Ever since the 2016 presidential election and the Clinton era ended, the Democratic Party has struggled to find its next face. Does it follow more established Democratic veterans like former Vice President Joe Biden or House Speaker Nancy Pelosi? Or will it choose to back its more far-Left members like Senator Bernie Sanders? How about choosing new, younger members like Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez?
The Democrat Party’s desperate attempts to collect itself are undoubtedly the reason it has an unprecedented number of presidential candidates—each offering their own opinions for how the party ought to be run.
The wide selection, however, has also bridled infighting which even surpasses the spectrum of Republican candidates who ran in 2016.
The infighting comes at large financial costs as a Democratic group is offering up a staggering $60 million to rebrand the Democrat Party in Midwestern states, Politico reports.
Check it out:
The nonprofit organization, called Future Majority, plans to provide strategic advice to other Democratic groups, as well as branding efforts, communications, and a “war room” that will debunk fake news and counter conservative social media. The group quietly soft-launched during the 2018 midterms and advised organizations including the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee on how to message to voters.
Much of Future Majority’s work will target Midwestern states that have been trending more Republican — and which could be tipping point states in the 2020 presidential election, said the group’s executive director, Mark Riddle.
“It’s no great secret that the presidential race will be won or lost in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio — if we can win back the narrative that the word ‘Democrat’ equals people who are fighting for folks who work hard every day, we can continue to win elections,” Riddle said. “If [Democrats] get defined as being about socialism and these other words people can hear about out of Washington, then I worry.”
Many of Future Majority’s 2020 plans — including working to define to voters exactly what it means to be a Democrat — would in the past have been solely assumed by the Democratic National Committee. But the DNC has a somewhat smaller footprint heading into this election, and outside groups have taken on bigger party-building roles over the last decade of campaign finance deregulation.
Future Majority’s formation also highlights tensions within the Democratic Party over how to navigate money in politics in the 2020 election. The group will spend money through PACs but is initially organized as a 501(c)(4) political nonprofit — known to critics, including many Democrats, as “dark money,” with no disclosure of donors and limited disclosure of how money is spent. And while Democratic presidential candidates are clamoring for campaign finance reform and voluntarily limiting their own fundraising, all signs point to the party as a whole spending record sums of money through all sorts of groups as they try to unseat President Donald Trump.
For all their efforts, the Associated Press reports President Trump is “well on his way to raising the $1 billion his campaign believes it will take for him to win another term in the White House.”
For all presidents, incumbency has its advantages. Trump, who formalized his re-election effort the day after he took office, moved especially early to leverage his incumbency for 2020.
As Trump brings in millions, his would-be opponents are scrambling to raise enough money to earn themselves a spot on the primary debate stages. And the Democratic National Committee remains in debt from previous campaigns.
Trump campaign Chief Operating Officer Michael Glassner said, via the report: “Whoever the Democratic nominee is, they’ll be depleted, and they’ll have to start from zero — well under zero, the DNC has a debt.”
TIME Magazine reports the current fundraising totals of the Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee stand head and shoulders above the Obama re-election campaign effort at this point in the campaign:
Trump’s fundraising ability was matched by the Republican National Committee, which brought in $45.8 million in the first quarter — its best non-election year total. Combined, the pro-Trump effort is reporting $82 million in the bank, with $40.8 million belonging to the campaign alone.
Trump formally launched his reelection effort just hours after taking office in 2017, earlier than any incumbent has in prior years. By contrast, former President Barack Obama launched his 2012 effort in April 2011 and had under $2 million on hand at this point in the campaign.
Obama went on to raise more than $720 million for his reelection. Trump’s reelection effort has set a $1 billion target for 2020.