Obama’s 2008 small donors aren’t supporting the president as much this time around. Many blame unfulfilled promises and disillusionment. Others say that hard economic times keep them from giving.
According to a recent analysis by Ky Harlin on Buzzfeed, 87 percent of the people who had contributed $200 through April of 2008 had not contributed by the same date this election year.
Democrats, fired up by Obama’s 2008 promises to change how Washington works, just don’t feel the same energy this time around:
“Where’s the change I can believe in?” asked Lisa Pike, a 55-year-old from Williamsburg, Va. with a small medical transcription business who gave $658 in 2008. She said she is not planning on contributing this time around. “I wish he was the socialist they accused him of being. I wish we had the tons of change that would justify the right freaking out. I wish him well — I don’t dislike him personally — but I’m disappointed that he’s not the change-agent I had hoped for.”
Still, Katie Hogan, an Obama spokeswoman, reports that Obama’s campaign has received less than $200 from 98 percent of its donors, maintaining the unprecedented small-donor nature of his 2008 campaign. These donors may yet cross the $200 threshold.
Frustration over the the large flow of money unleashed by the Supreme Court Citizens United ruling means donors don’t think they have much of a voice in this election where billions will be spent on both sides.
“Citizens United now makes a farce of any puny amount I could give. Why would I waste my money to try to compete with the people who can throw half a billion at Newt Gingrich just in case?” Pike asks. “I will certainly vote for Obama, but that court decision has turned things on its head since 2008.”
Unfortunately for Americans lacking millions to spend on elections, as small-donors lose confidence in the current campaign finance system and donate less to both the Obama and Romney campaigns, the big-donor voices grow even louder.