Running With The Big Dogs
There is much truth in the saying “If you can’t run with the big dogs, then stay on the porch”. Well, it would seem that Barack Obama has no problem with keeping up. In fact, he’s running neck and neck with the biggest in this election year’s pack. ABC News is reporting that the much talked about $23.5 million that the Obama campaign has generated in fact outweighs the $26 million reportedly raised by the Clinton campaign.
Sounds like funny math? Well, it’s actually more simple than that. Hillary’s campaign is only using about $20 million of that $26 million for primaries and caucuses. Of course, Hillary’s people are still trying to figure out exactly how much of the $26 million can be used for primaries and state that it could be slightly more or less than the reported $20 million. In either case, Barack has raised more money at this point in time.
Why point all of this out? Well, the mitigating factor here isn’t really money, it’s time. Hillary Clinton, first, by being the First Lady and second, by being a senator, has much more time in a national political office than Barack has, or will have by the time primary elections roll around. This means that Hillary knows the ropes, knows how to campaign on the national stage and has probably the best help a presidential candidate could hope for in Bill Clinton. So then, it’s easy to see why the fact that Barack has bested Clinton is shocking, to say the least, to those who follow politics. Many had resigned Obama to being the “new face” in the electoral crowd and nothing more. Newness, after all, wears off with time. However, Obama has showed something most experts and general watchers didn’t expect to see from him, and that’s staying power.
And for those who think that this is just some fluke, well, you may be wrong there to (in fact, I think you really are); Not only has Barack bested Hillary in general fund raising this quarter, but he’s garnered more online donations than Hillary has. This really doesn’t surprise me since Obama’s main claim to fame (at this point) is his attractiveness to those elusive and hard to please young voters. The main difference between Obama’s $23.5 million and Clinton’s $20 million is the number of people who donated to each campaign. Clinton sports a healthy 50,000-person donation list today while Obama’s list comes in at a huge 100,000.
These numbers also point to what is probably the main difference between Obama and Clinton as political adversaries: Clinton (by virtue of her relationship to Bill) is, and always will be, a political operator. This is to say that she is so well connected, all she has to do is show up and the rich and wealthy tend to run to her to give her money. Obama, on the other hand, is more of a common, everyday person-type candidate. It’s not that he has to beg for money; his $20 million attests to that; but he’s not as well-connected as Hillary is, which means he has to work harder for his donations. Anyone following his campaign knows he’s hitting the trail hard, and in strategic places, all of which seem to be producing the desired effects. The real test, as we all know, will come on primary day. It’s one thing to raise $20 million from 100,000 people. It’s another thing entirely to turn that $20 million into a win on election day.