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Dems Continue Attacking Shady GOP Campaign Contributions

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This post first appeared on the Washington Monthly.

For a couple of weeks, a wide variety of pundits have said Democrats are making a mistake focusing on undisclosed contributions fueling Republicans in the midterms. Much of the political establishment has concluded that of all the issues on voters' minds, no one really cares about secret, possibly foreign, campaign donations.

There's been at least some evidence to suggest the pundits are wrong, and more evidence continues to arrive. Take the latest NBC News/ Wall Street Journal poll, for example.

So how has the White House/Democratic campaign against the GOP-leaning outside groups that have been spending so much on TV ads this midterm cycle fared? Per our poll, 74% say it's a concern that outside groups have their own agenda and care only about electing or defeating candidates based on their own issues; 72% say it's a concern that these groups don't have to disclose who's contributing to them; 71% say it's a concern that the candidates who are helped by these groups could be beholden to their interests; and 68% say they're concerned these groups are funded by unions or large corporations.

The poll noted, of course, that the "overall dynamics" of the cycle haven't necessarily changed as a result of these concerns, at least not yet, but the results nevertheless show that voters do care.

Indeed, the same poll asked whether respondents believe the parties are more interested in the concerns of average Americans or the needs of large corporations. At this point, Dems have benefitted, as more of the public perceives them as being on the side of the public, while a large majority believe Republicans are beholden to big business.

Greg Sargent, who's been following this as closely (and as well) as anyone in media, added:

Again: No one ever expected this attack line to produce an immediate and dramatic turnaround in Dem fortunes. And it very well may be that the above shifts in public attitudes aren't enough to substantially limit Dem losses in an environment where the economy trumps all.

But every little bit helps, and it's very clear that the Dem attacks on secret money are resonating to some degree.

What's more, it's certainly resonating with Democratic donors -- as far-right entities collect secret cash hand over fist, rank-and-file Dems are grabbing their checkbooks to help their party compete in the campaign's final weeks.

I suspect most pundits will continue to scoff, but there's every reason to believe this offensive against undisclosed contributions fueling the GOP has been entirely worthwhile.