Trump And The GOP Raked In The Cash In The Final Quarter Of 2019

The Trump campaign and the Republican Party brought in more than $150 million in the last three months of 2019 alone.

While the frontrunners in the Democratic race to become his challenger posted impressive fundraising numbers for the last quarter of 2019, as I reported last week, President Trump and the Republican National Committee posted some impressive numbers of their own:

The Trump campaign, the Republican National Committee (RNC) and their associated groups brought in more than $154 million in the fourth quarter of 2019, ending the year with nearly $195 million in the bank. 

The massive haul includes roughly $46 million raised by the Trump campaign alone in the last three months. The RNC raked in $72.3 million in that same period. The other groups raising money toward the president’s reelection effort include two joint fundraising committees: Trump Victory and the Trump Make America Great Again Committe. 

Together, those four groups took in $463.6 million in 2019, outpacing any current presidential candidate in the Democratic primary field and former President Obama’s fundraising at the same point in his 2012 reelection bid.

(…)

The latest fundraising haul from the Trump campaign, RNC and joint fundraising committees means President Trump enters 2020 with a record-setting cash stockpile to draw from as he embarks on his bid for a second term in the Oval Office. The money will also go to helping Republicans down ballot as the party seeks to hold its majority in the Senate and recapture the House.

“President Trump’s campaign and the RNC are working hand-in-hand to re-elect the President and help Republican candidates up and down the ballot,” Brad Parscale, Trump’s campaign manager, said in a statement. 

“The President’s record of accomplishment has inspired unprecedented grassroots support which will translate to his own re-election and resounding victories for Republicans from coast to coast.”

The massive Republican haul for the fourth quarter was driven, at least in part, by House Democrats’ efforts to impeach the president for pressuring Ukrainian officials to investigate Biden, one of his top political rivals, and his family.

Since the impeachment efforts began in September, the Trump campaign, RNC, Trump Victory and Trump Make America Great Again Committee gained roughly 600,000 new digital and direct mail contributors, according to an RNC official.  

The extent to which the President is relying on fundraising for his re-election campaign stands in marked contrast to the 2016 campaign. During that campaign, Trump did not really engage in much high-dollar fundraising and did not have a very aggressive fundraising strategy during the fight for the Republican nomination. Instead, he relied on self-funding and free media to push his campaign forward, a strategy that was astoundingly successful considering the money that other candidates for the nomination were raising. That strategy shifted, of course, after Trump became the Republican nominee and was actually running for the nomination, of course. During that period, Trump’s free media appearances became more limited and selective while the fundraising effort picked up steam as the Republican Party elites that had previously distanced themselves from Trump rallied behind him to defeat Hillary Clinton.

The most important thing about this fundraising by the Trump campaign, though, is three-fold. First of all, it dwarfs the total fundraising by the Democratic candidates for President notwithstanding the obvious enthusiasm on that side of the fence for getting him out of office. Indeed, the Trump campaign and the GOP ended the year with more cash on hand than the Democratic candidates for President had raised for the fourth quarter. Second, it comes at the end of a year in which the Trump campaign and the GOP have managed to bring in record amounts of cash quarter after quarter to the point where they have raised nearly a combined half a billion dollars throughout the entire year. Finally, the biggest difference between the money Trump and the GOP are raising and what the Democrats are raising is that virtually of these funds will be available for the General Election campaign. While he may have token opposition for the GOP nomination, Trump does not need to spend significant amounts of money on the primary campaign and can instead use hold onto these funds for the General Election, or use them to fund spending that is aimed at laying the groundwork for that campaign.

All of this is a long way of saying that taking on Trump and the GOP in the fall is not going to be a cakewalk for the Democrats. They are likely going to be out-fundraised and outspent by Trump and the GOP. Whether that will be enough to make up for Trump’s disadvantages remains to be seen, but it is yet another reason for Democrats to not assume that defeating even a deeply unpopular President is going to be easy.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2020, Donald Trump, Politicians, US Politics,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. gVOR08 says:

    This level of campaign spending is insane. No wonder our politics is so screwed up. Piketty told us that the rich were getting richer, and would use their wealth politically to ensure they continue to get richer. This story is Piketty’s prediction in the flesh. Are we going to do anything, or just accept the standard conservative response – that’s just the way things are, nothing can be done?

