Political action committees (PACs) and their “big brothers,” Super PACs, are valuable aspects of the American democratic process. From donating funds to political candidates to drawing attention to important pieces of legislation, PACs fulfill a wide range of functions in the political ecosystem, and over the years, they have evolved tremendously.
That growth has largely been fueled by presidential election years, so let’s dive into how presidential election cycles have consistently been a catalyst for PAC growth and why their evolution is a game-changer for political financing.
What’s the Connection?
PACs represent groups seeking to push certain policy agendas forward. New policies are hitting the airwaves all the time, though, so it may seem odd that presidential election years are any different.
In reality, there are a number of factors at play, such as:
- The Spotlight Effect
The average American is very busy. Most simply don’t have the time or bandwidth to keep up with every local, regional, state-level, and federal election. However, every four years, all eyes are on the race for the presidency.
When the public’s eye is more focused on political narratives, PACs seize the chance to expand, fundraise, and acquire supporters. Presidential election cycles are also a time when emotions run high, and many constituents seek avenues to support causes they believe in, which PACs provide.
With all of that said, should you be involved in managing or organizing a PAC, you must ensure that you capitalize on that window of opportunity, as you won’t have another one for the next four years.
- Fundraising Frenzy
Money and politics are inextricably linked. Incumbents and new candidates alike need capital to support their campaign efforts, run ads, and get the word out about important issues.
Fortunately, for both PACs and candidates, the presidential election cycle kicks off a fundraising frenzy, which is driven by these two factors:
- Donor Generosity: With the stakes so high, supporters tend to be more generous with their donations, giving PACs a bump.
- Multiple Players: New PACs often form based on election dynamics, further fueling the growth of the PAC ecosystem.
For PACs, the presidential election is akin to the Super Bowl and Olympics being rolled into one. It represents the best fundraising opportunity and is a major driver of PAC growth.
- Better Reach
During non-presidential election years, PACs may struggle to get their message out at scale. Post-election fatigue plays a major role in that, as voters are often bombarded with political messaging during the run-up to a presidential election.
However, in the months preceding a presidential election, PACs have the nation’s attention, forming that window of opportunity to share their message and tell their story, as mentioned above.
There are two ways through which PACs maximize their reach:
- Media Collaboration: PACs often collaborate with media outlets for ad spots, ensuring their message reaches as wide of an audience as possible
- Digital Marketing: PACs amplify their reach through influencer partnerships, video content, and targeted social media campaigns
Crafting a compelling narrative is essential to elevating a PAC’s presence and influence. As you work to refine your message, make sure its tone, content, and focus all align with issues that your primary audience is passionate about.
- The Ripple Effect
Even as the presidential election takes center stage, there are still plenty of local, state, and congressional elections going on as well, which matter just as much.
A strong presidential candidate can help candidates from their party thrive in smaller races, and PACs capitalize on that, extending their influence and support beyond the main event. Recognizing the significance of both state and national races, PACs carefully allocate resources to maximize their influence and impact.
- Long-Term Implications
PACs understand the long-term implications of each presidential election cycle. As such, they often go all-in to support their preferred candidate. PACs that successfully make their mark during high-stakes presidential election years set the stage for their policy agendas, and they also forge alliances with like-minded groups, influencers, and politicians, sowing the seed for future collaboration.
For presidential candidates, the election cycle is a sprint. They are pulling out all the stops to achieve victory for their constituents and push the nation in a positive direction. PACs, in contrast, certainly understand the sense of urgency surrounding presidential election cycles, but they treat it more like a relay race. While they want to succeed in each leg of the race, they also tee themselves up to thrive during the next election cycle.
How Your PAC Can Capitalize on the 2024 Presidential Election Cycle
With the 2024 presidential election cycle already underway, your PAC needs to start preparing now. Making the most of the window of opportunity requires robust tech tools and an abundance of high-quality data.
At Aristotle, we provide digital solutions to manage every part of your PAC. We also offer PAC consulting, compliance, and reporting services designed to help you maintain the integrity and efficacy of your committee.
Most of all, Aristotle is a leader in political data. Our core data includes a National Consumer File with over 250 million consumer records, a National Voter File with data on 235 million registered voters, and a New Mover File that documents the more than one million monthly moves in the U.S.
The quality of your political data can mean the difference between victory and defeat. Make sure you have the right data at your disposal. Learn more about our PAC management services or tap into our database by contacting Aristotle today.