Tag Archives: campaign cash

How does Bernie keep raking in all that cash?

I want to stipulate a political truism, which is that lots of money doesn’t always translate to lots of votes.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush had tons of cash when he launched his 2016 bid for the Republican Party presidential nomination. He, um, didn’t make the grade.

Four years later, we have Sen. Bernie Sanders out there raking in huge sums of money. They’re from small donors, he keeps telling us. Sanders, who’s actually an independent senator from Vermont, is running for the Democratic Party presidential nomination.

I am baffled how so many voters keep “feeling the Bern.” They keep pumping all that cash into his coffers. He finished 2019 with a huge haul of $34.5 million in the final quarter of the year. He’s loaded, man!

You may color me amazed, along with baffled. The man sings off a single song sheet page. Wealthy people are bad for the country, he keeps saying. Every single answer to every question seems to turn on “wealth inequality.” He wants to redistribute the wealth, you know … take from the rich and give to the not-so-rich. I guess it has its appeal, but I am not sure why.

I hate to bring age into this argument, but he is 77 years old. He would be the oldest man ever inaugurated president were he to win. I mention this with some trepidation as I just turned 70 myself this past month.

Sanders has yet to demonstrate a broad swath of knowledge on matters far from the income inequality theme he keeps preaching.

The war on terror? Climate change? U.S.-Russia relations? Middle East policy? We know what he believes about taxation.

Plenty of my friends are supporters of Bernie Sanders. I just won’t sign on until I get a sense of a more well-rounded, comprehensive platform on which he intends to run. So far, I am not seeing it.

But … he still is awash in campaign cash.

Go figure.

‘Horse race’ takes on new meaning

Many of us lament the nature of political coverage, how it centers on the “horse race” aspect: who’s up and who’s down?

Now, though, the “horse race” element is taking on a new context.

Beto O’Rourke’s entry into the Democratic Party presidential primary field this past week was followed immediately by his jaw-dropping fundraising effort. O’Rourke managed to raise $6.1 million in just 24 hours, a record for such political fundraising. Beto beat Bernie Sanders’s previous record of $5.9 million in the first day of his 2020 presidential campaign announcement.

So now the media are talking about the Texan’s prodigious fundraising capability. They take note of how they come from small donors living in all 50 states and the various U.S. territories.

The political pros also are comparing Beto with Barack, saying that O’Rourke’s huge initial cash take dwarfs the amount that Sen. Obama raked in as he campaigned for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination.

All this money is just fine. Beto has a lot of it to spend as he seeks to elbow his way past the gigantic — and still growing — 2020 Democratic field.

The pile of cash doesn’t necessarily translate to a pile of votes. At least that has been the norm.

Until this year?

Abbott is swimming in campaign cash

Greg Abbott has become a fundraising dynamo in his campaign for governor, which a lot of observers think he’s going to win next month.

He’s got an estimated $30 million in the bank. He won’t spend it all, according to the Texas Tribune.

What’s the deal?


It appears he’s saving it up for the next campaign in 2018, which could get serious if another Republican — state Sen. Dan Patrick — is elected lieutenant governor.

Patrick might be so darn full of himself that he’ll want to challenge Abbott for governor in four years. I’m worried far less about Patrick’s challenge of Abbott than I worry about what kind of governor Abbott would become.

Here’s the deal.

If Abbott wants to fend off a challenge from the right wing of his party, he’ll have to govern from the far right. That means he’ll let loose with fiery rhetoric about border security, working with Texas congressional Republicans to repeal the Affordable Care Act, appointing right-wing ideologues to all those boards and commissions and perhaps even raising the specter of secession when the moment presents itself.

There might be a formidable Democrat out there who’ll challenge a Gov. Abbott in 2018. Let’s not kid ourselves, though, about where the stiffest challenge might present itself.

It’ll come from within the Republican Party.

As the Tribune reports: “The target of this cash juggernaut, of course, may not be a Democrat at all, but rather GOP lieutenant governor candidate Dan Patrick, who as (Austin American-Statesman reporter Jonathan) Tilove writes, ‘would like to be governor someday.'”

Therein lies the concern of where an Abbott governorship will take the state in the meantime.