The Mystery of the Missing Republican Ad Money
One Republican has been raking in the donations and siphoning dollars away from GOP candidates. It's just that this (former) guy isn't on a ballot this time around.
Hey y’all: Welcome to Morning Shots. It’s Tim in for Charlie today. He’s on a well-deserved family vacation between now and Labor Day. You can hear more about it on our podcast from Friday.
Also on the podcast front—I was the special guest on The Focus Group this week and we did a deep dive on the pro-Democrat political vibe shift and what’s behind it. Plus I’ll be substitute hosting for Charlie tomorrow and Weds with two great guests planned. JVL and Mona will finish things out in the host chair Thursday and Friday.
To the newsletter . . .
Where’d the Ad Money Go?
Republicans are heading into the midterms at a significant financial disadvantage, leading to much sturm und drang in the GOP political class. The most recent fundraising reports from July showed Senate Democrats with $31 million more cash on hand than Republicans. Meanwhile House Democrats have raised $24 million more than their GOP counterparts and the Democratic National Committee has substantially narrowed a massive, long-standing fundraising advantage held by the Republican National Committee.
Last week the Washington Post reported on the GOP “cash crunch” with the banner headline “It’s a rip-off. GOP spending is under fire”
In the intervening period a lot of theories have been tossed out about why this is happening and who is ripping off whom.
Let’s investigate together, shall we?
One Republican consultant laid the blame at the feet of Italian Riviera Rick Scott and his team at the NRSC:
“If they were a corporation, the CEO would be fired and investigated,” said a national Republican consultant working on Senate races. “The way this money has been burned, there needs to be an audit or investigation because we’re not gonna take the Senate now and this money has been squandered. It’s a rip-off.”
Other consultants provided a range of excuses, including “inflation, changes to Facebook advertising policies, emails getting caught in spam filters, and complacency with an anticipated Republican wave.”
Ronna “You Might Not Remember, But I Am a Member of the Romney Family” McDaniel got creative in her blame shifting citing the overturn of Roe, which she claims created an enthusiasm gap that is hard to overcome since her party’s small dollar donors have been “decimated” by the Biden economy. (Credit where due: A bullshit talking point that manages to inculpate her own failures on Dark Brandon!)
But I would like to offer a different theory. One that Ronna and Rick and Kevin don’t want to say on the record because they live in fear that a crotchety, heavily made-up old-man will send a nasty RETRUTH about them on a scam social media site.
The real answer to the question: “Where did all the GOP campaign money go?”
It’s in the ball room with Colonel Mango and the classified documents.
Trump’s SAVE America PAC raised over $103 million between the insurrection to July of this year. Nine figures! His MAGA PAC has piled on an additional $16 milly. And those numbers were reported before the August raid of Mar-a-Lago that Trump’s team claims resulted in an additional $1 million per day in donations.
Put together, the former president’s political action committees have sucked up somewhere in the neighborhood of $125 million of Republican donor money by now.
So it sure doesn’t seem like Trump is having problems with email spam filters, or Facebook advertising policies, or his hobbit army pinching pennies because of "The Biden Economy.”
What has Trump done with all that scratch? Not much to help anyone besides himself, of course. He hasn’t even spent 10 percent of the receipts supporting GOP candidates on the ballot this year. In fact he’s spent more than twice as much on legal expenses than he’s put down on candidate contributions.
And despite his substantial legal bills (which seem to be compounding) the Trump PACs’ cash-on-hand more than makes up the gap in resources between the two parties. He could get Republican candidates to par with a few simple cash transfers.
But are the heads of the GOP campaign committees calling on him to do this? Nope. They continue to prostrate themselves before their master. Rick Scott gave him a trophy, you might recall. And NRCC Chairman Tom Emmer said “I’m really grateful for his help” when pressed on this question during a Spring conference call with reporters.
In other words: Thank you sir, may we have another!
This, if you are unfamiliar, is *not how things normally work*. If the former president was not an unquenchable attention zombie and instead had retired to a quiet life of painting and bicycle riding, only popping his head up to fundraise for favored members of the party, as is tradition, it sure seems like Republicans on the ballot this November would be in a much-better fundraising position.
But rather than try to move on from their diminutive master, “Team Normal” Republicans continue to empower him, sending out insane fundraising messages like these further cementing his power in the party in the hopes that they can pick-up some of his table scraps:
The result of all this is that when it comes to both candidate quality and fundraising, it’s no longer a question of whether Trump will cost Republicans seats in November, but how many he will lose the party thanks to his hoarding and meddling.
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Send Lawyers, Guns, & Money, He’s A Desperate Man…”Trump’s Legal Team Scrambles”
Dirty Business… “Inside Trump’s War on the National Archives”
His Principles Are Reaching An All Time Low… “Lindsey Graham Predicts Riots If Trump Is Prosecuted” and Trump posts on his social media site
Guys . . . I’m begging . . . stop being so wrong and smug that it makes Trump look right by comparison. I hate it when that happens!
As someone who has been to a lesbian “dance” club, I am offended by this on multiple levels.
DON’T LET IT GET TOO SAD
Parenting is lots of things, and one of those things is terror. You watch your infant, sedated and surrounded by wires and tubes and monitors and medical personnel coming and going constantly, and wonder how we could live in a universe where a few weeks could be all that a child gets on this earth. (In one dark moment, I wondered if my weeks of parental leave would amount to the entirety of my time with our son, this beautiful infant whose face I had seen for the first time just weeks earlier and whose life had now come to matter to me as much as my own.) I prayed. I looked for meaning in tiny fluctuations in the vital signs on the monitors. I thought of my father, whose last days played out on a ventilator in an ICU room like this as he lost his battle with lung cancer, though Chasten repeatedly reminded me that this was a completely different situation. We tried not to hassle the medical staff with our million questions which were really just one question. And they patiently repeated the one honest answer, which was that with this kind of virus, the only way you know it’s getting better is when it’s stopped getting worse. . . .
Earlier this month, we celebrated the twins’ first birthday. Now completely healthy, they sat in highchairs in our driveway at our house (there were too many guests to fit inside, so we borrowed folding tables from Chasten’s parents, turned our garage into a buffet, and made the driveway our party zone). We looked around at the friends and family who had gotten us through this first year, wondering how we could possibly thank them enough and realizing that more than anything, a first birthday is a chance to celebrate everyone who in some way played a role in that formative and tender year of life for your children.