Even though the mainstream media loves to talk about the toll that the healthcare debate is taking on the Democratic Party, there has been a large positive upside for the Democrats. The healthcare debate has re energized progressives and fueled a surge in Democratic fund raising. Democrats are currently out raising Republicans at a 3 to 1 pace ahead of the 2010 elections.
According to a story in USA Today “The Democratic National Committee, along with the fund raising arm for House Democrats, out raised Republican committees last month. Overall, all Democratic committees ended October with nearly $38.8 million cash on hand, compared with $21.3 million for Republicans.”
The Republicans had seen their fund raising surge in the last two periods, as they used opposition to healthcare to invigorate donors, but in response to their opposition, progressives were motivated to open their wallets and give to the Democratic Party. Interestingly, the Democrats are still having success courting small donors. The Democratic House Campaign Committee took in over $5 million over the past 3 months, with the average donation being $40.
Any party who holds both the White House and a majority in Congress should fundraise well, but the Democrats are absolutely dominant right now. This is a sign that despite all the talk of a Republican revival in 2010, very little has changed for the GOP since the elections of 2006 and 2008. Michael Steele was brought in to rebuild the grassroots and raise money.
Steele’s tenure thus far has been highlighted by the party’s continued struggle to raise money, and civil war at the grass roots level, where conservative activists are in full rebellion against the RNC and party leaders. However, the blame doesn’t solely rest with Steele.
The problem is with the GOP’s inability to change. If they continue to move to the right, the party will get smaller, and the fundraising gap will continue to grow. Although the Democrats may lose some seats next year, they are still primed to stay in the majority.