With a steady stream of bad news flowing through President Donald Trump’s White House this fall, finally comes a break in the clouds. As word began to surface regarding the latest national fundraising totals. Trump and the Republican National Committee have raised more than $300 million this year for his re-election — more than any other sitting president in history at this point in the campaign as reported by Politico. The president’s record setting pace currently features $158 million in available funds. This far exceeds the copious coffers commanded by ex-President Barack Obama ahead of his winning return bid. That includes a staggering sum of $125 million banked in the third quarter alone. As well as close to $25 million bagged within 24 hours of Trump kicking off a repeat run last June.
Most recently the RNC reported an astounding $27.3 million of cash collected just in September. A figure almost four times greater than political rival Democratic National Committee disclosed for the month. Yet important to note here in addition the GOP claims no unresolved debt but DNC officials evidently carry over $7 million. That indicates a growing sense House impeachment efforts have rallied Republican party supporters in a serious way. The RNC’s September fundraising haul is the best off-cycle month in the history of both the Republican and Democratic parties claims RNC Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel. Even further evidence that Republicans are only building upon a sizable head start.
The increasing lead can be traced back to a commanding digital presence. A successful strategy applied before by Trump’s team in 2016 has been carefully cultivated and scaled into a massive money making machine. 2020 campaign manager Brad Parscale led the successful digital drive 4 years ago. Much of that fueled by aggressive online target marketing ads. Which proved to be tremendous tools in working to build support and collect information from a data-rich web. They continue testing the content and collecting data to refine the message. And the partisan opposition trails way behind. As it seems that Democrats are struggling to internalize lessons of the 2016 race and adapt to a political landscape shaped by social media.
The DNC appears to be caught on a 21st century political battle field armed with an analog arsenal up against a digital dynamo. They are largely running what other experts and political operatives compared to brand-loyalty campaigns, trying to sway moderates and offend as few people as possible. This type of play it safe approach often panned by some insiders. In light of such a seemingly tight race, remember that fortune favors the bold. Democratic digital operatives say the problem is a party dominated by an aging professional political class that is too timid. Curious this would be since they fashion themselves a party of progressives.
Ex-Vice President and front runner Joe Biden has rebuffed digital advertising instead mainly sticking with television. A passe form that leaves him largely out of touch with young voters. Plus points to a bigger issue people have about Biden being stuck in the past. A notion expressed by many especially following the relative online success of his previous running mate President Barack Obama, Biden either hasn’t learned or applied a most valuable campaign lesson. Amid reports Biden’s operation is bleeding money, this doesn’t exactly inspire confidence. It raises a related question. As major Democratic donors from the business world expressed doubts about supporting Massachusetts Senator and current second Elizabeth Warren. Can the Democrats compete with a fraction of the funds?
Trump and co. utilized social media networks to a great extent in 2016. Again they plan to draw heavily on Facebook. For 2016 they were tailoring a variety of ads toward certain voting groups. In 2020 Parscale monitors the Trump campaign’s intense testing of ads posting dozens of variations of almost every ad to figure which plays best. Do voters respond better to a blue button or a green one? Are they more likely to click if its says “donate” or “contribute”? Will they more readily cough up cash for an impeachment defense fund or an impeachment defense task force?
Apart from that Democrats are losing the fundraising fight in a different dimension of our digital frontier. WinRed, the GOP online fundraising platform designed to compete for small-dollar campaign donations, reported raising a little more than $30 million in the third quarter. The app slash Political Action Committee (PAC) hauled in more than $13.7 million from over 276,000 contributors since the impeachment announcement by Pelosi, WinRed President Gerrit Lansing said. WinRed gives users quick access and made the process easy to navigate. As one thing becomes pretty clear: a good number of people were compelled to act on the Republicans’ behalf. This response stoking fears among the Democrats.
If all of that doesn’t make an impression well the president’s 2020 re-election campaign looks to spend as much as $1 billion pursuing a second term.