The Republican party has arguably had a rough go for the last few years, but it appears to only be getting worse. Not only is the GOP losing a fundraising war to the Democrats, it is also losing a fundraising war to the Tea Party element of their own party.
Every year, both parties are focused on raising as much money as possible to convince voters of their own platforms. This is done through groups called Super PACs, and they are almost exclusively affiliated with one of the two parties.
In 2013, Democratic Super PACs were extremely successful in doing this. For instance, the gun control advocacy group Americans for Responsible Solutions raised $12.5 million last year alone. Some analysts suggest that this may be because the group is a single issue Super PAC, and it is easier to raise a focused amount of money. Also, with the organization’s focus on gun violence, it saw increased fundraising as a result of reactions to recent mass shootings.
In total, liberal groups that raised $100,000 or more earned a collective $94.5 million. This money can be put towards messaging, research, advertising, campaigning, or whatever other functions the groups see as necessary.
On the other side of the fundraising war, the Republican party is quite handily losing. A few of the party’s biggest friendly Super PACs raised a combined $7.7 million, which fizzles out quite depressingly in comparison to the success of the Democrats.
However, what is even more surprising is the fact that the more radical right-wing elements of the GOP have out raised the traditional party groups. The Tea Party’s various Super PACs, such as the Tea Party Patriots, collected a combined $20 million, well above the meager fundraising the rest of the Republican Party has seen.
Combined, conservative groups with fundraising totals at or above $100,000 were able to eek out $37.7 million. As compared to their liberal counterparts, conservative groups are at less than half the amount of fundraising.
Why there has been such a dramatic drop off may be attributed to any number of factors. The Republican party has been in clean up mode since the last election and many of its supporters may be disillusioned with the party as a whole. This could translate into lower funding. As well, two major supporters, Harold Simmons and Bob Perry of Texas, both died last year, translating into a loss of revenue.
The groups that rally behind the Democrats have been far more cohesive in their efforts, as well. Generally focusing on single issues, liberal organizations have been able to be hyper-specialized. Each group can therein target citizens from across the political spectrum if they fall in line with the platform that the group is espousing. Furthermore, the Democrats are not in the middle of a self-destructive civil war where voters are found choosing between parties within a party.
All of these things have translated into a dismal 2013 for the Republican party’s finances. Looking forward, it becomes easy to envision an incredibly successful liberal movement as their conservative counterparts lag behind. Losing a fundraising war is usually not a big deal; party finances ebb and flow from year to year. However, with the Republicans losing by such huge margins, and with traditional conservatives losing so heavily to the Tea Party movement, the GOP certainly has an uphill battle to fight.
By Brett Byers-Lane