With the first fundraising deadline of the 2020 cycle rapidly approaching (midnight on Sunday, March 31st, for those who have not been bombarded with calls and emails yet), I wanted to take a moment to stress why giving now is smart money.
First, there’s a reason why EMILY’s List has the best acronym in politics — early money IS like yeast (it makes the dough rise). In our current, terrible campaign finance system, fundraising is one of the only ways to show viability and money begets money.
Second, early communications and organizing set the tone and lay the groundwork for the race. Every candidate wants to be out there communicating with voters early on, defining their own message and setting the policy agenda. Early communications can be more positive in tone, focused on issues, and — bonus points! — are much more cost-effective than during a crowded fall campaign season.
Finally, money helps scare off challengers. This has been shown time and time again but we have great examples to point to in 2018: Sens. Tammy Baldwin, Sherrod Brown, and Debbie Stabenow all raised significant war chests and did not face top tier challengers. This cycle, we need to shore up House and Senate incumbents (see more below) early on to take those races off the map and focus on offense.
So while things at the presidential level are very much in flux, concentrate on the incumbents who need those early dollars. It’s not as sexy as flipping a seat in the final weeks but it’s easier and cheaper in the long run.