Every presidential election, there’s a new development that changes the nature of campaigns that one party, often the one out of power, takes advantage of. In 2008, it was the Obama team’s impressive use of social media to connect with new young voters and expand the electorate. In 2004, it was the Bush campaign’s savvy use of microtargeting technologies to identify narrow slices of the electorate, and get them to show up and vote Republican.
This year, it’s the Republicans’ adept and aggressive use of super PACs to even the financial playing field, blunting the often-massive money advantages that an incumbent president has at his disposal. With the emergence of American Crossroads, Crossroads GPS and Restore Our Future, a well-stocked Romney super PAC, the Obama fundraising juggernaut no longer looks so imposing. If Romney is the Republican nominee, he won’t be overwhelmed with a wave of negative advertising, and will have the resources to fight back.
Take a look at the end-of-year numbers. The Obama campaign ended the year with $81.8 million cash-on hand – a very
strong total. But the outside Democratic groups, especially the party’s
newly-created super PACs, haven’t given him much assistance in the way of reinforcements. The Democratic National Committee has $12.6 million cash-on-hand to assist. But Priorities USA banked a meager $1.5 million, receiving money from just 42 individual donors in the last six months. The party’s Congressional super PACs – Majority PAC and House Majority PAC — also didn’t bank much, $1.3 million and $1.17 million, respectively. National Journal