In a shortage economy, rationing forces some hard choices. Democrats running for Congress in both chambers have discovered this as donors have begun closing their pocketbooks or tapping out, and the desperation for dollars has them competing not against Republicans but each other. Politico reports that a dwindling pool of patrons are being pitched by Senate campaigns to skip sending any money to House candidates as Republicans will take control in the next Congress anyway:
House and Senate Democrats are increasingly competing against one another over a small universe of deep-pocketed donors who could make a financial difference in the final stretch before the midterm elections.
In some cases, donors report that they are being urged to fund Senate campaigns at the expense of the House, where Democrats are in danger of losing their majority.
One House Democratic fundraiser said that some Senate operatives are telling big donors and union officials, “The House is lost; you have to save the Senate.”
Some House Democrats are fighting back with their own pitch:
While top Senate Democrats insist they don’t use that line, some House strategists are playing their own angle. Their money pitch: House Democrats have worked overtime to pass President Barack Obama’s sweeping agenda, parts of which have been stymied in the intractable Senate.
Er, good luck with that argument. Nancy Pelosi had a 77-seat majority in the 111th Session; would an 87-seat majority have made any difference? That pitch almost demands more focus on the Senate rather than the House — except that the Democrats also had an 18-seat majority in the Senate for most of the year, and at least for a few months a filibuster-proof 20-seat majority.
The problem with their agenda wasn’t that there are too many Republicans opposed to it. It’s that there were too many Democrats opposed to it. The “sweeping agenda” was too radical for mainstream America, whose voters thought they had elected a fiscally responsible Congress in 2006 and a post-partisan moderate as President in 2008. Surprise!
And that’s also the reason why the Democrats have an increasingly smaller universe of deep-pocketed donors. Their Wall Street friends finally woke up and smelled the class-warfare coffee and have stopped contributing to Democrats. CEOs who pronounced themselves agents of Hope and Change in 2008 now openly accuse the Obama administration of an anti-business bias. Thanks to two years of Obamanomics, people have less money to give to politicians, and those who do are much more supportive of candidates who want to curtail spending and the explosion of ambiguous rulemaking that have become the hallmark of Democrats in this session of Congress.
Now Democrats have to get used to a shortage economy in the political markets. That’s what happens when politicians spend their time creating shortage economies for the rest of us.