Thursday, October 18, 2007

Raising Money Online

I'll be damned if Patrick Ruffini isn't one of maybe 15 people Republicans need to start listening to now if they have any hope of being relevant in the future. Watch him examine the fund-raising push made by Team Obama at the beginning of the current filing period:

This is the result of just three emails sent by the Obama campaign. It’s more than Mike Huckabee raised last quarter. It’s probably more than any Republican raised online last quarter with the exception of Ron Paul.

Think about that. One email. $650,000.

Imagine what their nominee will do to us with the entire weight of the online Democratic Party behind them. I’m thinking $1 to $2 million an email.

Each email is the equivalent two or three fundraising dinners. Each of which probably require hundreds of man hours to produce. That’s only for of one email, not the three that have been sent this week. One email that probably took someone an hour or two write, that took a few hours to get approved, that took another hour or two to be formatted and sent. (And “stripped down” email is even more efficient.)

(emphasis added)

That is a ruthless efficiency that can't be ignored, not only because it's a huge total to begin with, but also where it's coming from: tons of small donors, not lobbyists, who are now invested in the campaign; who can be counted on to likely vote for the candidate; who can be asked to volunteer in their area; and who can be tapped for more funds in the future.

Try getting that from a $1000 a plate dinners in Milwaukee.

(Incidentally, would love to see some data on how many volunteer man hours an e-mail solicitation creates from small donors vs. the number of volunteers that come out of big dollar donor dinners.)

By the way, fund-raising has become such a big problem for the GOP that the Wall Street Journal editorial page is now slamming Democrats for creating their own money-making machine:

Meanwhile, Democrats under Rep. Rahm Emanuel and Sen. Schumer have quietly erected their own K Street Project, and employ some of the same strong-arm tactics they once deplored. "I've never felt the squeeze that we're under now to give to Democrats and to hire them," says one telecom industry representative. "They've put out the word that if you have an issue on trade, taxes, or regulation, you'd better be a donor and you'd better not be part of any effort to run ads against our freshmen incumbents."

That may be, but big business is more than happy to defect for the time being:

So why won't business groups go to the mat for their friends and spend whatever it takes to defeat their enemies? Former Republican House majority leader Dick Armey explains that "the business groups are simply not ideological givers. They give to buy access and to minimize risk."

(emphasis added)

That's a refrain that's being song elsewhere:

A Wall Street Journal poll last month showed that only 37% of professionals and managers identify themselves as Republicans or leaning that way. A YouGov/Polimetrix poll for The Economist finds that only 44% of those earning more than $150,000 plan to vote Republican. So it is no surprise—though historically astonishing—that the Democrats' presidential candidates have raised substantially more than Republican ones.

There are several obvious reasons for this. The shrill voices of religious conservatives have driven away many pragmatic Republicans who feel that banning abortion and gay marriage are not the most pressing issues confronting America. The Bush administration's incompetence, evident from Iraq to Louisiana, alienates people who know about management.

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