I can’t say I’m all that surprised by the news that Barack Obama raised $23.5 million in funds during the first quarter. That fundraising success tracks with the energy at Obama’s events and excitement on the internet.
The fundraising results confirm for me that we really are entering a once-a-forty-year election year where anything can happen. As in 1968, we will see the Democratic Party fracture between progressive (Obama) and establisment (HRC) wings. An opportunity for John Edwards exists to step into the breech if the Obama-Clinton battling becomes too brutal.
On the Republican side, Romney business efficiency won the day. It’s bizarre to have such a disparity between funds raised and poll numbers. While I’m attracted to the analogy between Romney and previous GOP fundraising stars — duds in the actual election — Phil Gramm (above) and John Connolly, the former Massachusetts governor has to be applauded for this achievement. Unlike Gramm, Romney did not have a perch within the Senate from which to raise funds. He did it on the basis of his own individual networks. Romney’s strong performance, like that of Obama, reflects the appeal of an outsider candidate, a mantle Romney, who never served in Washington, can fill.
The relatively poor showings of Rudy Giuliani and John McCain (yikes) shows that the constituency for candidacies based on the “Global War on Terror” is on the wane. While this is the market’s rejection of Bushism, I nonetheless fear the consequences of this trend in the long term.