The Republican Party’s on the hunt ahead of 2016 for younger voters — and younger megadonors.But if you think about it, this isn't a problem for the Republican Party—it's a problem for Republican grifter-consultants like Karl Rove and grifter-candidates like Newt Gingrich who bilk wealthy donors out of millions and deliver nothing but a steady stream of defeats in return. Without rich idiots giving them money to burn, their business model dries up—but even if they do find a new generation of financial backers, the GOP will still be stuck with the same problems it has today.
Conservative super PACs were dealt a blow in the past nine months, when two of their biggest benefactors died, Texas billionaires Harold Simmons and Bob Perry.
Combined, the two men, who were the second- and third-biggest donors behind the Adelsons in the 2012 elections, gave nearly $50 million last cycle — that’s more money than the next 10 Republican donors combined.
The void the two leave behind represents an even bigger problem for the Republican Party: just as it struggles to attract younger voters, it also must win over younger elite donors.
Consider the difference between Karl Rove's Crossroads and Priorities USA, the Democratic Super PAC that supported President Obama. Crossroads spend nearly $200 million, including more than $100 million for Mitt Romney, while Priorities spent $65 million. (And we're not even talking about Restore our Future, the Romney Super PAC that spent $142 million backing Romney's campaign.)
Despite their massive advantage in oversized donations from super-wealthy individuals, the Republican PACs were blown away by their Democratic rivals like Priorities, who were not only more efficient on the technical side (in terms of buying media), but also produced ads that had a much bigger impact on the race. Running on what was at the time a shoestring budget, Priorities managed to develop the Bain narrative about Romney, influencing the campaign in a way that neither Rove nor any other GOP super PAC came close to doing.
It's not that money isn't important. If Priorities hadn't gotten any funding it all, it wouldn't have been able to do what it did. But money is only one part of the equation. And when you consider the GOP's problems, not having enough money is far down on the list. But for the guys like Karl Rove who get rich by burning other people's cash, it's a big problem indeed.