Nancy Pelosi’s decision to try to remove President Trump through an actual election instead of impeachment turns the focus to the billions of dollars that will be spent on a combination of three-dozen potential presidential candidates.
Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz’s net worth of $3.5 billion provides the prospect of a credible candidate who can self-fund, while traditional donor calls by candidates will compete with a combination of Republicans mailing small checks, billions in credit or gift card contributions through Act Blue to Democrats, outside Super PACs, and secret money LLCs to determine the next president.
For the first time ever, the Democrats held a huge advantage in secret money in the 2018 midterms that will likely give them another huge money advantage in 2020, though President Trump did withstand Hillary Clinton’s billion-dollar campaign just four years after President Obama withstood Mitt Romney’s billion dollar effort.
HR1 just passed the House, offering sweeping campaign finance reform and many other election changes, and while there are some very good provisions, it would also create many problems, not address some of the most pressing ones, and will not pass a Republican Senate prior to the presidential election, which turns the focus to how candidates will raise their money.
The following quote sums up the basic case for eliminating Super PACs:
“The current system is absurd. As a candidate who has had Super PACs supporting me and Super PACs attacking me, it makes no sense not to have candidates able to communicate their own messages and instead have this bizarre world of Super PACs.”
However, you may be surprised that this quote came not from a progressive Democrat, but from Senator Ted Cruz, who along with Freedom Caucus Leader Mark Meadows continues to press the case for eliminating Super PACs from the right.
Cruz’s 2018 opponent, Beto O’Rourke, raised $53 million of his record shattering $79 million through Act Blue, which processes unverified gift and credit card contributions without allowing their banks to verify the actual identify of any donor — a process that the bank uses every other time you or I pay for something online.
By early 2016, the same process netted Bernie Sanders $16 million from people who said they were unemployed — perhaps the reason his office attacked Take Back Our Republic’s advocacy allowing banks to verify that the money was coming from Americans and not something like an overseas bot assigning fake American names.
To his credit, Joe Biden was a part of the Clinton/Biden campaign that like the Trump/Pence effort allowed verification of contributions.
If Terry McAuliffe decided to run, he would be pressed on his decades of being the fundraiser for the Clintons and other key Democrats.
The nontraditional candidates will face different fundraising decisions than those with a more traditional path and campaign history like Senators Amy Klobuchar, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris or even candidate Stacey Abrams.
A self-funder like Schultz, or “Never Trump” money behind someone like Jeff Flake, John Kasich, or William Weld could fund a big enough campaign to break double digits that would impact the eventual winner.
Many candidates will make changing campaign finance laws part of their campaigns, but we do have history for many candidates on how they will likely raise the money to try to win the next presidential election.
John Pudner is Executive Director of Takeback.org, a non-profit home for Americans seeking true political reform. Our conservative solutions include: stopping illicit foreign money from impacting elections; ending pay-to-play in government contracting; and restoring the Reagan-era federal tax credit for small-dollar political contributions, which will encourage more citizens to become donors and help re-balance the campaign finance system. For more of his reports — Click Here Now.