Does money buy elections? It is true that in most elections the candidate that raises and spends more money tends to win, but that’s not necessarily because of the spending itself. In fact, spending doesn’t have much effect on elections, and why would they? Can you remember a time you changed your mind because of a campaign ad? According to Freakonomics author Steve Levitt, “When a candidate doubled their spending, holding everything else constant, they only got an extra one percent of the popular vote.”
So why is it those that spend the most that tend to win elections? Simple: the more favored candidate tends to raise more money from the outset… because they’re viewed more favorably.
I bring this up because fundraising figures thus give us some predictive power in elections, and Republicans are far out-fundraising Democrats when it comes to the midterm elections.
According to CNN, “The Republican National Committee has raised more than $200 million this election cycle, the fastest the committee has reached the milestone in a midterm period. The RNC raised $13.9 million in the month of June — the most it has raised in that month in a non-presidential year — bringing its total fundraising haul to $213 million for the 2017-2018 cycle.”
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) July 17, 2018
The DNC has raised less than half as much money overall, $101 million. Additionally, the RNC has no debt, and nearly $51 million in cash, while the DNC has $6 million in debt and $9 million in cash. All of these statistics are as of June.
These figures are from an RNC spokesperson, but the official statistics will be published Friday. They’re probably 100% accurate, given that the RNC had raised roughly $200 million as of May, and tends to raise $10-15 million per month. (RELATED: RNC Smashes $200 Million Fundraising Record in May – Dems Left in Dust).
Despite the rise of the so-called anti-Trump “Resistance,” they haven’t managed to put their money where their mouths are (which is a bit odd. Given the strength of the Trump economy, you’d think they’d have money to spare!).
The November midterms will be a test for Republicans – but the fundraising tallies thus far gives a strong hint as to where enthusiasm is leaning.