In the race to become president, Obama's re-election campaign reported a personal best today as the campaign's fundraising total for June surpassed the highest monthly haul to date with $71 million. In politics, however, success is relative, and the Obama campaign is trailing Mitt Romney's fundraising by tens of millions of dollars. Mitt Romney's campaign reportedly raised $106 million in June.
While the Obama campaign will bluster about the rising power of super PACs, today's fundraising numbers having nothing to do with Citizens United or the plutocratic ambitions of the Koch brothers. Mitt Romney's superior numbers do not include the vast fundraising advantage he possesses from the billion dollar super PACs.
Obama's fundraising disadvantages stem from a decision he made during the 2008 campaign: to forgo the public campaign financing system.
In June of 2008, Barack Obama's campaign made a bold gamble that paid huge dividends--he became the first major presidential candidate to opt out of the public financing system to capitalize on his enormous popularity and momentum to out-fundraise the Republicans. Obama battered McCain's campaign, but in so doing, he established a precedent that would come to haunt Democrats. The fact is, Obama's "cool factor," George W Bush's calamitous presidency, and the walking disaster that was Sarah Palin, created an unbeatable fundraising advantage in the short-term. In the long-term, Republicans are richer than Democrats. Combined with Citizens United and the rise of unaccountable super PACs, Obama's short-term gamble has created a losing game for the Democratic Party.