Desperate Dems Demanding Dough

Labor Day may mark the official start of the campaign season, but the mud-slinging and money-grubbing have long been in full swing.  An active Republican friend of mine unexpectedly found herself on a Democrat Party e-mail solicitation list whose members are bombarded relentlessly with requests for donations.  This constant drumbeat, aimed at “affinity voters,” is a tactic Democrats have used effectively in the past. 

My nonplussed friend decided to share with me a few examples from the tsunami of solicitations crowding her in-box.  Here is one supposedly sent from the top of the party heap:

President Obama and our staff at Democratic Headquarters have sent you a lot of emails.  But we don’t want you to get the wrong idea…. What you’ve already done is truly historic: $5 and $35 at a time, you’ve built a record-breaking grassroots movement.  So thank you. You make our campaigns  possible.

So why the emails?  To be blunt, we’re getting trounced on the airwaves.  And it’s getting worse.  If we can’t fight Karl Rove’s Obama-bashing ad blitz  now, we will lose everything we’ve built together.


Deadline 8/31 11:59:59    Suggested gift: $5.00

Meredith DeCoursey (fictitious name) – if you can help us out one more time,           we could use your support before tomorrow’s fundraising deadline.



The Democrats’ prowess in electronic grass roots fund-raising was instrumental in catapulting Obama to victory in his presidential runs.  But Republican skills are improving in that regard.  And for all their assumption of superiority, Democrats -- who often seem more interested in process than in substance -- could not help but be humiliated by the failures of the ObamaCare Web site. Yet like a cocky jockey thrown for a loop, they have climbed back in the e-mail fund-raising saddle -- and with a vengeance.

Only this time around, there’s a tone of desperation to the effort.   It could be injected on purpose, but I rather doubt it.  Democrats are understandably running scared.  The pressure may have started after the special election last Spring in the Sunshine State, when many thought Democrat Alex Sink would trounce her Republican opponent, David Jolly, to win the Congressional seat vacated by Republican Bill Young in a district that was shifting left.  Sink out-raised and out-spent Jolly.  And the Democratic PACS even out-paced their big-spending Republican counterparts like the C of C.

But Sink sank, and part of it was the result of an abysmal turn-out among Democrat voters, who tend to be less turned on than Republicans by mid-year and special elections.   It was a rude wake-up call the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.  Matt Canter, deputy executive director of the state DCC, remarked afterwards, “The takeaway from the special election in Florida is that Democrats will need to invest heavily in the national field program in order to win in November.”  Added Doug Thornell, a former DCCC spokesperson, “It’s going to be an uphill battle, clearly.”

Democrats love to portray themselves as underdogs, anyway. They righteously regard their party as the only true friend of the little guy, the downtrodden, the disenfranchised.  So although they outspend Republicans in many races thanks to well-heeled donors like George Soros, they pretend to be David battling Goliath on the political battlefield. 

This myth apparently resonates with constituents, since the DNC’s barrage of requests for chump change is purposely calculated to feed into it.  In analyzing the content of the e-mails forwarded to me, I recognized several sure-fire tricks of the trade:

  1. Be familiar and personal.   All communications are on a first-name basis. Supporters are repeatedly shown appreciation, which strengthens the roots of their political relationship, allowing the money tree to be shaken unabashedly over and over again.
  2. Emphasize the glory of “grass roots” efforts, making it seem like the campaign engine of the Democratic party runs entirely on small donations without which it would come to a grinding halt.
  3. Depict the GOP, by contrast, as the party of big money plutocrats, with unlimited campaign funds flowing freely from the corporate sector.   
  4. Invoke the names of Republicans whom the faithful love to hate, among them Karl Rove and the Koch Brothers, underscoring that they are the “true face” of the GOP. 
  5.  Inject a sense of urgency, claiming that Democrats are desperately headed for disaster if contribution deadlines are not met.
  6. Insinuate that party luminaries like President Obama, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and James Carville are behind the pleas and counting  on support.
  7. Hark back to how far the “movement” has come and how easily it could all fall apart, unless…
  8. Threaten the inevitability of throwing in the towel if Democrat donors fail to reach the calculated goal.  

All of this may seem ludicrous, even laughable, to the more sophisticated voter.  But such hypocritical melodrama has worked before.  It’s just a matter of  tugging at the heartstrings on the way to opening the purse strings of the party faithful.