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The power of rage-based fundraising

Trump for Josh Kraushaar Axios Article
Thought Leader: Josh Kraushaar
July 9, 2023
Written by: Josh Kraushaar

It pays — literally — to channel voter anger against one’s opposition more than it does to draw support to one’s own campaign message, based on an early tally of top fundraisers last quarter.

Why it matters: The roster of top political fundraisers capitalized on caricaturing the opposition as uniquely evil to raise gobs of money for their campaigns.

Driving the news: Trump raised a healthy $35 million through his two campaign committees in the second quarter — about double the amount he raised in the first three months of the year.

Zoom in: Trump isn’t the only politician capitalizing on voter rage. Schiff, a top Trump antagonist, raised a whopping $8.1 million for a race in which he faces no credible competition from Republicans.

Between the lines: Even candidates who aren’t in Congress proved the power of a polarizing opponent as a fundraising magnet. Democratic businessman Adam Frisch, who nearly defeated Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) last year, raised over $2.6 million.

Reality check: Eye-popping fundraising totals matter, but not as much as crafting a winning message.

The bottom line: Negative polarization — the intense dislike of the political opposition — is driving politics to the point in which we forget what our favored candidates even stand for.

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