Not Over Till It’s Over

Image result for A visual data table published by the Virginia Public Access Project (VPAP) on February 17, 2021, offered some interesting information concerning the fundraising campaign of the former president in the post-election period. According to VPAP, “In the eight weeks ending on December 31 following his defeat on November 3, Donald Trump raised $2.6 million from Virginia supporters through the “Trump Make America Great Again Committee.”

As explained in a note to the visual, VPAP identified the trail and allocation of contributions:

Source: Campaign finance reports filed with the Federal Election Commission by Trump Make America Great Again Committee (TMAGAC). Number of donors and dollar amounts based on individuals listed with a Virginia mailing address. TMAGAC is a joint fundraising account that after Election Day (November 3, 2020) distributed 75% of donations to Save America (a leadership PAC set up by Donald Trump) and 25% to the Republican National Committee. The amounts shown in this chart are the full amount of donations to TMAGAC.

VoxFairfax examined the results from seven NOVA localities:

Locality

# Donors

Amount

Avg. / Donor

Fairfax

1,958

$613,005

$313

Loudoun

704

189,348

268

Prince William

677

150,490

222

Arlington

223

98,615

442

Fauquier

179

41,441

232

Alexandria

169

50,481

299

Clarke

35

6,481

185

TOTALS

3,948 $1,149,861

$291

The data for Fairfax include Falls Church and Fairfax City, and Manassas is included with Prince William County.

The seven jurisdictions contributed 44.4% of the $2.6 million total from the entire state, averaging $291 per capita across the selected reporting areas. VPAP, in a bar graph, also ranked the top jurisdictions in terms of numbers of donors per 10,000 in population. The top five rankings ranged from 26 (Matthews) to 31 (Goochland). In contrast, the total number of donors for this subset was 179 for a total amount of $59,941–an average per donor contribution of $324, higher than all but one (Arlington) of the NOVA group. As might be expected, however, Virginia Beach (the state’s largest metropolitan area) turned in 600 contributors for $148,623 ($248 average per donor).

The 8-week performance by the former president poses a challenge to the Republican National Committee (RNC), particularly its campaign arm focused on congressional races.

The 8-week performance by the former president poses a challenge to the Republican National Committee (RNC), particularly its campaign arm focused on congressional races. Whether or not the 45th president is a contender in 2024, the existence and reality of the post-election fundraising presents a potential and serious complication to the RNC with respect to party leadership and unity in 2022 and 2024.

In the Commonwealth, despite a generally acknowledged opinion about the sophistication of NOVA voters, the area’s contributors nonetheless ponied up money for the support of a single individual with knowledge that 75% of the haul of $2.6 million benefited only that one person. Virginia GOP candidates for state and local office must certainly take note of this reality in their own campaign strategies. It is also a lesson for Democrats in developing a platform and candidate positions on an assumption that the influence of the former president may continue to affect the politisphere at the state and local levels.

The $2.6 million raised in Virginia was part of an overall post-election phenomenon that resulted in a $207-million-plus effort nationwide, according to public reporting sources. At 75% to the former president’s PAC, that is $145 million.

For 2022, the national and state GOP organizations have indicated a determined and concerted focus on gubernatorial and congressional contests to regain majority control of Congress and state executives, attorneys general, and legislatures. State Republicans’ efforts are already underway in Georgia, Michigan, and Pennsylvania to increase the party’s influence over the voting, judicial, and other chokepoints to ensure an affirmative outcome for an electorate that is dwindling.

In 1956, when the song The Party’s Over was first performed, the words about a personal relationship were easy to understand:

The party’s over, the candles flicker and dim

You danced and dreamed through the night

It seemed to be right just being with him

Now you must wake up, all dreams must end

Take off your makeup, the party’s over

It’s all over, my friend

BUT . . . it appears not to be over. In recent weeks, House GOP leaders Kevin McCarthy and Steve Scalise journeyed to Mar-a-Lago to confer with the ex-president. Sen. Lindsey Graham also trekked to the Florida manse to counsel with 45. On Feb. 14, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell rendered a scorched-earth criticism of 45 on the Senate floor. The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), which traditionally holds its meeting in or near DC, announced that the former president will speak at its annual conference, now scheduled in Florida from Feb. 25-28. These events are a prelude to the invitation to the former president to speak at the RNC Spring meeting, also to be held in Florida, April 9-11. When is over, over?

Although some folks may have wished the lyrics to the song applied on November 3, the party’s not over and it is not time to call it a day, for either Republicans or Democrats.

 



Categories: elections, Issues, Local, National, politics, State

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