It was a blowout fundraising quarter for the Trump campaign, with voters opening up their wallets to support the embattled incumbent president in the midst of impeachment proceedings playing out in the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives. Trump was already smashing records on this front, but Q4 was one for the books. Of this massive haul, more than $8 million came from online donors on just two individual days -- the first, when Congress' lower chamber voted to formally initiate an impeachment process, and the second, when House Democrats passed two articles of impeachment:
The President's reelection campaign raised $46 million in the final quarter of 2019, the campaign announced Thursday, noting in a statement that the haul represents "the best fundraising quarter for the campaign in the 2020 election cycle." Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale attributed the numbers to the ongoing impeachment developments over the last three months, calling the campaign "an unstoppable juggernaut." The campaign has argued that the President's impeachment has emboldened his supporters and bolstered their campaign contributions...The campaign has $102.7 million cash on hand, the most of any 2020 candidate. Trump has a strong incumbent advantage in comparison to the wide 2020 Democratic field.
There's just no question that impeachment was a strong motivating factor for many donors. And according to CBS News, the president's re-election team fully agrees:
The Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee have said the impeachment inquiry launched by House Democrats has been a boon to his reelection efforts. The party brought in $20.6 million in November alone, making it the most successful November in its history, according to Fox News. Additionally, on the day the House approved two articles of impeachment against the president, the Trump campaign brought in more than $5 million, Parscale said. In the third quarter of 2019, the Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee brought in a combined $125 million.
I've made my views on the president's conduct quite clear, and I believe that additional reporting helps build the circumstantial case that his abuses likely entailed an effort to withhold Congressionally-approved military aid to Ukraine until certain favors were done. I also think that Nancy Pelosi's "impeach and withhold" gambit is foolish and unserious, and will exert no "leverage" on Mitch McConnell, who is perfectly content to keep pursuing other priorities. It's also unreasonable for Democrats to attempt to control the rule and process in both the House and Senate, only one of which they control, just as it's ridiculous to demand that Senate Republicans call witnesses that House Democrats couldn't be bothered to even subpoena (or fight to enforce subpoenas), in their haste to check the impeachment box before Christmas. Hence the current "stalemate."
Whom does all of this benefit? Despite the fundraising bravado quoted above, I don't think either party wants the impeachment X-factor hanging over 2020 for much longer. And as Ed Morrissey points out, it looks as though the public has been...unmoved by the whole spectacle (via FiveThirtyEight):
I'm not sure you can even call that a trajectory. "That’s as good a flat-line as you’ll see outside of an emergency room EKG," Ed quips. Opinions have been baked in for months, despite some minor dips and surges along the way (including a drop among Democrats just before impeachment articles were adopted). I'll leave you with a few fundraising numbers from 2020 Democratic campaigns:
Sanders' campaign said he raised $34.5 million, an increase of more than $9 million over his third-quarter haul and nearly double what he raised during the second quarter of last year. The Vermont senator's total for the last three months of 2019 was higher than any that for other Democratic presidential candidate in a fundraising quarter in this election. His campaign will report that the $34.5 million came from 1.8 million individual donations, with half of it raised in December alone. The average donation was $18.53...Meanwhile, Yang's campaign said Thursday that he raised more than $16.5 million during the 4th quarter, topping his previous best of $10 million in the third quarter. The campaign said its highest single-day haul came on Tuesday, with donors contributing more than $1.3 million....The campaign for Pete Buttigieg said Wednesday that it brought in $24.7 million in donations in the last quarter of 2019, just missing his high mark of $24.8 million during the second quarter of the year.
Bernie is head and shoulders above the rest of the field on this measure, with several campaigns withholding their finalized data for now (they have a month to file public reports) -- perhaps to delay sharing underwhelming news.
UPDATE - This is really something:
RCP's impeach/remove polling average is...an exact tie, down to the decimal point: pic.twitter.com/aI0ZjwqzuA— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) January 2, 2020