Democrats and their supporters must really want to beat Donald Trump in 2020.
Less than a week after back-to-back debates among Democratic candidates, fundraising numbers released Tuesday showed money is pouring in. It still does not compare to the money being raised by Trump.
The New York Times reported Sen. Bernie Sanders raised $18 million in the past three months. His total was less than the $24.8 million that Mayor Pete Buttigieg, of South Bend, Indiana, collected in the quarter, the paper reported. In the first quarter of the year, he raised $18.2 million, the most in the Democratic field.
According to the Sanders campaign, “This quarter’s fundraising reflects a growing and persistent grassroots movement in support of Sen. Sanders’ presidential bid driven by working people. The average donation was $18 and nearly 99.9% of donors can give again, showing durable and energetic grassroots support that will continue to back the campaign in the many months leading up to the first caucuses and primaries.”
It goes on to say: “Sanders held exactly zero big dollar fundraisers and rejected money from Wall Street executives and the fossil fuel industry. 99.3% percent of donations were $100 or less. The most frequent donations by occupation and employer came from teachers and Walmart workers. Since the launch of the campaign, there have been nearly 2 million individual donations.”
According to the Times, Sanders was the second candidate to disclose his fundraising for the second quarter of the year, which went from April through June. After running for president in 2016, he entered the race this time around with a huge network of online donors, giving him a built-in advantage over his opponents in collecting small donations.
Sanders remains far behind former vice president Joe Biden in national polling, and he also faces stiff competition from Sen. Elizabeth Warren, of Massachusetts, to win over voters on the party’s left flank, according to Politico and other sources. (Sanders and Warren are counting on small donations from huge numbers of Democrats to power their campaigns.)
Among Democrats, the broad field continues to be a threat.
Biden, who entered the race in late April, is also expected to post a big number for the quarter; he suggested at a fundraiser last month that his campaign had already brought in about $20 million.
According to the Times, Buttigieg “has vacuumed up big donations from donors on the traditional fund-raising circuit, in addition to bringing in money at grass-roots events and collecting online donations.”
And the coming fundraising total for Sen. Kamala Harris, of California — the favorite out of last week’s debates — is also expected to be strong, fueled by a combination of traditional fundraising and online giving. Harris raised $12 million in the first quarter of the year, more than anyone except Sanders.
According to the Associated Press, Harris’ campaign raised $2 million online in the 24 hours after the start of Thursday’s Democratic debate, when Harris memorably confronted Biden over his opposition to school busing, and another $1.2 million online over the weekend.
It is shaping up to be a big money fight — not just between Democrats but against the incumbent.
Trump and the Republican National Committee have raised $105 million in the second quarter, the campaign announced Tuesday.
“Our massive fundraising success is a testament to the overwhelming support for President Trump,” campaign manager Brad Parscale said. “No Democrat candidate can match this level of enthusiasm or President Trump’s outstanding record of results.”
The campaign now has $100 million cash on hand.
Pundits note that, if accurate, the Trump re-election campaign’s fundraising in this quarter is a staggering amount. In context, it is almost $30 million greater than then-President Barack Obama’s $86 million at the same point in 2011.
The campaign got a major boost in June from Trump’s official announcement that he would be seeking re-election, though that has been apparent for the past two years. In the 24 hours after Trump’s rally in Orlando, Florida, the campaign raised $24.8 million.
If money talks, the 2020 election is going to be loud and boastful.
This president, who values large numbers, has told aides that he wants record-breaking fundraising reports. So Tuesday’s figures are expected to be particularly rewarding.
Hopefully, in the coming months, issues will dictate who gets elected — not the size of the war chest.