Horserace all the Things!

Quick thought on fundraising.

I realize I am largely echoing James Joyner’s piece from last week, Trump Got More Donations Than Biden After Conviction, but I was really struck by this headline in Politico: Disappointment and ‘depression’: Biden’s biggest fundraisers watch their advantage vanish.

The headline comes from this:

privately, several Democratic strategists and donors were reeling.

“There was the strategy of raising all this money on the front end so we could have this huge edge,” said one Biden bundler, granted anonymity to speak candidly. “The whole point of it was to come out with a sizable cash advantage and, you know, we’re now even and it’s June. … I have no other word for it other than ‘depression’ among Biden supporters.”

Another major Biden bundler, also granted anonymity, called the development “disappointing, but not surprising.”

But the headline could have come from things like this:

“That early money counted because it allowed for Biden to build out all of these offices, which have been cranking along, and that’s not something Trump can catch up on,” said Alan Kessler, a Pennsylvania-based donor. “Trump can’t get back February, March, April and May, when the Biden campaign was getting boots on the ground.”

As James noted in his post, the Biden campaign has been engaged in a number of early strategic moves, while Trump and the RNC have been dismantling their organization. Moreover, Trump has been siphoning resources to pay legal expenses.

I know Politico and others need the clicks, but the ongoing need to make everything into a horserace narrative is lazy and unhelpful.

I also expect that a lot of Biden fundraisers are happy to make it sound dire, as that is a great fundraising tool!

I have no broader analytical point to make. It is mostly just part of an ongoing lament about the poor quality of more political journalism.

FILED UNDER: 2024 Election, US Politics, , ,
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. Sleeping Dog says:

    If new sources are looking for clicks, they need to write more enticing headlines, I saw that Politico headline earlier and my reaction was, nothing to see here. Pretty much I’ve stopped looking at articles that are speculative or prescriptive, because they are, in general, a waste of time, since they impart little or no new knowledge.

  2. Kathy says:

    Is it even a horse race when the orange participant is clearly 100% Yahoo?

  3. just nutha says:

    @Kathy: Given that the electorate is some significant portion yahoo, I’d say the color and yahoo-ity the participant is immaterial. Maybe even unremarkable.

  4. JohnMc says:

    Seems that Trump/RNC are subcontracting their GOTV to Charlie Kirk & Turning Point.
    Sort of same thing as trying to evaluate Russia armed forces using the size of their budget. Have to adjust for corruption.

    Whatever their funds are, they are not sufficient for the pack of thieves surrounding it.

  5. DK says:

    “dEmoCrAts iN DiSarRay!!11!!”

    several Democratic strategists and donors

    aka James Carville, Ruy Teixiera, and the two richest guys in Poughkeepsie, whoever they are.

    Politico (aka. Tiger Beat on the Potomac) must be even more desperate for eyeballs than usual; it’s the summer doldrums and the news bros have to compete for attention. with vacations and the beach. But this headline is dense even by their own lazy standards.

  6. Ken_L says:

    I was happy to read that Trump’s PAC/s intend to blow all their newfound wealth on TV commercials, which will serve no purpose apart from generating income for the people who make them.

  7. Joe says:

    I have no broader analytical point to make.

    And so, here we are all, trying to fill the space between what we know and what we hope. And trying to attract some eyeballs.


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