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What does Beto O & # 39; Rourke & # 39; s $ 38 million fund raising tell us?

In the three months between July 1 and September 30, Beto O & # 39; Rourke (D) raised $ 38.1 million for his challenge against Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (R). That is an absolutely stunning number for every candidate, but especially when you consider that O & # 39; Rourke a) is not personally rich and has not dumped millions of his own money in the race and b) he does not accept donations from political action committees. To put it in a certain context, Jeb (!) Bush raised $ 35.5 million during his entire 2016 presidential campaign.

In the immediate aftermath of O & # 39; Rourke's bombing of fundraising, there was a call – especially among the Democrats – to draw big conclusions about What It All Means.

"The lesson for Democrats from @ BetoORourke's massive fundraising number is that you do not have to compromise on corporate PAC and lobbyist money if you're conducting an inspiring, inclusive and authentic grassroots campaign," tweeted Dan Pfeiffer, a former communications director in the White House of Obama. "The money is there for the right candidate and campaign."
Caitlin Mitchell tweeted, the main mobilization officer of the Democratic National Committee: "This is what the building of a real relationship with your donors with a small dollar looks like: when they are bought, the possibilities are endless."

All these big and important conclusions about O & # 39; Rourke & # 39; s fundraising leave out an important fact: he does not really beat Cruz.

Cruz's lead in the polling average of Real Clear Politics is now 7 points. Cruz has never stood behind the poll of a match. And there has been no publicly released poll since early September that shows R & R closer than 5 points. Informed Democrats acknowledge that while in the summer O & # 39; Rourke closed between only a few figures of Cruz, this closure ended only late.

So. On the one hand we have a candidate in O & # 39; Rourke who is going to collect more money than any non-funded Senate candidate (or incumbent) in history. On the other hand, he is a decided underdog to really, you know, win.

The most obvious conclusion is that success of fundraising does not always at all. And that idea is not exactly new. All you have to do is look back at the Republican primary 2016 – where Trump spent the least of the candidates – as proof of that fact.

O & # 39; Rourke is a candidate for the Senate in a state that has had no democratic senator since the beginning of the nineties since Lloyd Bentsen. In a state in which every official chosen throughout the state is a Republican. In a state where no Democrat has won a state-wide race since 1994. In a state where Jimmy Carter is the last Democratic presidential candidate to win.

None of that changes the remarkable performance of raising $ 38 million over a three-month period. But it is a damper to the idea that O & # 39; Rourke is the future of the Democratic Party. Usually Senate candidates lose – and that is what, at least from today, Rourke looks like – not like the future face & # 39; of a party. (For more information about the R & B Rourke-bang – and the resulting fatigue – make sure to read this from Politico's Jack Shafer.)

Although a loss of O & # 39; Rourke – even a very well funded – bad news for the story of O & # 39; Rourke as the next Barack Obama, it would not be without lessons for the Democrats.

The great thing is that an attractive and charismatic candidate can generate a lot of excitement and money from the base. The second lesson is that a candidate with a message that resonates with people, not only in his or her state, but also outside of it, can earn a lot of money. Third, authenticity – or at least the appearance of authenticity – is important. The appeal of O & # 39; Rourke is rooted in the sense that he is just a normal guy who tries to be honest and candid about this country and his plans for it.

The things about all those lessons is that we already know them. Sympathetic candidates with messages that resonate and that are perceived as authentic by voters can generate a lot of money? No joke! The sun also rises in the east and goes down in the west! And the New England Patriots will probably win the AFC East this year!

Fundraising is important, but it does not win a race for you – especially in a state that is crazy about Republicans like Texas. And candidates who look good, communicate frankly and wonderfully, tend to create excitement for their candidacy. And that excitement creates fundraising dollars. A lot and a lot of fundraising dollars. But we already knew that.

O & # 39; Rourke & # 39; s fundraising is undoubtedly hugely impressive. it is perhaps not everything that is predictive or revealing of, well, much of anything.


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