Blockbuster: Trump, RNC raise combined $125 million in third quarter, a new record

Blockbuster: Trump, RNC raise combined $125 million in third quarter, a new record

How big is this number? When Obama ran for reelection in 2011, he and the DNC managed a combined $70 million in the third quarter.

Trump and the RNC didn’t quite double them up, but they got pretty close.

Consider this an unusually concrete example of the advantages of incumbency. While Democratic candidates are dividing liberal money among themselves and using it to battle each other, the GOP can focus all its energy on building a tremendous financial arsenal for next fall.

Well, mostly for next fall. A little of it will be spent this fall to try to solve the president’s impeachment problem.

The pro-Trump effort said Tuesday that it has raised more than $308 million in 2019 and has more than $156 million in the bank. Republicans aim to use the fundraising haul to fight off Democrats’ impeachment effort…

The fundraising announcement comes as the pro-Trump efforts launched their first major advertising campaign of the cycle. Trump’s team aims to devote $1 billion to his reelection.

Last week, as House Democrats launched their impeachment effort, the Trump campaign announced it would spend $8 million to air an ad attacking Democrats for trying to “steal” the 2020 campaign. The RNC said it would spend $2 million attacking Democrats for their support of impeachment.

So there’s another reason why Democrats may have warmed up to impeachment: It’s helping to offset the mammoth lead Trump has on fundraising for the general election, forcing him to spend some of his cash to fight the effort to drive him from office. If I’m right that impeachment will end up as a wash politically, with opinions for and against Trump so hardened that no one ends up being swayed either way by the process, then getting Trump to deplete some of his war chest might be the chief benefit Democrats get from it.

But wait. Are we sure Trump and the RNC are *losing* money on impeachment on balance? Granted, they’re spending some — but how much are they making?

In addition to taking numerous fundraising trips to collect reelection cash, Trump’s cash haul got a boost in recent days as House Democrats endorsed an impeachment inquiry. The Trump campaign brought in $8.5 million dollars online in two days after the impeachment push began.

How do you suppose the Trump campaign will do fundraising-wise in the 24 hours after Democrats actually go ahead and impeach him?

I’m curious to see a breakdown of how much of the $125 million came from small donors and how much came from fatcats. (In 2011, Obama’s haul came from 600,000 individual donors, 98 percent of whom gave $250 or less.) I can imagine the numbers being strong from both groups. Trump is extremely popular within his own party and the “siege effect” from impeachment may increase that popularity, or at least increase the enthusiasm of hardcore fans. There’s bound to a broad base of smaller donors, and they’re apt to become more eager to show their support in the fourth quarter as the Democrats close in on him. Meanwhile, rich donors are warily watching Elizabeth Warren’s ascendance in the Democratic primary and imagining their wealth going up in smoke in 2021. They’re surely pouring money into Trump’s campaign as well, knowing that he’s a weak incumbent by historical standards and may need extra financial help to hold her off next year. If you can spend thousands now by donating to Trump to save millions later in new taxes if Democrats sweep to power, that’s an investment worth making.

One more number for you:

The Republican National Committee’s most recent financial disclosure showed that the organization held $53.8 million cash on hand at the end of August. The Democratic National Committee, by contrast, had $8.2 million on hand at that time.

Trump proved in 2016 that a financial disadvantage is no bar to winning the presidency, something the Democratic nominee will find comfort in next year. I wonder how big a difference the RNC’s financial advantage will make in Senate races, though. It looks like they’ll have lots of cash on hand that can be shoveled as needed at candidates like Susan Collins and Cory Gardner who are stuck in tough purple-state races. Trump’s fundraising bonanza might not be enough to win him an election but it could be enough to ensure that the GOP keeps the Senate. That, not Trump, may be the only thing that keeps Warren away from rich people’s money.

Here’s Steve Bannon imagining that the end result of impeachment might be … another Hillary Clinton candidacy. That won’t happen, but it’s understandable that Bannon would want to go back to that well. Can’t go wrong as a right-winger promoting Clinton as a face of the Democratic Party.

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