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U.S. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas claps before speaking at the NRA-ILA Leadership Forum at the George R. Brown Convention Center, the site for the National Rifle Association's annual meeting in Houston, Texas May 3, 2013. REUTERS/Adrees Latif
Sen. Ted Cruz was supposed to help Republicans with grassroots outreach and fundraising. Instead, he's further agitated teabaggers against the GOP.
The Senate's tea party contingent, led by Sens. Ted Cruz and Mike Lee, haven't just made a mess of governing. Turns out, they're helping kill their party's fundraising.

A little backstory—Democrats have built fundraising advantages this year by building a grassroots army of small-dollar donors. For example, the DCCC's 1st quarter haul this year was a record for any first quarter, all thanks to small dollar donors. In that quarter, House Democrats raised $8.2 million from small donors, while their Republican counterparts in the House raised just $2.5 million. In short, Republicans are relying increasingly on their billionaire sugar daddies like Sheldon Adelson, while Democrats are increasingly focused on people like you. That certainly bodes well for the future of our party.

So anyway, Democrats are busy building its grassroots fundraising base, which should in time force the party to be more responsive to its donors—i.e. us. Republicans? They're dealing with headlines like:

GOP fears fundraising disaster
Head below the fold for the juicy details.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee has pulled in $21.7 million this year, nearly $5 million less than what it had in 2009 when Senate Republicans had an even smaller minority and faced a much tougher climb back to the majority.
Add inflation to the equation, and the disparity is even bigger.
The NRSC isn’t the only GOP group in town having fundraising woes — the Karl Rove-founded American Crossroads has just $2 million to spend and the recently started America Rising took in just $22,000 at the end of June from its for-profit arm.
Ouch. Rove's people argue the numbers will rise considerably by Election Day, but his brand took a serious hit last year, and those billionaire sugar daddies didn't get to where they are today by throwing good money after bad.
Another Republican who was named an NRSC vice chairman, Ted Cruz of Texas, has spent more time creating tea party problems for the Senate GOP than helping with his designated task of grass-roots outreach [...]
Cruz has actively depressed fundraising for his party. I forgot that he was an NRSC vice chairman, which makes it all more hilarious. Their efforts to co-opt him have failed dramatically, as he gives succor to conservatives screaming about their party's "sellout".
Indeed, in recent weeks, Senate Republicans have taken steps to alleviate some of those concerns. Moran is stepping up his one-on-one schmoozing sessions with big donors and raising his profile in the donor community. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s wife, Elaine Chao, has emerged as a key fundraising asset, urging donors to max out early to the Kentucky Republican’s campaign and the party committee in this cycle. Taking matters into their own hands, McConnell and Cornyn escaped to Las Vegas over the August recess for a high-dollar fundraiser with Sheldon Adelson and other top casino moguls.
Billionaires, billionaires, and more billionaires. If you can max out, the GOP loves you. If you're the kind of small-dollar donor that can chip in $25? Not so much.

Now as I noted in the aftermath of the Colorado recalls, money isn't everything. But there is a price of admission, and if Republicans want to expand the Senate map they'll need money to do so. If Republicans want to offer a broad defense of their House majority, they'll need money to do so.

But aside from the efficacy of money in 2014, fact is that the two parties have taken drastically different approaches to fundraising. Republicans are clinging to a failing big-donor model, feting a handful of rich assholes to fund their operations. Democrats are looking to the grassroots instead.

Given the energy within the tea party movement, there was a huge potential fundraising base for the GOP to draw on. But rather than support the conservative party, the teabaggers went to war against it, proving yet again that the teahadists might be the best electoral allies the Democrats have ever had.

Originally posted to kos on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 12:02 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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