COMMENTARY | Despite the various other sideshows that will arise before Election Day, the main focus of the 2012 election will be the still-sagging economy.
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney outraised President Barack Obama by more than $17 million in May, according to the Washington Post, but is that a harbinger of his coming victory as Scott Walker's tightrope act was predicted by some to signal a crushing defeat for the Democrats? Or is it a sign Middle America still hasn't warmed up to Romney?
The former Massachusetts governor's fundraising success won't help the Obama administration rebuff attacks on its business and economic practices nor inspire belief in its ability to continue chipping away at the 8.2 percent unemployment rate. But concern that the results spell doom for President Obama's re-election is premature at best.
Though the president previously hung his hat on his uncanny fundraising abilities, he and other Democrats up for election are fully expecting to be outspent by their Republican counterparts due to the support of super PACs and other conservative groups who can supply them with limitless funds.
Romney has touted his time as a business executive as proof he possesses the economic knowledge that will turn around the country's fiscal woes, but his success in May does more to highlight the wealthy allies his former occupation have afforded him than to help classify him an economic savant. And it certainly won't win him more votes.
A significant percentage of Romney's May totals were donated by those who can no longer contribute to his campaign by federal law and he is still trailing President Obama's fundraising efforts by more than $30 million. Even more troubling is the fact only 15 percent of the $107 million he's compiled so far has come via donations of $200 or less. By contrast, 40 percent of President Obama's donations have come through small sum donations.
The smaller donations are indicative of a larger support base with average Americans, while the heavy donations fueling GOP campaigns reflect their resonance with the wealthier sectors of American society. May was a victory month for Romney in many regards, but it did little to combat the Obama administration's assertion that Romney is a businessman more in love with profits than people.
Romney hit a home run with the wealthy contributors who'll bankroll the campaign tours and attack ads, but he'll have to prove it wasn't a fluke and stop striking out with the less-privileged voters who will either pave his way to the Oval Office, or send him right back to Massachusetts.