Something deep in the psyche of the Democratic Party prevents it from acknowledging that it, and its candidates, are awash in cash. Thus, we get stories like this one in the New York Times: “Democrats Seek a Richer Roster to Match G.O.P.”
Republican contenders have already secured hundreds of millions of dollars in commitments from a stable of billionaires, including a Wall Street hedge fund executive, a Las Vegas casino magnate, a Florida auto dealer, a Wyoming investor and, of course, the Kansas-born billionaires David H. and Charles G. Koch. But none of the biggest Democratic donors from past elections — for example, the Chicago investor Fred Eychaner, the climate-change activist Tom Steyer and the entertainment mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg — have committed to supporting Mrs. Clinton on nearly the same scale.
That is consistent with numerous reports that Clinton’s fundraising is going badly. But the Times doesn’t entertain the possibility that the problem could be a lack of enthusiasm for the candidate.
In planning sessions and one-on-one meetings with donors, [Harold] Ickes, who is a Priorities USA board member, and other Clinton supporters are discussing how to raise as much as $300 million for Democratic outside groups. That is almost twice as much as Democratic super PACs and other outside groups spent to help re-elect President Obama in 2012, when conservative super PACs far outspent liberal ones.
That was, I believe, the only category in which there was more Republican money than Democratic money in the last presidential election. Overall, President Obama’s campaign outspent the Romney campaign, even with super PAC money included. It is notable that the Times story never mentions union contributions.
Of course, with Hillary Clinton pledging to raise and spend $2.5 billion–by far the most of any presidential campaign in history–it is a little hard for the Democrats to plead poverty. So the Democrats and their allies at the Times are walking that prediction back:
Inflated estimates of Mrs. Clinton’s campaign budget — a figure of $2.5 billion was widely circulated — have also been a headache for her campaign and for Priorities USA. A more realistic fund-raising target for her campaign, they say, is around $1 billion.
The Democrats risibly pretend that they consistently out-raise and outspend Republicans without having rich donors:
“Our side isn’t used to being asked for that kind of money,” Mr. Ickes said. “If you asked them to put up $100 million for a hospital wing, they’d be the first in line.”
Not really. To be first in line, they would have to get ahead of David Koch, whose charitable contributions far exceed his political spending, and who actually has donated $150 million to build a hospital wing.
The Times suggests another reason why Democratic donors may be hanging back:
Other potential donors of $10 million or more, fearful of being targeted for attacks by Republicans, want to write the biggest checks only when their peers do, forcing Democratic fund-raisers to devise what are in effect donor buddy systems, matching up would-be givers who can synchronize their check-writing.
Actually, Republicans believe in free speech. But it is understandable that Democrats might expect Republicans to seek retribution, as they do. What is the solution? More “dark money” in politics:
For those still nervous, Priorities USA is also considering resurrecting an affiliated nonprofit group that could accept secret donations. Such fund-raising has been roundly denounced by watchdog groups — and, recently, by Mrs. Clinton herself.
All of this hand-wringing is intended to 1) give the Democrats cover as they continue to denounce “money in politics,” and 2) encourage left-wing donors to pony up. When the dollars are added up at the end of the 2016 campaign, you can be sure that the Democrats will have outspent the Republicans in just about every significant race.