Bad Moon Rising for John McCain


I hear hurricanes ablowing. I know the end is coming soon.

Faced with the second straight quarter of poor fundraising — McCain’s $11.2 million pales in comparison to the $32.5 million of Obama and $27 million of Clinton, and is actually a decrease from his total last quarter — McCain’s campaign laid off at least 50 people and is asking senior staffers to take pay cuts or work without pay. The campaign had promised that the second quarter would be better the first.

The staff cuts are the second of the short campaign season. “At one point, we believed that we would raise over $100 million during this calendar year, and we constructed a campaign that was based on that assumption,” said McCain’s national campaign manager, who is planning to work for several months without wages. “We believe today that that assumption is not correct.”

Uh, yeah. McCain was so confident earlier this year that he actually spent more on staff than any of his Republican rivals. He was, in effect, trying to play the role of George W. Bush in the 2000 primaries: the cash-flushed frontrunner. Now he’ll have to return to the campaign he ran in 2000: the outsider, the underfunded uphill battler. It’s ironic that he’ll return to the style that he used against Bush when it’s likely an embrace of Bush’s two top priorities, the Iraq War and comprehensive immigration reform, that are killing McCain with Republican donors in the first place.

And one last note. McCain’s campaign has only $2 million left in the bank, which, according to Newsweek, makes it the most financially irresponsible of any in either the Democratic or Republican fields.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

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We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

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Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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