Will Democrats have enough cash to 'ride the wave' in 2018?

The political landscape has undergone a sea change in the last month as Republicans have shown signs of recovery in generic polls for Congress. The latest gap between the two parties is 6 points, according to the latest Fox poll. Other recent polls show an even narrower margin.

Considering that the Republicans trailed Democrats by double digits as recently as December, the improvement is impressive. Most analysts attribute the brightening of Republican fortunes to the passage of tax reform and a rapidly improving economy. It could also be voters tiring of Democratic scandal mongering.

Whatever the cause, the Democrat's margin to win back the House has been narrowing. And now comes word that the party is worried about being severely underfunded for the races to come.

Politico:

At a time when many Democratic candidates and groups are reporting record-breaking fundraising, the top state party officials gathered here for the meeting of the Association of State Democratic Committees say their local parties are cash-starved, raising the prospect that they won’t be able to take full advantage of what could be a historic opportunity in the midterm elections.

Local committees are in desperate need of more money if they’re going to support the costly precinct-level organizing and political groundwork needed to win back the House of Representatives, compete for the Senate and governor’s mansions, and swing back state legislatures, they say.

“If we’re able to accomplish all we hope, the concept would be to take advantage of a wave year, and make it as big as possible,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Chairman Raymond Buckley, who has been vocal about the need for state parties to receive more funding, or to risk missing out on that wave altogether.

State party chairs and executive directors expressed frustration with the party’s biggest donors, who remain wary of contributing to state parties that have been decimated in recent years and instead view individual candidates and emerging groups as more attractive short-term investments.

Only a handful of the state chairs in attendance even spent time wooing the major party contributors who live in California — traditionally a prime source of cash — during their trips out west, fearing their efforts would be futile.

Much of their frustration is directed toward the Democratic National Committee, which recently started doling out nearly $1 million worth of competitive grants to a handful of states. While the first round of so-called State Party Innovation Fund grants were a welcome move, the state leaders who failed to score them were left to stew over their predicament.

This was a common complaint during the Obama years and especially during the Clinton campaign. State and local parties are given a large responsibility in getting out the vote. But the national party doesn't give them the cash to do the job. It makes for confusion when state parties are begging for crumbs from national party donors while their GOP counterparts are flush.

Still, many of the Democratic leaders say they’re concerned that while the Republican National Committee and local GOP groups promote their investments in organizing in key states, the Democratic groups in charge of putting organizers and voter resources on the ground remain underfunded, and the national committee does not have a permanent army of organizers in target areas.

If they don’t get organizers and on-the-ground infrastructure in place soon, they worry, the party will not be able to fully benefit this fall from an expected electoral bonanza driven by a glut of energized candidates and grassroots supporters.

There are going to be a lot of close races this November where GOTV efforts will probably decide the issue. While the enthusiasm of the grass roots for a Democratic victory is unquestioned, money is needed to direct the efforts of those volunteers to maximize their numbers. 

Republican state and local organizations have a lot more autonomy than their Democratic counterparts. But as befitting a party that believes in centralized planning, the DNC doles out cash to state and local groups with the goal of being more in control. This top down model is a decided disadvantage and will be a drag on their efforts to win back the House and Senate.

 

 

The political landscape has undergone a sea change in the last month as Republicans have shown signs of recovery in generic polls for Congress. The latest gap between the two parties is 6 points, according to the latest Fox poll. Other recent polls show an even narrower margin.

Considering that the Republicans trailed Democrats by double digits as recently as December, the improvement is impressive. Most analysts attribute the brightening of Republican fortunes to the passage of tax reform and a rapidly improving economy. It could also be voters tiring of Democratic scandal mongering.

Whatever the cause, the Democrat's margin to win back the House has been narrowing. And now comes word that the party is worried about being severely underfunded for the races to come.

Politico:

At a time when many Democratic candidates and groups are reporting record-breaking fundraising, the top state party officials gathered here for the meeting of the Association of State Democratic Committees say their local parties are cash-starved, raising the prospect that they won’t be able to take full advantage of what could be a historic opportunity in the midterm elections.

Local committees are in desperate need of more money if they’re going to support the costly precinct-level organizing and political groundwork needed to win back the House of Representatives, compete for the Senate and governor’s mansions, and swing back state legislatures, they say.

“If we’re able to accomplish all we hope, the concept would be to take advantage of a wave year, and make it as big as possible,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Chairman Raymond Buckley, who has been vocal about the need for state parties to receive more funding, or to risk missing out on that wave altogether.

State party chairs and executive directors expressed frustration with the party’s biggest donors, who remain wary of contributing to state parties that have been decimated in recent years and instead view individual candidates and emerging groups as more attractive short-term investments.

Only a handful of the state chairs in attendance even spent time wooing the major party contributors who live in California — traditionally a prime source of cash — during their trips out west, fearing their efforts would be futile.

Much of their frustration is directed toward the Democratic National Committee, which recently started doling out nearly $1 million worth of competitive grants to a handful of states. While the first round of so-called State Party Innovation Fund grants were a welcome move, the state leaders who failed to score them were left to stew over their predicament.

This was a common complaint during the Obama years and especially during the Clinton campaign. State and local parties are given a large responsibility in getting out the vote. But the national party doesn't give them the cash to do the job. It makes for confusion when state parties are begging for crumbs from national party donors while their GOP counterparts are flush.

Still, many of the Democratic leaders say they’re concerned that while the Republican National Committee and local GOP groups promote their investments in organizing in key states, the Democratic groups in charge of putting organizers and voter resources on the ground remain underfunded, and the national committee does not have a permanent army of organizers in target areas.

If they don’t get organizers and on-the-ground infrastructure in place soon, they worry, the party will not be able to fully benefit this fall from an expected electoral bonanza driven by a glut of energized candidates and grassroots supporters.

There are going to be a lot of close races this November where GOTV efforts will probably decide the issue. While the enthusiasm of the grass roots for a Democratic victory is unquestioned, money is needed to direct the efforts of those volunteers to maximize their numbers. 

Republican state and local organizations have a lot more autonomy than their Democratic counterparts. But as befitting a party that believes in centralized planning, the DNC doles out cash to state and local groups with the goal of being more in control. This top down model is a decided disadvantage and will be a drag on their efforts to win back the House and Senate.