If fundraising figures are any indication, it’s going to be a bad election year for the GOP. Currently, Hillary Clinton tops the list with just under $33 million. In second place: Bernie Sanders, who has raised over $26 million, primarily from small donors giving an average of $30 each.
On the other side of the aisle, Ben Carson is leading the pack – but he has raised only about 2/3rds of what Clinton has been able to garner. In fact, according to the most recent filings with the Federal Elections Commission, Clinton’s current war chest exceeds those of Carson, Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio combined.
There are two interrelated dynamics at work here. One of them is the message, about which Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton are abundantly clear: the billionaire class can no longer have it all at the expense of the rest of us. Both Hillary and Bernie stand for Progressive causes, though they are in disagreement on how to carry out a Progressive agenda. Significantly, Sanders, advocating a more socialist approach similar to the democracies of Western Europe, has a bigger donor base than Clinton, despite having raised less money. Clinton’s Progressive agenda remains within the confines of the current system, which she believes can be rehabilitated. She recently made a statement recalling something historians have attributed to Franklin D. Roosevelt, saying, “We need to save capitalism from itself.”
The other has to do with the overarching economic issues that are front and center of this election cycle. In a way, the tightening race between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton is a microcosm of the election as a whole. GOP candidates have given lip services to issues such as income inequality and the right to health care and an education. However, their solutions are largely based on the same tired, old “trick-down” policies that have been dragging the nation down for over a generation.
Increasingly, the electorate is no longer buying it. While it’s true that GOP donors have far deeper pockets, and that out of the 158 billionaire families who spend the most trying to buy elections, all but 20 give to Republican candidates. But it’s not doing the Republicans much good, this time around. As has been pointed out repeatedly in recent years, there are far more of the 98% than there are the 2% – and the former has had enough of being pushed around, dictated to and ripped off by the latter. Thanks in large part to the World Wide Web, the ready availability of vast stores of information and the Progressive web-based media, eyes are being opened across the country – and the world.
Bernie Sanders has called for a “political revolution.” It appears that the revolution, in one form or another, has arrived. Whether it will begin with a major overhaul of the system as espoused by Bernie Sanders or the incremental change advocated by Hillary Clinton, remains to be seen. One thing is certain, however: as Randi Rhodes predicted long ago, the Republicans finally appear to have overreached themselves. The revolution, fast or slow, is leaving them behind in the dust on the wrong side of history.