Ben Smith of Politico.com reported yesterday that the Republican National Committee has a over six to one cash-on-hand advantage over the Democratic Natioanl Committee, despite Barack Obama's impressive showing of a record breaking $66 million raised in August for his own campaign.
According to Smith's reporting, the RNC has $110 million on hand, compared to $17.5 million for the Democratic National Committee.
So why does the RNC have this humongous money advantage while John McCain made the decision to accept the limits of public financing?
The disparity shows the Republicans' continued edge with the wealthy donors who can give in five-figure chunks.
So the Republican party is funded by the corporate bigwigs and the ultra rich. Contrary to the limit one can can contribute to a federal candidate ($2300 for the general election), fat cats can give up to $28,500 per person to a national party committee (i.e. the DNC, DSCC or DCCC). The same people who have made out like bandits because of the policies of the Republican party are now rewarding them to try to hang on to power. Anyone who still believes that the Republican in this election may remotely be the change candidate is high.
While the Republican National Committee continues to benefit from fat cat and lobbyist contributions, Barack Obama put his party where his mouth is:
Barack Obama does now, and will continue to have the money advantage in terms of candidate vs. candidate. And that's a good thing. The candidate can do everything the party can, but not vice versa:
The party money, though, is not worth as much as the campaigns' hard money, because it can't be spent as directly on the campaign, particularly when it comes to media. That was illustrated last month by RNC-funded ads that included confusing, digressive attacks on random Democratic senators, including Byron Dorgan, to fulfill campaign finance rules.
So, even though the Republican party has a huge cash advantage, it does not translate into as big an advantage on the campaign ads. So what are the Repubicans going to be using all this dough for? For ground operations.
Yes, there's going to be GOP get out the vote efforts. But I am thinking $110 million buys you more than GOTV and voter registration and paid staffers. It buys you ... it buys you this (no I'm not talking about buying the book). It buys you voter suppression. It buys you voter caging. It buys you mailers you can send to black soldiers' homes here in the US - soldiers who are deployed overseas and when the mailers come back, you challenge their votes. You can buy caging. That's what you can buy with $110 million. When you cannot win an election fair and square, $110 million will help you make sure the people who aren't likely to vote for you either don't get to vote at all or if they do get to vote, they don't get to have their vote counted.
So what can you do about it? Plenty, it turns out:
Sign up to get involved with Obama's voter protection program. This is especially for you if you are an attorney.
1-800-DEMVOTE. This is the official DNC Voter protection hotline. Memorize it. Give this to every Democratic voter. Let them know they have the law on their side.
Visit the DNC Voting Rights Institute and become informed.
Contact your local Democratic party and become a poll-watcher. Go in teams. Set up a phone tree. Use the cameras in your phone to take videos/pictures of any irregularities.
Bottom line, the Republicans are not going to have a candidate money advantage, but a party money advantage. And they can use that money not only to aide McCain but to hurt American voters. Let's make sure that does not happen.