While the Democrats were still nursing their wounds following a crushing defeat in the special election for Georgia’s 6th Congressional District Tuesday, they were nailed with additional bad news: This May was the Democratic National Committee’s worst May of fundraising since 2003.
The DNC raised $4.29 million in May of this year, according to data recently released by the Federal Election Commission. It is the weakest take for national Democrats since May of 2003, when the party raised a paltry $2.7 million.
The May numbers continue a streak of poor fundraising for the floundering DNC. Under new DNC Chairman Tom Perez’s leadership, the committee accrued $438,000 less in May than in the month of April. The posting for April 2017 proved to be the lowest April amount raised since 2009.
When NBC reporter Hallie Jackson confronted Perez earlier in June over the poor April fundraising showing, Perez suggested things would get better.
“The DNC, you’ve talked about doubling the budget from $50 million and $100 million this year, but the DNC had its worst fundraising in April since 2009, it just posted. Where is the extra $50 million going to come from?” Jackson asked Perez on MSNBC.
Perez responded, “Well again, I got there on March 1. And so, I was the first to say, we have a lot of rebuilding to do.”
When Jackson noted that Perez seemed to be saying “give it some time,” the DNC chair readily agreed.
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It’s no secret that the Democratic Party has struggled to rally around a cohesive message following its 2016 election losses in the White House, the Senate, and the House.
Democrat Jon Ossoff’s loss to Republican Karen Handel in the most expensive House race in U.S. history was particularly crushing for the party.
“Well, the Special Elections are over and those that want to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN are 5 and O! All the Fake News, all the money spent = 0,” Trump tweeted Wednesday. “Democrats would do much better as a party if they got together with Republicans on Healthcare, Tax Cuts, Security. Obstruction doesn’t work!”
Even frequent Trump critic and MSNBC “Morning Joe” co-host Mika Brzezinski lamented Democrats’ lack of a message and direction on Wednesday.
“Here’s what I said to one of my best friends that took part in the Women’s March, and it’s to your point,” Brzezinski said. “They’re great, but you’re shouting in the street, you’re chanting, you’re singing with people who agree with you.”
“And we’re seeing the same problem that we’ve seen all along, the same problem we saw when we had the second in command of the DNC on the show who just seemed to be going off and spouting, ‘Come on, men, we’re going to be good, we’re good,'” Brzezinski added. “No! What’s the message? What is going to bring people in?”
Brzezinski added that the mistake she believes Democrats make is to place too much value on Trump’s low approval numbers, saying, “‘There are some obvious problems with the Republican Party and his presidency. Of course people are going to come to us.’ No. This is a farce, we have to go for it. That’s what Democrats need to say to themselves.”
Brzezinski’s co-host, Joe Scarborough, noted, “This should be a wake-up call for the Democratic Party, who has [sic] been doing nothing but losing since 2010 in these legislative races.”
“I heard last night Ossoff say, ‘We’ve started something great.’ No, you lost,” Scarborough added. “At some point, the time for moral victories is over. Sometimes winning is just about winning.”
Some Democrats have recognized the messaging problem looming over the party’s future prospects in the 2018 midterm elections and the 2020 presidential election. Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) said the lesson Democrats must learn following the 2016 losses and Ossoff’s defeat is that the Party must “be hyper-focused on an economic message that tells people that the Republican Party is all about economic growth for millionaires and billionaires, and the Democratic Party is about economic growth for everybody.”
“The fact that we have spent so much time talking about Russia, you know, has been a distraction from what should be the clear contrast between Democrats and the Trump agenda, which is on economics,” Murphy said on MSNBC, noting that he makes a habit of riding on the bus in Connecticut and speaking with average voters.
“I have to say, they are never talking about issues like Russia,” Murphy said. “They are not talking, frankly, about what’s on cable news at night … They are talking about the same things. Wages. They’re talking about education.”
“They’re talking about public safety,” Murphy added. “And so, I think Democrats have to be hyper-focused on an economic contrast.”