Throughout the summer, our ‘Mitt Loves N.Y.’ series followed the money trails of New York’s wealthiest citizens, all of which ended in Romney’s campaign war chest. The donors we profiled donated a million or two each month since it was made clear around April that Mitt would be their man to defeat Obama in November.
My series solely concentrated on donors giving to the SuperPAC, Restore Our Future. If there is to be any historical document on the future that reflects upon the Citizen United decision’s impact on American democracy, Restore Our Future would be case study numero uno. The organization was pulling in absurd donation amounts almost weekly that blew other SuperPACs, like Crossroads GPS (Karl Rove) and Americans for Prosperity (Koch brothers), clear out of the financial water.
However, through a culmination of hurtful gaffes, citizenry-distancing and not-that-shitty economic numbers, Romney has found himself falling behind Obama on all fronts: poll numbers, economic approval ratings and, most importantly, SuperPAC money.
To which we can safely say: N.Y. no longer loves Mitt.
It went (and still goes) without saying that Mitt was and is the SuperPAC candidate. Any rational voter can find this out by simply taking a quick peak at financial disclosure documents. However, its influence is bipartisan: even though Obama opposes Citizens United, he still reaps the benefits of it with his version of Restore Our Future, Priorities U.S.A. But still, Mitt’s campaign relies on the money much more so than the President; one electoral necessity the Republican truly lacks is the force of grassroots donations – something Obama made a centerpiece of his election (and, now, re-election efforts) in 2008.
So this news hits the Massachusetts man right at home: for the second month in a row, Team Romney was raising less money ($66.1 million this month) than his opponent ($84.2 million, mind you). This was due in part by the inability of SuperPACs like Restore Our Future to continue to push big numbers in the face of voter and media backlash. And, as we know, this fundraising’s foundation lies in the enormous pockets of the One Percent. With this in mind, we see a pattern arising from the ashes: the wealthy are no longer happy with their frontman.
Over the past thirty days, Restore Our Future only had $6.3 million left in its bank account; for those who followed ‘Mitt Loves N.Y.,’ this number is laughable compared to what it was making in the early months of summer (for reference: the group is nearing the $100 million mark, in total amounts raised). The $6.3 million it raised was just below the $7 million that its rival, Priorities U.S.A. raised.
And the SuperPAC has a spending problem. Most of that $100 million has been blown on advertisements in battleground states, in which Obama is boasting wide margins, and it doesn’t seem like this trend will slow down anytime soon, especially with the debates coming up next week. In terms of money, the Romney campaign, after taking out a $20 million loan to make it through the general election, is worried for the future.
There’s several points that can be made here. The first is the mentality of the One Percent: from what we know of their extravagant lifestyles, it seems odd that they would suddenly shut off their money valves for the Republican candidate. Are they running out of money or are they tired of throwing money at a lost cause? With golden parachutes galore in mind, the former seems hard to believe.
Also, the way I threw those numbers around in this article says something about what Citizens United has done to the election process – it has desensitized us. I should be sweating and panicking when typing “raised only $6.3 million…”, not using it as a point to say they haven’t raised enough.
The final point, and this is surely the most important, is the projections we have placed on the SuperPACs.
It’s pretty much common sense now that Romney is in dire straits with the American voter – his ’47 percent’ comment still hasn’t left the national psyche, his tax return release came too late and, no matter the economic news, 50% of the country still approves of the job Obama is doing. No matter what Mitt does, his opponent seems to rise from the occasion, looking better than ever.
That says a lot about the SuperPACs. The scared declarations that democracy no longer exists under the swarm of corporate cash flow is met with the harsh reality that this money is not doing anything for Romney. Now, it’s to the point that he’s actually losing it all in the final days. Does this mean we were worried too much about the corporate influence in elections? Did we forget about how the basic mantra of an election, which is, you have to be liked to get elected?
I do not want to get sucked into the “Romneys toast” media narrative that has dominated the headlines the past few weeks. It’s senseless and gives talking heads too much power. We will have the answers to all these questions on November 7th. Just wait and then we’ll talk.