Inside or outside the White House, Donald Trump keeps making history.
Political action committees for the former president, out of office for more than six months now, have posted more than $82 million in donations in the first half of the year, Politico reported this weekend.
And heading into the midterms next year, that has to make Democrats very uncomfortable.
Between Trump’s Save America PAC and the Make America Great Again PAC, the 45th president has more than $100 million on hand to shape next year’s campaigns.
It’s an amount Politico called “virtually unprecedented.”
“Never in history has a former president banked nine figures’ worth of donations to power a political operation,” staff writers Alex Isenstadt and Meredith McGraw wrote.
Naturally, there was the usual nonsense about supporters being “whipped up” by “baseless” allegations of fraud in the 2020 election — as though Trump backers are such a benighted lot that they refuse to accept the word of CNN and The New York Times that President Joe Biden’s victory was unassailable. (The Democrats’ vampire-and-holy-water reaction to the Maricopa County, Arizona, election audit shows even they don’t believe that.)
But the reality is inescapable: Bans from social media, unrelenting attacks from political opponents (Democratic and Republican), and Emmanuel Goldstein treatment from the propaganda press haven’t dampened his appeal to a vast segment of the American public.
As Politico reported, Trump’s PACs have raised money “on a scale similar to the GOP’s official political arms, the Republican National Committee and the party’s House and Senate campaign committees.”
And that means Trump’s influence is likely to be a major factor in midterm elections that will determine the fate of the Biden presidency.
It doesn’t get nearly enough attention in the mainstream media, but the Democratic hold on power is fingernail thin. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s Democrats have 220 members to Republicans’ 212, meaning a swing of a half-dozen seats in 2022 will turn her back into a minority leader.
Current Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy was already confident in that happening back in February, before the poisoned fruits of the Biden presidency even started to show with a worsening crisis on the southern border, rising inflation and a never-ending series of embarrassing gaffes involving the man in the Oval Office.
In the Senate, there is, strictly speaking, no Democratic majority at all. With the body tied 50-50, the ever unpopular Vice President Kamala Harris holds the deciding vote. That gives Democrats power, but it will take only the slightest of shifts in 2022 to change that.
Under those circumstances, Trump’s $100 million can go a long way toward securing a Republican Congress. After Democrats won the House in 2018, they showed the country just how crippling a vindictive congressional majority can be. It’s not likely Republicans will be any more conciliatory.
(Though, truthfully, it’s hard to picture McCarthy being as spitefully childish as Pelosi when it comes to ripping up a State of the Union address, but anything’s possible.)
And even before the midterms themselves, there are the primaries, where Trump will have a chance to put his stamp on Republican candidates. His backing doesn’t make victory guaranteed, as last week’s special election in the 6th Congressional District showed, but not even Trump fans could reasonably argue with that outcome.
When the choices come down to a Trump-endorsed candidate versus a candidate endorsed by the likes of Rep. Dan Crenshaw of Texas, it’s fair to say conservatives have already won.
The 2022 midterms aren’t going to be that kind of choice, of course. They’re going to be a chance for Americans to decide whether to follow the Biden administration ever further into its Mad Hatter hole, or start the course correction now to keep things from going too far to recover from.
Knowing the mood of the country, and knowing Donald Trump is still out there with a $100 million war chest (so far), has to make Democrats very uncomfortable about their chances.