Whoever Wants To Run Against Trump Is Going To Need To Make Lots Of Fundraising Calls…

…because we’re not even to the 2018 midterm elections, and the 2020 presidential cycle isn’t even on the horizon yet, and Donald Trump’s re-election campaign is already $88 million to the good.

He’s going to have lots of money, folks.

President Trump has raised more than $88 million for his re-election campaign over the last year and a half, giving him a dramatic head start on prospective Democratic challengers in the 2020 race.

Mr. Trump’s campaign committee, combined with two joint committees formed with the Republican Party, ended last month with nearly $53.6 million in the bank — almost $10 million more than their previous largest balance — according to finance reports filed Sunday evening with the Federal Election Commission.

The totals reflect a brisk and continued fund-raising effort by Mr. Trump’s campaign operation that, in a departure from usual presidential practice, started even before he took office. Most new presidents shift their political operations to their national party committee until launching their re-election campaign after the first midterm election of their tenure.

Mr. Trump’s campaign and the two joint committees — Trump Victory and Trump Make America Great Again — have continued spending aggressively to cultivate donors through both online list-building targeting small donors and fund-raising events for big donors.

What makes things harder for the Democrats desperate to knock Trump out of the White House in 2020 is they’re without anything remotely resembling a 2020 frontrunner. Kamala Harris, Andrew Cuomo, Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Cory Booker and Liz Warren hardly look like a top-tier primary field, and none of them particularly scream “fundraising superstar” to the naked eye. It’s also fairly obvious the Democrat Party is not at its peak fundraising potential, either – the Democratic National Committee is wallowing below $10 million in cash on hand and barely grossing $5 million per month while the Republican Party is having considerably better luck – having raised just under $15 million and holding more than $47 million on hand as of the last FEC filing.

Some of this can be explained simply by the power of incumbency – people who want favors from the government are going to pony up to the people who control it. More can be explained by the fact the economy is doing well, and that motivates people with money to contribute to continuing the direction things are moving in. And it’s also worth mentioning that the Democrats’ turn to the Hard Left is alienating some of their old-money donors.

But the key thing is Trump is an aggressive fundraiser – maybe more so than previous presidents. He was outspent 2 to 1 by Hillary Clinton in 2016 and he’s too much of a competitor to let that happen again. Running against him, if you’re Harris or Warren or even Hillary – who might actually attempt to crash the 2020 electoral party – means having to traverse a gauntlet like no candidate has ever seen.

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