Dem Fundraising Plummets in 2023: Is Their Influence Fading?

The conservative perspective is sounding a resounding alert through Politico, underscoring the lackluster enthusiasm Democrats are witnessing among the public for their upcoming elections. Traditional indicators of voter engagement, often mirrored in grassroots fundraising figures, are signaling a stark departure from the norm. Historical trends have shown that voters keen on participating are more willing to contribute financially, but the present reality is quite different, with small-dollar donations for Democrats during this primary season falling significantly below the levels seen in the prior presidential cycle.

In this early half of the year, donations have tumbled by over $30 million in comparison to the same period in 2019. This drop in donor support is a clear reflection of the tepid enthusiasm surrounding a potential second term for President Joe Biden. Even during one of the most celebrated moments, Joe Biden’s campaign launch day, donations paled in comparison to the kickoff for his previous campaign four years ago. This data has been extrapolated from an analysis of donations processed through ActBlue, the primary donation platform for the Democratic Party.

Although these numbers warrant concern for the Democrats, it’s important to note that these are contributions for the primary season, which includes a presidential race where Biden remains determined to run for a second term. This situation leaves the Democrats without a palpable presidential primary, which could be hampering the enthusiasm from donors. However, the plunge in contributions and individual donors (down 32% in comparison to four years ago) remains alarming. An adviser to Bernie Sanders aptly summarized the mood within the Democratic base as “whistling past the graveyard.”

One of the prevailing assumptions among Democratic strategists was that the perceived “threat” of a second term for Donald Trump would mobilize both donors and voters in vast numbers. This phenomenon was evident in the 2020 election. The incessant focus on Trump was believed to bolster Biden’s image. Yet, so far, Trump’s presence doesn’t appear to be motivating liberal donors to pour funds into the party’s coffers.

Another contributing factor to this disheartening financial trend could be the ongoing inflation in the Biden-era economy, which has constrained disposable income for many voters. The President’s approval ratings for his economic policies have suffered considerably. Additionally, the lack of confidence in Biden’s leadership and the surfacing allegations of corruption involving Joe and Hunter Biden may have deterred even their own supporters from contributing.

As the election cycle progresses, it’s prudent to avoid hasty conclusions, and Republicans must remain vigilant and steadfast in their approach. While these fundraising figures don’t provide a definitive forecast, they suggest that the challenges the GOP faces might not be as insurmountable as once feared, provided this trend continues. However, nothing can be taken for granted at this juncture.

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