By J Robert Smith
- Nov. 21, 2023
- 2-min read
Pennsylvania just had off-year elections. They weren’t for high-profile offices. That made them un-sexy. But the results of those contests offer clear warning shots for Trump and Republicans in 2024.
A state supreme court seat was filled along slews of lesser judgeships. County offices and school boards in some places were filled, too.
The Democrats did well, too well. Much of that is attributable to “dark money.” That’s money from sources where the donors are generally anonymous. Dark money involves a lot of big dollar contributors (as in multimillionaires and billionaires) giving huge chunks of cash to national groups who, in turn, target contests in states. The money is used not only to boost Democrat – most often “progressive” – candidates, but to run negative campaigns against Republicans.
This November in Pennsylvania, dark money made significant differences in contests that most voters pay scant attention to. Yet, the mostly local offices targeted serve as building blocks for bigger offices. They’re foundational, so critical in their ways.
If Trump and Republicans aren’t fretting now about what dark money means in statewide and larger district races in 2024 (legislative, governorships, attorneys general, secretaries of state, state treasurers, Congress, and last but hardly least, the presidency), they better start fretting and figuring out ways to raise money to counter this onslaught of rich progressives across the country … accomplished people who don’t hesitate to stroke big checks that are funneled through progressive groups to win elections.
To that end, it’s best to read Matthew Brouillette’s article at Real Clear Wire, Democrat’s National Dark Money Machine Dominates PA Elections.
Even if you don’t live in PA or give much of a damn about what happens there, what is happening there is happening – or will happen – in your state.
Here’s one pull from Brouillette’s piece that sums up the danger. In the statewide contest for a seat on the PA Supreme Court:
The media howls about outside money or individual Pennsylvanians engaging on behalf of Republicans but largely turns a blind eye to special interests bankrolling Democrats. With final spending reports still coming in, nearly 95% of McCaffery’s [pro-abortion Democrat nominee] funding came from unions, trial lawyers, other special interests, and dark-money groups.
Dark money, along with tactics (put charitably) to identify and harvest ballots, made the difference in battleground states in 2020. Trump lost those states – including Pennsylvania – by razor thin margins.
History can repeat itself if Trump and Republicans fail to fully appreciate the dark money threat and put in place strong countermeasures today.