Should Democratic candidates refuse to take corporate money?
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Should Democratic candidates refuse to take corporate money?

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Ted Cruz's Democratic challenger, Beto O'Rourke, raised $6.7 million in the first 3 months of 2018 with zero help from PACs or special interests. Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Elizabeth Warren have also rejected corporate donations, arguing it's necessary if Democrats are serious about campaign finance reform. But others argue Democrats will never be able to win elections without money, and while the system is broken, putting the party at a disadvantage won't solve anything. What do you think?

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#SayNoToPACs
77.3%
#WinByAnyMeans
22.7%

Texas Democrat Beto O'Rourke raised an astounding $6.7 million in the first quarter of 2018, more than any Democratic Senate candidate nationwide. O'Rourke has taken pride in the fact that his donations have all been grassroots, as he's refused to take money from Super PACs and special interest groups. 

O'Rourke isn't the only Democrat to reject corporate money. Many 2020 prospects including Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Elizabeth Warren have all pledged to reject corporate PAC donations, arguing Democrats must set an example if they're serious about campaign finance reform.

Democratic senators from solidly blue states are seizing the opportunity to take the moral high ground when it comes to campaign contributions and call for campaign finance reform. But vulnerable Democrats fighting to keep their Senate seats in states President Donald Trump won in 2016, such as Florida, Indiana, Missouri, Montana and Wisconsin, could fall under pressure to join their colleagues.

Hillary Clinton was criticized during the 2016 campaign for accepting money from Super PACs, but she argued Democrats cannot afford to "unilaterally disarm" themselves in the face of dark money pouring into Republican campaigns. Of course Democrats want to get money out of politics, but how can they do that if they don't win elections in the first place?

The [Clinton] campaign argues it “cannot afford to unilaterally disarm” and quit the big-money game. That, they say, is because powerful conservative interests, most notably the secretive outfits backed by billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch, plan to support the Republican presidential nominee with hundreds of millions of dollars. Trump, himself a billionaire, is using his own wealth as campaign fuel.

The news about Beto O'Rourke's success is exciting, but it's also far from the norm. Democrats have had serious difficulty fundraising since the 2016 election, and things don't appear to have turned around yet. 

The Democratic National Committee has a fundraising problem. In July, the DNC raised $3.8 million, lagging far behind its Republican counterpart, which raised $10.2 million in the same month. This is the worst haul for any month since January 2009, when Barack Obama was first inaugurated. Overall, during the first half of 2017, the RNC has pummeled the DNC, raising $75.4 million to the Democrats’ $38.2 million.

Refusing to accept PAC money is Democrats volunteering to lose elections. When the party is being outraised and outspent at outstanding levels, it should be willing to accept help from wherever it can, even if that means accepting corporate donations.

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