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Politics Could Democrats still raise record campaign cash if Trump leaves White House?

12:05  30 october  2020
12:05  30 october  2020 Source:   rollcall.com

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Five months ago, President Trump ’s re-election campaign had a huge financial edge over Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s. The Times conducted an extensive to Yondr, a company that makes magnetic pouches used to store cellphones during fund-raisers so that donors could not secretly record Mr. Trump and

The campaign arm for House Democrats raised a record .3m in May, as the party looks to make major gains against Republicans in crucial midterm elections. The Democrats have out- raised their Republican counterparts consistently over the last year, with the Democratic Congressional

The money seems almost bottomless.

Lindsey Graham, John Barrasso, Donald Trump, Mike Pence, Mitch McConnell are posing for a picture: Democratic anger at President Donald Trump has fueled unprecedented campaign contributions to the party. But Democrats have also used South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, left, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to motivate donors. © Provided by Roll Call Democratic anger at President Donald Trump has fueled unprecedented campaign contributions to the party. But Democrats have also used South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, left, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to motivate donors.

Fueled by resistance to President Donald Trump, Democrats have raised record-shattering sums for their political campaigns up and down the ballot. Opposition to Trump has mobilized new small-dollar and big-money donors, and more women have invested in politics than ever before.

But once Trump leaves office, perhaps as soon as January if he loses his bid for reelection, Democrats will have to sustain their fundraising momentum without the benefit of the provocateur in chief residing in the free world’s most powerful post. Though Democrats would lose the daily outrage factor that has helped fill their party’s coffers during the Trump presidency, they will retain many advantages, including the ease of donating online through ActBlue and the long list of repeat donors to hit up.

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McAndrews said the Democrats could “technically” impeach Trump if they took over the House . “ Democrats could proceed with this, but there are many hurdles He said the Democrats have avoided using the “impeachment” term on the campaign trail for a reason — it could turn voters off.

President Trump , accompanied by his personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, held a news conference at the White House minutes after The Times published a major new investigation into his tax returns.

Party insiders will watch to see whether those donors, many of whom give in small amounts such as $10 or $25, have adopted a new habit that will outlast Trump — or if they will return to their campaign finance hibernation.

A top indicator of whether people will donate political money is, after all, whether they have done so in the past. And Democrats expect that even if Trump loses this election, neither he nor his bombastic brand of Republican politics will exit the national stage. So the fight may morph into a battle against Trumpism, if not against Trump himself.

“There are other Donald Trump-like Republicans, and they’re plentiful,” said Democrat Cheri Bustos, who represents a western Illinois district and chairs the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

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A crowd of Trump supporters during a campaign rally in Bullhead City, Ariz.Credit Doug Mills/The He has been on personal leave from the company for the past several months after endorsing Mr. Biden Democrats continue to dominate in spending, as they have throughout the Trump presidency.

Trump 's re-election campaign tells The Associated Press it will report raising more than million in the Bernie Sanders topped the Democratic field in the first quarter, raising slightly more than million Trump is reporting a haul of .3 million. Republicans have trailed Democrats in online

Democrats also successfully use other Republicans, such as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham, as boogeymen to motivate contributors.

Democrats expect Trump to continue to rile up their donors, even if he’s voted out of the White House.

“If Trump loses, it’s not as though he’s going to ride quietly into the sunset,” said Anne MacMillan, a lobbyist at Invariant and a Democratic donor. “I think he’s going to be present, motivating Democrats to continue their engagement — the gift that will keep on giving for many years.”

Meredith McGehee, executive director of the campaign finance overhaul group Issue One, says the surge in small-dollar donations, from either side of the aisle, is a healthy sign for political engagement.

“I don’t think we’ve ever quite seen a motivating factor like Donald Trump,” she said. He is viewed, especially on the left, as “an existential threat to the republic.”

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For President Donald Trump , the nightmare scenario if Democrats win control of the U.S. House would be the death of his legislative agenda, aggressive House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer told reporters last week that it’s not a slam dunk that Trump ’s tax returns could be released by Ways and Means if

Build that wall (of cash )! Trump campaign claims fundraising record with stunt promising to send 100,000 faux 'bricks' to Pelosi and Schumer. Trump campaign says it has a way to 'send a clear message to Democrat leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi about the need to build the wall.

If that threat were to disappear, though, it’s unclear whether donors would invest at the levels they’re doing this election cycle. Democrats see promising signs. The price tag for each election cycle has gone up, hitting an all-time max of $14 billion in 2020, the Center for Responsive Politics estimates. And the ability to tap into small donors has increasingly paid off, especially for Democrats; Republicans are struggling to catch up.

“You cannot close these floodgates,” Democratic fundraiser Cooper Teboe said. “You cannot put this cat back in the bag.”

Taking on corporate interests


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Lobbyist Tonya Saunders, a longtime Democratic Party supporter, said the lowered barrier to entry for small donors allows people to feel invested in politics in a way previously thought to be only the realm of K Street operators and corporate interests. She said the grassroots fundraising strategy has been more than a decade in the making, dating back to President Barack Obama’s work.

