Robert Francis O’Rourke shocked the political world by raising more 38 million dollars in a single quarter in his losing bid to unseat Ted Cruz in Texas.
Robert Francis, who dubbed himself Beto, is a fourth generation Irish-American. He is about as Hispanic as I am, but I go by John, so most people just assume I am Irish-Catholic. Many folks assume Beto, on the other hand, because of his clever nick-name and because he speaks Spanish, has some Spanish blood in there somewhere.
And he might. After all, there are plenty of dark Irish who, the legend goes, are descended from the remnants of the Spanish Armada that crashed upon Ireland’s shores back in 1588.
Beto’s ancestry is not the purpose of this blog.
Beto’s money is. I am happy to report that he has no interest in sharing his vast fundraising wealth with any other Democratic candidate. Instead he will pour it into his own race, where presumably he will buy every television ad, every phone bank and perhaps give a bit of walking around money to every Democratic turn-out operation that he can find.
None of it will make any difference, because Beto is still going to lose.
And in actuality, he doesn’t have 38.1 million smackers to spend on his race. Apparently, he has already spent about $27 million of that to help him raise the 38.1. He has a high burn rate. Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em apparently.
Beto’s millions are a further example of a troubling trend this election cycle. Democrats have way more money than Republicans. Way more. Especially in House races.
And Republicans have to be scratching their heads and asking themselves why.
After all, the GOP is in control of both the House and the Senate, and of course, they have the White House.
You would think that this would give Republicans an advantage, as influence peddlers try to buy influence by giving campaign donations to those who hold power.
But that’s not what has happened.
Instead, changing demographics of the political parties and changing technology have helped Democrats win the money game.
The Democratic party has morphed away from its working class roots and instead has become a party of wealthy suburban people, who mostly reside on the coasts (some live in Chicago). These wealthy suburban people have done well in the Trump economy but still strongly dislike him. And so they are opening up their pocketbooks, and through the wonders of technology, they are giving to political candidates who live far away from them.
And that is where the changing technology comes in.
Act Blue and other online platforms have efficiently and effectively funneled a billion dollars or so from these wealthy donors to Democratic candidates from all over the country. In many cases, the donors don’t really even know who they are giving to. They just know that if they are opposed to Trump, they must be awesome.
What many of these Act Blue donors don’t know is that many of these candidates occupy the far-left wing of the political spectrum who despise capitalism and the white patriarchy that supports it.
So yes, many of these donors are giving money to candidates who espouse philosophies that will cost them a lot of money. But, heh, that’s their choice.
Many Republican consultants in Washington DC, those who equate money with political success, look at the Democratic fundraising numbers and assume that the Democrats are a shoo-in to sweep the House.
I am not so sure. I don’t equate money with political success, especially if the bulk of that money comes from people who reside in Hollywood or Manhattan.
Funding left-wing ideologues to run in swing districts is not a sure way to win seats. In fact, I would venture to guess that many of these Republicans who are running in slightly red districts are going to do a lot better than the pundits or the political experts think.
Nobody watches campaign commercials any more.
They aren’t really helping Beto win in Texas. He will lose by 10 points, despite his vast campaign war chest.
I remember when everybody (including me) thought that Jeb Bush was going to win the GOP primary because he had so much more money than everybody else. Well, he fell flat on his face, because his message did not match up with the mood country.
Money can’t buy you love. And it can’t buy elections. Not by itself.
Ask Bush. And Beto.