Dan Gilmore / Oct. 16, 2015

Campaign Disclosures Show the Value of Small Donations

It’s bad news for Bush, but great news for the likes of Carson.

The presidential candidates’ campaign disclosures for the third quarter are in, and the results show a stark difference between how Democrats and Republicans run their campaigns. Unlike Republicans, Democrat candidates did not draw their lifeblood through big donors and Super PACs and instead raised millions in individual donations, many coming from small contributions. The Democrats’ fundraising boon is because there are fewer candidates in their field and because they are not running against that energy-suck Trump. Those small contributions are important, as it indicates a voter so excited about a candidate that they’re willing to invest. Matthew Dowd, a Republican strategist, told The Washington Post, “You could have this big super PAC, but if you have limited momentum and limited money to keep the campaign going, it’s like the guy at the top of Mount Everest with two broken legs and an extra oxygen tank. You’re living longer, but you’re not going anywhere.” That’s bad news for the likes of Jeb Bush, whose campaign is mostly funded through the Bush Dynasty money machine. But it’s great news for the likes of Ben Carson, whose campaign raised $20 million but pulled from one megadonor, One Vote, for $100,000. Democrat candidates raise more because Democrat voters put their hope in candidates. Republican voters are sick and tired of everybody — or at least anyone considered an “insider” — and are not opening up their wallets. The GOP counts on outside groups that espouse values instead of people, which is why Democrats hate those groups so much.

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