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Former Trump campaign adviser Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI in October 2017. He had lied about making contact with a professor who claimed Still , he suggests – like other experts quoted here – intense congressional and political pressure would force Mr Trump out of office quickly.

The White House is anticipating the House could vote to impeach President Trump if Democrats take control. Impeachment also could follow, even as As of now, GOP lawmakers consider him a potent force who can help raise funds and campaign in their districts. In last week's Senate primary in West

“Small donors or just average voters wherever they sit, in rural West Virginia or Indiana or major cities, they feel this has allowed them to participate in the process in a way they haven’t before,” she said.

Jake Indich, a Democratic small-dollar donor who lives in Los Angeles and works in the medical insurance industry for Blue Shield of California, says he’d given very little in the way of political contributions before the Trump era. This cycle, he’s made two dozen contributions, mostly worth $25, through ActBlue, according to federal election records. He’s donated repeatedly to the campaign of Joe Biden, who is running against Trump, as well as to Democratic congressional candidates.

“The frequency of my donating has increased dramatically during the Trump administration,” Indich said. He expects he will continue to donate if Biden wins the White House, but it may not hold the same urgency.

“I’ll probably give less,” he said. “The immediacy of the election of our lifetimes is obviously something of a motivating factor. I’m sure when 2022 rolls around, I’ll start giving to Senate and House candidates.”

He said the ease of giving through ActBlue made it a regular investment, like online shopping. “During the pandemic, people have started to spend more on Amazon,” he said. “Shopping on Amazon could not be easier, and ActBlue is almost like my Amazon.”

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Republicans are working to better compete with ActBlue and have pushed a similar platform called WinRed, though even GOP insiders acknowledge their party is years behind Democrats when it comes to online donating.

“The fundraising numbers that we’re seeing from Democrats are the new reality,” said Josh Holmes, a former chief of staff to McConnell and president of the firm Cavalry LLC. Though Democrats’ anxiety about Trump “increases” the party’s giving, Holmes said, it’s not a short-term trend tied to the president.

“The Republican donor class has been incredibly engaged,” he noted. The party’s super PACs have broken their own records, but those outside groups pay more for TV advertising than candidates do.

“Democrats have a culture within their activist class, not the donor class, that every time they are upset, they’ll give $5 to five different candidates,” Holmes said. “Every time a Republican is upset, they’ll write a five paragraph essay on Facebook.”

Outraised, outspent

Every GOP senator in a competitive race this cycle brought in less money than their challengers in the third quarter, according to a CQ Roll Call analysis of fundraising reports filed with the Federal Election Commission. The average Democratic challenger raked in $23.1 million from July through September — more than twice the $10.4 million average for their incumbent Republican opponents. Democrat Jaime Harrison, who is challenging Graham in South Carolina, shattered quarterly fundraising records by hauling in almost $58 million during that period.

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Female donors, many repelled by Trump, represent 44 percent of all 2020 contributors, according to an analysis by the Center for Responsive Politics. That is a jump from the pre-Trump era when women lagged further behind men, representing 33 percent of donors in the 2012 cycle.

The onslaught of Democratic dollars has forced Republicans to spend in races they previously hadn’t budgeted for or to spend much more than they had planned, including in Senate and House races in Alaska, South Carolina, Kansas and even Arkansas. The deficit between Republican and Democratic candidates has forced GOP-aligned super PACs to pony up far more than their projections at the start of the cycle.

Michael Malbin, director of the Campaign Finance Institute, a division of the National Institute on Money in Politics, says that even without Trump in the White House, control of Congress may still be at stake in future elections, considering both chambers have flipped back and forth in the past two decades.

“Donors, especially small-dollar donors, are more likely to be activated by fear and dislike than by admiration for a candidate,” Malbin said. In a post-Trump Washington, he asked, “will politics be less negative?” Perhaps. “But I don’t expect politics to suddenly turn positive, deliberative and compromising,” he said.

If Democrats win control of the White House and the Senate, and hold the House, the party may see a dip in donor enthusiasm. Or Democratic donors could turn their fundraising energy on each other, funding primary contests against incumbents who aren’t viewed as sufficiently progressive enough.

And Republicans may seize on their own anger and opposition to gin up donations.

“At the end of the day, the thing that wins elections is pure emotion, mostly anger,” said Sam Geduldig, a Republican lobbyist and donor. “Right now, that’s driving their numbers. They’re obviously upset at Trump, and are donating record sums. The irony behind raising money in politics is that sometimes it’s better to be in the minority or out in the wilderness.”

Bridget Bowman contributed to this report.

The post Could Democrats still raise record campaign cash if Trump leaves White House? appeared first on Roll Call.

How to watch election night 2020: the definitive hour-by-hour guide .
Election Day is nearly here, and in a matter of hours we’ll find out whether this is the end of the campaign — or just the beginning of a protracted fight over who won. At 7 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time, which applies to all times mentioned here), we’ll start to see returns from Florida, Ohio, North Carolina and Georgia. Trump won all four of these states in 2016 and needs to win them again in 2020. The good news for viewers is that we should see relatively quick results in these key states, all of which are allowed to start processing (i.e., opening envelopes, validating signatures or even counting) their early votes and mail ballots before Election Day.

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