Insiders Convinced Outside Money Will Help GOP in 2012
National Journal Political Insiders overwhelmingly agreed that Republicans stand to gain from outside money in this election cycle. What's more, Democrats were even more certain of the GOP's dominance in the outside money game than Republicans themselves. Fully 97 percent of Democratic Insiders said Republicans would reap the rewards of PAC and super PAC spending, compared to the 81 percent of Republicans who said their party would benefit.
Who will benefit more from the influence of outside-money groupsduring this election cycle, Republicans or Democrats?
"This one isn't even close--very scary for the Democrats," one Democratic Insider said.
"Deeper pockets. More highly motivated donors. A better message agenda to support. Game. Set. Match," a Republican insider explained. A second added, "Millionaire Democrats organized first and spent in 2008. Finally, the GOP millionaires are organized and fearful of a second Obama term."
Part of the problem, said Democratic insiders, has been the party's finicky embrace of special interest money.
"Hate to say it, but the Republicans have done a far better job on raising outside money, and with our hypocritical denunciations of 'special-interest money,' we have made it both harder and more politically problematic to raise it in amounts that we will need to be successful in the fall," a Democratic Insider said.
Another echoed the sentiment: "The White House's convoluted position for and against outside money and for and against super PACs has hindered our ability to compete and muddied any potential message advantage."
Many said that in the presidential election, outside groups spending on behalf of Republicans would neutralize the Obama campaign's fundraising advantage--in years prior, a formidable obstacle for a candidate challenging an incumbent president.
"This will be the great equalizer of 2012," a Republican insider said. "Any advantage Obama would've had in campaign fundraising will be more than negated by outside groups," a Democrat reiterated.
"Mark my words, this will be an $8 billion election, $4 billion of which will come from corporations and super PACs, and 80 percent of that money will go to the Republicans," another Democrat predicted. "That's why the presidential can go either way."
Many also predicted that outside money would be a game changer for the GOP in congressional elections. A big part of the equation is spending by big business, who have been irked with the Obama administration's policies and posturing. "When you piss off all business, you have to face the executioner," one Democratic insider said. Or as a GOP counterpart put it: "Big business is going to crush Obama."
A few Republican insiders, however, cautioned about underestimating the influence of unions, who they believed would be a formidable force in favor of Democrats this cycle.
"Unions are still the best organized and most deep-pocketed outside money group in politics, and they will more than even the odds for Obama and congressional Democrats this fall," one said.
"The media will breathlessly cover the Right's spending, but the unions, trial lawyers, and large donors will swamp the Right, again," yet another predicted.