In every American election we have a tendency to follow the money. More so than media coverage or poll numbers, donations tend to provide a leading indicator of which way the tides are moving. There are exceptions, of course, such as the fact that Donald Trump isn’t really raising any cash to speak of and is in first place while Jeb Bush has raised a boatload and currently doesn’t look like he could be elected dog catcher. But then, this has been a weird summer. Still, the two major parties’ ability to squirrel away cash is a fairly good bellwether to watch and the RNC is having a very good autumn thus far. In fact, they’re surpassing their personal best.

Total raised in October 2015: $8.7m

  • Total raised cycle-to-date: $89.3m
  • Total cash on hand: $20.4m/li>
  • Percentage of donations $200 and under in October 2015: 99%/li>
  • Average donation in October 2015: $69/li>
  • Debt in October 2015: $1.8m/li>

Meanwhile, over on the Donkey side of the aisle, things aren’t looking quite so rosy.

DNCdebt

The bottom line here to watch isn’t simply the raw credits and debits. How well each party is shepherding their funds will play a large role next year. The RNC’s cash on hand is sitting at $20.4M with a standing debt of $1.8M for a net of $18.6M to the good. The Democrats, measured by that same yardstick, are in some serious trouble. They have $4.7M on hand but have amassed $6.9M in debt. In terms of their current operating net, the DNC is sitting nearly $21M behind the Republicans.

This was supposed to be a banner year coming up for the Democrats, what with their having the Candidate of Destiny Part 2 warming up in the starting gate. You’d think there would be a bit more optimism and matching funds flowing into their coffers. And yet there’s clearly money staying on the sidelines. Either that or Debbie Downer is just really bad at managing a checkbook.

We’re still far enough out that this doesn’t represent any sort of iron-clad insurance policy, but the outlook is hardly dreary going into the Christmas break. (Oh… sorry, Democrats. I mean the holiday break.)