Dem voters are putting their money where their mouths are

Dem voters are putting their money where their mouths are

by digby

I'm sure you've read all the doom and gloom stuff about Democrats losing their enthusiasm advantage. FWIW, I always figured it would end up being a battle of the bases --- Republicans always turn out in midterms. The difference this year is that Democrats are going to turn out too. This enthusiasm advantage isn't dissipating because Dems are less enthusiastic but because GOPers are getting excited, as they always do. These older white conservatives love politics and they love voting. Younger people of color are less inclined to watch hours and hours of cable news every day because they have better things to do with their time, so when there isn't a presidential election they aren't as engaged.

This year may be different. The two parties are about to go head to head in a grudge match over Donald Trump and his people will certainly come out to support him. They worship him.

Let's hope the sane people are as motivated to vote forenough Democrats so that the congress can do some oversight of this out-of-control regime. But make no mistake. This is a fight and it's going to get more and more volatile.

Anyway, here's some good news that lends itself to a little bit of optimism:

House Democratic candidates are raising money like never before in the run-up to Election Day — and their record-setting hauls are alarming already anxious Republicans who now worry that a difficult political environment is becoming even worse.

In Kentucky, for instance, Democrat Amy McGrath announced this week that she had collected $3.65 million from July through September. Sharice Davids, running in suburban Kansas City, said she had raked in $2.7 million during the quarter. And in California, Josh Harder delivered $3.5 million. Others across the country are repeatedly posting hauls of well over one million dollars.

The sums — driven by small-dollar online fundraising — are unprecedented, sometimes exceeding even what many House candidates typically raise during an entire campaign. And strategists in both parties say they see this cash surge as a major inflection point in the campaign.

“When we look back, that may very well be the big enthusiasm advantage that we think may have been decisive,” said California-based GOP strategist Rob Stutzman, who added that as of now, he expects “the odds are that Republicans lose 30-40 seats.”

Said Democratic strategist Ian Russell, “The Republicans have walked into an ambush by a well-armed force.”

News of the fundraising totals comes as Republicans are already braced for a rough national environment. Trump remains polarizing, adored by his base but appalling to many moderate suburbanites, who are putting dozens of traditionally Republican districts into play this cycle. Making matters worse, the party has also been beset by retirements from key incumbents in once-safe GOP seats. And incumbent Republicans who are running this cycle continue to get outraised, despite two years’ worth of warnings to avoid that from national GOP leaders.

Now armed with an influx of campaign cash, Democrats have the resources to push even further into longtime Republican territory.

Democrats “are running in a better environment than in the last several cycles, and they have a lot of money,” said former Ohio GOP Chairman Matt Borges. “I think you’ll see some of that translate into Democrats taking some of these districts, some of these offices around the country that they otherwise wouldn’t have, shouldn’t have been able to.”

Republicans tell the reporters that money isn't everything which is hilarious ...

Still, the numbers are staggering — and far in excess of what Republican House candidates raised during their own wave election of 2010.

Mike Kelly, for example, ran and defeated incumbent Democratic Rep. Kathy Dahlkemper in 2010 in a northwest Pennsylvania congressional district.

His fundraising total in that year’s third fundraising quarter? Just under $500,000, according to a list compiled by The Washington Post. Even other top GOP House candidates that cycle rarely raised more than a million dollars in the quarter.

“These unprecedented numbers dwarf the Q3 fundraising of Republican challengers in 2010,” said one GOP operative who worked on elections that cycle. “So while the electoral rage may not measure up to 2010 yet, Democrats can now afford to buy rage in bulk.”

The Democratic donations have been driven by online contributions: ActBlue, which supplies the digital fundraising platform for nearly every candidate Democratic candidate, said this week it has processed $385 million in contributions during the third quarter to candidates and liberal causes. That was more than the group processed during the entire 2014 election cycle, it said.

Adding to the Democrats’ advantage is the fact that candidates are able to run TV ads for less money than party committees like the National Republican Congressional Committee (the political arm of the House GOP) or Super PACs like Congressional Leadership Fund (a group with close ties to House Speaker Paul Ryan). The disparity could strain the resources of those groups, and allow Democrats to try and target even more battlegrounds.

“[The Democrats’] ability to stay on TV and remain competitive is so much greater than the other side,” said Patrick McHugh, executive director of Priorities USA, a Democratic Super PAC. “Because the other side is relying so much on Congressional Leadership Fund and their outside groups that have to pay sometimes three, four, five times as much for the same points.

“That provides the ability for us to expand the map,” he added.

The truth is that money isn't everything. But in this case, the fact that this massive haul is driven almost entirely by small donations does say something. A rich donor who donates $200,000 to a dark money PAC still only has one vote. 10,000 people who donate $20.00 have 10,000 votes.

I don't think Kavanaugh has changed anything.

But who knows? I don't make predictions. Just be sure to vote and remind every Democrat or independent you know to vote also.