected fundraising figures for the Republican National Committee and other conservative groups will negate Obama’s expected advantage in traditional fundraising methods.
But one of the many reasons President Obama is having trouble raising money is that many of his positions (climate change, war, Wall Street) are unpopular with wealthy Democratic donors. With this being acknowledged by super PAC executives and the Obama campaign, they have turned their direction to other wealthy donors: African-American business executives and Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, gay donors and longtime Obama supporters from Chicago.
Comedian and pundit Bill Maher recently contributed $1 million to a super PAC and said it was to encourage the wealthy on the left to open their wallets or risk seeing the country in Republican hands come November.
While money buys advertising, can it buy a victory? Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has outspent his Republican presidential rivals by a large margin and is still struggling to win the nomination. While we hope President Obama and his team catch up on the fundraising front, we think this election will come down to policy and record and not money.
Read more at the New York Times.