President Obama announced yesterday that his campaign raised $71 million in June even as Romney’s campaign announced he’d raised $106 million. And when you factor in the anonymous donations to Super PACS now possible under Citizens United, and ultra-rich conservatives like Sheldon Adelson who vowed to donate at least $100 million personally to Romney, that drubbing is probably worse than the official reporting would indicate.
Obama sent an email to financial backers last night with a clear message: pony up, or lose.
“We can win a race in which the other side spends more than we do,” Obama wrote in the email. “But not this much more.”
Obama’s campaign COO Anne Habershaw said we “got beat—and not by a little bit.” and continued, “If we lose this election, it will be because we didn’t close the gap enough when we had the chance.”
As the election gets closer the fundraising efforts will likely be driven by enthusiasm. By that metric, Obama has plenty to worry about. His communications team, relying on “extending” tax cuts for the middle and and “letting cuts expire” for high earners have him pontificating like an econ nerd instead of inspiring his base with a bold vision for what his second term could look like. So far this year Obama has not honed the kind of message that brings in a windfall.
In his message Obama wrote, “This election will be a test of the model that got us here. We’ll learn whether it’s still true that a grassroots campaign can elect a president — whether ordinary Americans are in control of our democracy in the face of massive spending.”
The test of whether ordinary Americans can still outspend corporations and super-rich Americans seems like one they are likely to fail. But beyond that, there is a test here as to whether Obama can inspire them to dig deep. So far it’s a test he appears to be failing as well.