Daily Kos
Political analysis and other daily rants on the state of the nation

Thursday | August 21, 2003

Campaign Finance law hammers Dems

We're getting massacred:

Four years ago, the two parties were at rough financial parity. But under the new campaign-finance law championed, ironically, by most Democrats and opposed by most Republicans the GOP has built a better than 2-to-1 advantage. When the Democrats' debt is taken into account, the gap grows to 4-to-1.

The law requires the political parties to survive solely on regulated "hard money" donations, with a limit of $25,000. They must wean themselves from the six- and seven-figure "soft money" donations that they used to solicit from corporations, labor unions and wealthy individuals.

That task is proving easier for the Republicans because they have a much larger base of small donors, built up over the decades they were out of power in Washington. Democrats, on the other hand, had become more reliant on the now-banned big donations...

Democrats got lazy, pure and simple. They didn't invest in true grassroot developments. They focused party building excercises on targeting the mushy middle. Perhaps that helped win some elections, but those people will offer nothing more than the ocassional vote -- no money, no volunteer time. All the while, the party's base was left disenfranchised, and it sent its time and money to issue advocacy groups.

Now that CFR is in the books, the atrophy of the Democratic Party base is coming back to haunt the DNC. It's true many of you will want to say, "Well fuck them", but we have to get past that. We have a resurgent and well-funded GOP ready trying to wreak havoc on the democratic process. We must make a stand, and to do so, the party will have to be financially viable. We won't match the GOP, but we don't need to. We just need enough to get our message out.

Of course, all is not doom and gloom. Interest groups can still accept unregulated donations and spend them on behalf of candidates. Thus labor, environmental, women's, and other Dem-leaning groups will spend on behalf of Democratic candidates nationwide, making up some of that 4-1 fundraising disparity.

But the GOP has interest groups on its side doing the same (NRA, Christian Coalition, etc.), so it still remains -- the Democratic Party needs our help to fight off the GOP agenda.

You can do your part by donating to the DNC's presidential fund -- all the money collected through this site will be spent on our presidential nominee early next year.

There are two ironies at play here -- one is that Dems pushed CFR, yet it is they who are suffering the most. The other is that the GOP is leading the legal charge against the new law.

Try to make sense of that.

Posted August 21, 2003 08:14 AM | Comments (132)


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