This year’s decline in giving to the two major parties is earlier and steeper than in similar periods and suggests that something more than “donor fatigue” is at work. Contributions to the parties usually drop in odd-numbered years after presidential or midterm congressional elections.
Both the Democratic and Republican parties are experiencing a unique form of financial comeuppance, as the economic recession they were in charge of preventing—that has now caused a 8.4 percent national unemployment rate—is causing a dramatic drop in the level of political party donations.
The Washington Post:
In the wake of a recession, months of falling stock markets and a marathon campaign that endlessly taxed donors, political party committees find themselves racked by declining revenue and mounting debt.
Democrats have seen a dropoff in contributions from the frenetic small-dollar online donors who fueled President Obama’s campaign, while Republicans have seen a dramatic decline in activity from the kind of big-ticket donors who were loyal contributors to the Bush White House and its pro-business agenda. Combined donations from individuals to the six major party campaign committees have fallen by more than 26 percent from a similar period two years ago, according to filings with the Federal Election Commission.
Strategists cautioned that the dropoff may be only a temporary fundraising hiccup caused by “donor fatigue,” but they worry that if the economy does not recover by early next year, their budgets for the 2010 campaign may have to be slashed.