Lack of focus and some election losses have dampened the Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) fundraising over the first six months of 2017. There is now a vast money gap with Republican rivals and questions have been raised about the Democrat’s ability to take advantage of their opportunity in the 2018 midterm elections.
The DNC has raised $38.2 million in the first half of this year; that compares with the Republican National Committee’s (RNC) $75.4 million raised during the same time period. That’s a $37.2 million difference. As of June of this year, the RNC has almost $45 million in the bank compared to the DNC’s total of under $7.5 million. The DNC is also $3 million in debt.
This has naturally created frustration among many Democrats. They are concerned about being financially outgunned in their attempt to retake the House and defending Senate seats.
“We really should be kicking their asses,” one longtime Democratic donor said. “It shouldn’t even be close, considering all hell is breaking loose on their side.” Many Democrats are saying that it is still early in the political cycle and that there is plenty of time for the new DNC Chairman Tom Perez to change the momentum.
“We all know that the last six months have been a complete rebuild of the party structure with Tom Perez and it seems like they are trying to be very methodical on how they rebuild. So it’s not surprizing that their fundraising isn’t as aggressive or advanced right now,” one top Democratic fundraiser said. “What happens six months, nine months, 12 months from now will be a much clearer signal on whether the Democrats are truly in trouble.”
The DNC is still in a recovery mode after the 2016 election cycle. They slashed their workforce after Election Day and are working on rebuilding and reshaping their party under Perez. One source familiar with DNC staffing said that they only had three fundraising staffers when Perez took over. Their goal is to get the fundraising department to 30 people.
“At the DNC, we are still building up our team, including hiring fundraising staff, and making sure every aspect of our organization is moving in lockstep,” Perez said. “We’re confident that our team will raise the resources needed as we head into 2018 and beyond.”
Some of the Democratic donors admitted that after their intense effort to raise money for Hillary Clinton’s campaign, which ended in defeat, they were tired.
Democratic strategist Jamal Simmons said, “Democratic voters are all united in believing Donald Trump should not be in office and be contained. What they’re waiting on is a direct and positive agenda that they can believe in to deal with the problems the country faces. ‘A Better Deal’ was a good start, but everyone needs to start singing from the same song book,” Simmons said. “We’re getting there, but it’s now eight months so time for us to be there.”
While the DNC was failing in the first six months of 2017, the RNC seems to be flying. The $75.4 million raised represents the most the party has ever raised in the first half of a non-presidential election year.
Democratic fundraisers and donors agree that it’s not the time to panic yet, but they are looking to the DNC to make sure they have a solid strategy for the future and the resources necessary to meet it.
“There’s less concern about whether we have the donor base that has the resources and the checkbook to support the effort we need. It’s more about how do we come up with the strategies and the tools to really inspire our donors to give consistently,” a top Democratic fundraiser said.
“The goal should be: How do we have a fundraising strategy and infrastructure that doesn’t have to rebuild and reinvent themselves after every cycle and every loss?”
Do you think that the DNC can right the ship?
Credit: The Hill