The GOP is the party of business and financial investments. This prowess might just translate into deciding to forego a risky investment, the 2012 presidential election. The fractured Republican field together with Obama’s fundraising freight train may lead Republican donors to simply raise the white flag and wait it out till 2016.
The Republican money pie is getting cut too thin. The lack of one, two, or even three GOP consensus candidates will prevent the party from establishing a united front. Going up against a cash rich Democratic candidate who excels at the campaign game requires bundled resources early on. The recent fundraising numbers for all Republican candidates are anemic. All together the Republican candidates raised less than the projected $60 million the President raised this quarter.
There is a power vacuum in the GOP field. There are a number of candidates with different distinguishable characteristics, but no superstar. Mitt Romney is the closest thing to a front-runner but this is because of his name recognition and organizational head start. Romney may be in the lead, but in a Tea Party strong GOP his more conservative counterparts will close the lead.
In primary elections candidates (Republicans and Democrats) run to the extremes to court the base. With the momentum of the Tea Party, the Republican candidate will be more extreme than in previous elections. General elections are won by capturing Independent voters. Base Republicans and Democrats will turn out for their respective teams. The real thrill and skill of winning an election is in wooing fence sitters and partisan leaners.
The Tea Party may be phenomenal at rallying the base, but they will not win crossover voters. On the flip side, Democrats will be able to capitalize on the nomination of a far right candidate to mobilize the Democratic base. Whether with Perry, Bachmann, Cain, etc. Republican donors will refrain from pouring money into campaigns that may make it out of the primary but will sputter in the general.
Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman are the strongest candidates in a match-up with President Obama in the general election. However, neither will be able to make it out of the primary election. Romney is dogged by his healthcare past and Huntsman is too socially liberal. Republican donors know this and they will hesitate to throw away their money.
The second quarter fundraising figures for the Republican field underscore Republican donor hesitancy. Among the conservative Republican cohort, there was no monetary show of enthusiasm. Even Romney’s first place among fellow GOP contenders is disheartening rather than inspirational – he’s number one and this is what he can come up with? The expansion of the Republican presidential field with a potential Rick Perry and/or Sarah Palin candidacy will only further divide the money pie and strengthen President Obama’s campaign.
President Obama is projected to raise one billion dollars for the 2012 election. Republicans may just cut their losses and raise the white flag. Their strongest candidates will not make it out of the primary. The candidate that does make it out will be too extreme and position the party for an embarrassing loss in the general. The idea of developing the Republican farm team and focusing on Congressional and local races may not look so bad as the 2012 election nears