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  2. Scott says:

    @gVOR08:

    Piketty told us that the rich were getting richer, and would use their wealth politically to ensure they continue to get richer.

    This is why this tax cut was so important to Republicans. They passed the tax cut and got campaign contributions as their commission.

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  3. Jay L Gischer says:

    I think there’s a threshold effect in campaign funding. I think we saw that in effect during the last presidential cycle. Clinton had a lot more money than Trump, but lost.

    If you don’t have enough money to get your message out there, you lose. But once you have that much, having more doesn’t do much for you.

    No politician will ever say this. Because they want your money. If they don’t need it now, they will next time around, or whatever.

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  4. Hal_10000 says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    This is an important point: the effect of money on politics is weak at best. See not only 2016, but recent races where Dems poured money into challengers to GOP safe seats and still lost.

    That having been said, Trump is going to be sitting on, what, half a billion to unleash on whoever emerge from the Dems scrum. In a race that could be close, that’s a big factor.

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  5. MarkedMan says:

    I’m significantly less concerned about this than if it were say, Bush. Most of this money is basically pay for play, meaning the donors don’t care if it’s used to re-elect Trump or flushed down the toilet. Couple this with the fact that Trump managed to seize control of the joint fundraising and it means most of the money will be skimmed.

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  6. mike shupp says:

    Hmmm I suspect the Republicans are going to run a GOTV campaign where they can call up people on election day and ask “Do you support President Trump for re-election? Have you voted today? Do you need a ride? We can send a supporter to get you to the polls and back.” Lots of people.

    I don’t think the Democrats could match this, and I suspect it would matter.

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  7. Kylopod says:

    @Hal_10000:

    This is an important point: the effect of money on politics is weak at best. See not only 2016, but recent races where Dems poured money into challengers to GOP safe seats and still lost.

    Just because it doesn’t guarantee victory doesn’t mean it has no effect. You have to consider the context. Ross Perot’s money may not have been sufficient to break through the massive institutional disadvantages faced by third parties, but it certainly helped him do better than any other third-party candidate in nearly a century. Similarly, it’s not going to automatically make safe seats stop being safe—but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t increase a candidate’s chances in the net.

    It’s also important to consider HOW the money is spent. Hillary put considerable resources into Nevada and Arizona—and it may have accounted for her narrow win in NV (where most polls showed Trump in the lead) and her doing better in AZ than any other Dem in decades. Meanwhile, she neglected the Upper Midwest. What if she hadn’t? Quite possibly we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

    Moreover, the real importance of money in politics is how it’s used to buy influence with politicians. For example, you think global warming denial would be a thing if not for the donations from the fossil fuel industry? This is an institutional problem that isn’t dependent on whether money automatically wins individual elections.

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  8. Gustopher says:

    @Kylopod:

    Hillary put considerable resources into Nevada and Arizona—and it may have accounted for her narrow win in NV (where most polls showed Trump in the lead) and her doing better in AZ than any other Dem in decades. Meanwhile, she neglected the Upper Midwest. What if she hadn’t? Quite possibly we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

    I doubt she would have blown up the world. She’s more hawkish than most Democrats, but she isn’t stupid.

    And she’s predictable. Predictability is very important. And good.

    Moreover, the real importance of money in politics is how it’s used to buy influence with politicians. For example, you think global warming denial would be a thing if not for the donations from the fossil fuel industry? This is an institutional problem that isn’t dependent on whether money automatically wins individual elections.

    In thirty years, we might not be here to have this conversation because of global warming.

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  9. Teve says:

    @Kylopod:

    Moreover, the real importance of money in politics is how it’s used to buy influence with politicians. For example, you think global warming denial would be a thing if not for the donations from the fossil fuel industry?

    I just read this morning that for every dollar renewable energy interests spend lobbying Congress, carbon merchants spend 12.

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  10. gVOR08 says:

    @Gustopher: Thirty years is too soon for AGW to make us extinct. But if our Billionaire Boys Club Republican donors succeed in buying their libertarian paradise of a Putin style oligarchy we won’t be discussing this in thirty years because none will dare call it treason.

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