Monday, April 27, 2015

The unintended consequences of Republican campaign funding

This, times three

It doesn't take a rocket surgeon to understand that the more money a candidate has access to, the longer he or she can stay in the race. So, for example, to do poorly in the Iowa or New Hampshire primaries has in the past been disastrous because it made it that much harder for presidential hopefuls to present themselves as worthy of financial support. 'Bye, 'bye.

But, as recently reported in The Washington Post, that may no longer be true.

“There could be as many as a dozen candidates that have a threshold amount of money in their campaigns and super PACs to compete vigorously in the early states,” said Phil Cox, a Republican strategist who runs America Leads, a super PAC supporting New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie that has the backing of at least two billionaires.

[. . .]

Never have so many candidates entered a White House contest boosted by such huge sums. The financial arms race could fuel a protracted primary season similar to the one in 2012 — exactly what party leaders were hoping to avoid.

If raising money is not the problem it used to be, at least for a number of candidates,  more of them will stick around hoping, perhaps, that the improbable happens. 

Though I doubt lower tier candidates like Cruz or Paul stand a chance, the longer A-listers have to fend off their attacks, the more damaged they will be, and the more likely they will be to say things that will not help them in the general election.

These could be the kinds of things that alienate moderate voters if they go too far to the right or that demotivate far right voters if they push back against extremist views.

In politics, as they say, if you're explaining, you're losing. Whoever the GOP nominee is, he will have had a lot of explaining to do.

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  • I think this is definitely a problem. But I suspect that it is especially the people like Cruz and Paul who are going to stick it out. The people who are not going to stick it out are those who are just trying to up their speaking fees and so on. The one exception there is probably Carly Fiorina, who really needs to become the losing VP candidate to get the kind of exposure she seeks.

    By Blogger Frank Moraes, at 6:39 PM  

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