Committees In The Coal Mine

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Democrats' wallets are thinner than usual as their congressional committees are experiencing underwhelming fundraising this year.

Polls have detected slippage for Democrats for the 2010 elections, but the drop in donations should be much more worrisome because donations come almost entirely from the party faithful and people hold cash more precious than what they say to pollsters. Money talks, and what's being said is that people are not satisfied with the party. This could be either the beginning of a liberal backlash against a party that still hasn't passed health-care reform (not to mention with a public option) or further regulated banks. If this isn't the beginning of a revolt, it may be a sign of the kind of ambivalence that would keep Democrats home on Election Day.

The Washington Post reported that the fundraising dip is double-sided: rank-and-file donors as well as corporate ones are not contributing heavily. If it's true that corporate donors have gotten tight-fisted because of anti-business rhetoric coming from Congress, Democrats will struggle to further knock their big money donors to pursue the kind of reforms that rank-and-file donors, voters, and activists want passed.

Such is governing. Republicans are out of power, freed of tough choices, and not coincidentally are closing the fundraising gap.

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Justin Miller was an associate editor at The Atlantic from 2009 to 2011. He is now the homepage editor at New York magazine. More

Justin Miller was a associate editor at The Atlantic. Previously he was an assistant editor at RealClearPolitics, a political reporter in Ohio, and a freelance journalist.
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