While Republican candidates in key races might be struggling to match the fundraising of their Democratic counterparts, the Republican National Committee (RNC) effectively has more than thirteen times as much money as the Democratic National Committee (DNC), according to the Federal Election Commission (FEC).
According to FEC filings examined October 22, the RNC had $44.1 million in cash on hand, while the DNC had only $7.1 million. But the situation is actually far worse than that, because the Democratic National Committee still has $3.8 million in debt.
That means the DNC only has $3.3 million in cash on hand. That means the Republican committee has more than thirteen times as much in available funds for needy races.
This should more than balance the news that Republican candidates in key 2018 congressional races are falling behind their Democratic counterparts, as National Journal‘s Josh Kraushaar reported Sunday. These fundraising struggles are real, but if any of these House candidates is really struggling in the pivotal last months before the 2018 election, the RNC can (and likely will) swing into action.
In the first nine months of 2017, the RNC raised more than $104.4 million, reaching the goal DNC Chairman Tom Perez set for his committee. Perez aimed to double the DNC’s budget from $50 million to $100 million this year.
As of the end of September, the DNC has raised $51.1 million, less than half of the Republican haul. This should worry Democrats, given the Left’s anger against President Donald Trump. The party cannot compete with Republicans, even when promising to counter the man many liberals have compared to Adolf Hitler.
In June, Perez told MSNBC that he just needed more time at the DNC to get things turned around, after the party experienced its worst fundraising month since 2003.
The Democratic Party is in the midst of a massive identity crisis. Most of the 2020 presidential hopefuls — such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Sen. Corey Booker (D-N.J.), and Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) — have endorsed the Medicare-for-all health care bill sponsored by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). Democratic senators who are vulnerable in 2018 — like Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Sen. Sharrod Brown (D-Ohio), and Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) — have distanced themselves from the measure, however.
Even Democratic leaders like Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) have focused on the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare).
This hesitancy makes sense. While polling has suggested an increase in support for single-payer health care, a July poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation found that support is very malleable. Although 55 percent favored single-payer at first, that support dropped to 21 percent when respondents were warned the program would give government too much power. Only 19 percent supported it after being warned the program might lead to higher taxes.
But the Democrats are also divided on the issue of abortion. In July, Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), said the party would not adopt a “litmus test” on abortion when it comes to funding candidates for 2018 House races. This unleashed a storm of controversy from liberals who do not consider any compromise on abortion acceptable for a Democrat.
The last time Democrats took the House, in 2006, they won with many pro-life candidates. But this year, former Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chair Howard Dean (who led the party to that 2006 success) reversed his own strategy, suggesting there should be no compromise on abortion.
Other issues, like the removal of Confederate monuments, may also prove electoral pitfalls for Democratic candidates. Pelosi’s leadership might also weaken the party in 2018. She has been a notable punching-bag for Republicans, a weakness that likely contributed to the defeat of Jon Ossoff.
The 2018 elections have barely begun. Polls, fundraising, even pivotal issues have yet to fully emerge. Primary elections are still around six months away. Even if Republican candidates fall just short in fundraising, the RNC’s coffers are full — thirteen times more full than the other party’s accounts, when debt is taken into consideration.
Kraushaar’s report sheds light on an important failing among Republican candidates in key races, but their weak fundraising fills in only a small part of the picture. The RNC’s full coffers are a key asset, and so many things can — and will — change before next November. Democrats may indeed take the House, but no one on the Left should even think about counting chickens just yet.