Is fundraising the GOP’s major problem?

As we celebrate Valentine’s Day today, many are wondering of American voters can ever learn to love the Republican Party again.

Newsweek published an article this week entitled “To Win, The GOP Must Outsource Itself.”  The author theorizes that Democrats have defeated the GOP in party by privatizing fundraising.  Here are a few excerpts:

The Republican brand has virtually failed at the federal level and is falling like a rock at the state tier. How did this seismic shift come about? There were lots of contributing factors, one of which is that the party leadership has failed to show independent voters or their own base that they stand for something. But the most important factor was that Republicans have been completely out-organized by Democrats. And in what is surely the greatest irony of modern political history, they did it by stealing a chapter from the Republican policy playbook, the one called “privatization.”

Conservatives may advocate privatization for government, but Democrats put it into action in politics. All the key party functions have simply been outsourced. The big donors entrepreneurially moved their funding of key political functions outside the traditional party structure, building and paying for separate, private organizations that, taken together, do everything our old-fashioned political parties used to do—without having to get buy-in from political-party officials.

Colorado is a great case study. In just 10 years the state has switched from red to blue, with much of this shift happening since 2004. The Colorado State Senate is 60 percent Democrats, and the State House of Representatives is nearly 60 percent Democratic as well. The governor is a Democrat as are three other statewide constitutional officers. More than 70 percent of the representatives to the U.S. House are Democrats, and both U.S. senators are Democrats. No doubt some Colorado voters changed their views on politics over the past decade. But the real reason for the radical change is a brilliant political privatization plan by Colorado’s “Gang of Four.”

The group—Tim Gill, Rutt Bridges, Jared Polis and Pat Stryker—are wealthy Coloradans who support liberal politics. Fed up with that sense of unreturned affection that is common among donors who really care about policy, the Gang gave up on hoping for the best from their Democratic Party allies and instead funded every important political-party function outside the party, with private dollars.

Under the umbrella of the Colorado Democracy Alliance, the group built and funded an array of new, private organizations to handle the normal tasks of a political party. The Colorado branch of Progressive Majority recruits and trains candidates, Colorado Ethics Watch investigates, files complaints and even sues, Colorado Media Matters fights “conservative disinformation,” the Colorado Center on Law and Policy handles constitutional litigation, the Colorado Fiscal Policy Institute, Bell Policy Center and Big Horn Center provide messaging, research and policy agendas, Democracy for Colorado, New Era Colorado, Progress Now Colorado and other advocacy groups recruit, identify and activate the grassroots for pressure campaigns and get-out-the-vote efforts. How expensive is this effort? Donations are private so no one knows for sure, but this is easily a multimillion dollar project.

Click here to read the rest of this Newsweek article.


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"Admin" is just editors Vern Nelson, Greg Diamond, or Ryan Cantor sharing something that they mostly didn't write themselves, but think you should see. Before December 2010, "Admin" may have been former blog owner Art Pedroza.