For a vulnerable incumbent who never seems to do spectacularly in in favorability polls, Donald Trump certainly seems to be popular enough to rake in the cash.
In January, the Trump’s re-election campaign and the Republican National Committee raised a combined $60.6 million, all in the midst of impeachment and the Democratic primary season heating up, according to the Washington Examiner.
This number is more than double what then-incumbent Barack Obama raised at the same point during his 2012 re-election campaign.
“The Democrats’ shameful impeachment hoax and dumpster fire primary process have only contributed to the record breaking financial support for President Trump’s reelection,” Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale said.
“With President Trump’s accomplishments, our massive data and ground operations, and our strong fundraising numbers, this campaign is going to be unstoppable in 2020.”
“The more Democrats smear President Trump, the more enthusiasm we see for him and his many accomplishments,” RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said. “We already have 500,000 volunteers trained and activated, and this record-breaking support is helping us grow our grassroots army even more.”
The haul was more evidence that impeachment fueled Trump’s fundraising numbers at the end of 2019 and the beginning of 2020.
In January, the campaign reported it had taken in $46 million during the fourth quarter of 2019 and was starting the year with $103 million on hand, numbers Politico said indicated “a massive total at the start of the election year.”
As an aside, just in case you’d forgotten where Politico stood, they made sure to note this was a result of the Trump campaign sending “out scores of fundraising appeals and launched a merchandising effort aimed at stoking the grievances of Trump’s small donor base and presenting the president as a victim of congressional Democrats out to destroy him.”
Apparently, someone at Politico just discovered the mechanics of political fundraising in early January and was appalled.
Appalled, I tell you.
Anyhow, these are impressive numbers, even given the eye-watering fundraising grosses one sees at the presidential level these days.
Consider, for instance, the fact that the RNC and the Trump campaign have brought in $525 million since the beginning of 2019. That’s almost as much as the DNC and the entire field of Democratic candidates brought in during the last calendar year — $580 million, according to the DNC.
That, of course, has been divided among a large field of candidates, many of whom are no longer around to spend it.
Factor in that a great deal of that has been thrown into the twin furnaces of Iowa and New Hampshire, not to mention all of the other primary states in the not-too-distant future.
And even then, CNN reported that the top Democratic fundraiser in January — Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders — only took in $25 million in January.
As the Democratic field burns money in a primary season where the front-runner is loathed by the party establishment and whose nomination would represent the first foray of an avowed socialist into legitimate contention for the presidency, the Trump campaign and RNC now have more than $200 million cash on hand.
If you want a comparison with 2012, Obama and the DNC had $93.7 million on hand at the same point in the 2012 campaign, but were carrying $7.2 million in debt.
Don’t anticipate much of a slowdown in February, either:
Big fundraising day for Trump, I’m told
About 300 Trump allies – including Bossie, Gaetz, Lewandowski, Ronna McDaniel, Don Jr., Kimberly Guilfoyle – gathered at Mar-a-Lago for a donor “call day”
About $25 million raised for Trump Victory fundraising account
— Alex Isenstadt (@politicoalex) February 7, 2020
In short, this isn’t going to be 2016, when Trump was well outpaced by the Clinton campaign in terms of fundraising and cash expenditures.
Now, Hillary Clinton didn’t exactly know where to spend it, not even focusing on the Midwest states that carried Trump to victory until it was much too late.
Whoever the Democratic nominee is almost certainly won’t make that mistake.
The problem is that they’ll almost certainly have considerably less resources than Trump has.
He also has a strong economy to tout and an opposition party that wants to message about how Trump is rending the fabric of our country apart while their nominal leader tears up the State of the Union speech for effect.
Anything can happen between now and November.
That said, you’d have to be the most sanguine of Democrats to think that what you’ve seen so far is a recipe for retaking 1600 Pennsylvania.
President Trump may be a vulnerable incumbent, but he looks a lot less vulnerable when you’re staring down numbers like this.
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