What Third Quarter Fundraising Totals Say About the Presidential Campaigns.
During primary season, the end of September means that candidates are reporting their third quarter fundraising numbers. Of course, the numbers a candidate was able to raise and the sources from which they got that money serves as a good indicator of the energy and support behind a campaign.
The third quarter was a solid one for a number of candidates vying for the democratic presidential nomination. Elizabeth Warren raised an impressive $24.6 million dollars, mostly from small donors. Perhaps the most stunning numbers came from Andrew Yang, who according to AOL saw a 257% uptick in his fundraising numbers, raising a total of $10 million dollars as opposed to his second quarter’s $2.8 million.
Bernie Sanders however, outraised them all with an incredible $25.3 million dollars raised exclusively from small dollar donors.
Perhaps even more noteworthy than the candidates who saw impressive fundraising gains, were the candidates who saw their numbers fall. Number one being former Vice President Joe Biden. Mr. Biden raised just $15.2 million, a total that was $7 million dollars less than his second quarter total. Considering he is still technically in first place, though fading in polls and now in fundraising, the reasons for his falling numbers offers perhaps the most telling and honest look in to his campaign.
So, what explains the falling numbers for Joe Biden’s fundraising?
Easy. He’s maxed out his big money donors.
Quite simply, Joe Biden’s numbers have fallen because during the primary season an individual can only donate $2,800 dollars directly to a campaign. Joe Biden has currently raised as much as he possibly can from the executives all across the country who’ve been “generous” enough to host high dollar fundraisers for his campaign. Rather than garnering grassroots support from average Americans who believe in his message, Joe Biden has instead put himself in a position where he is left with a smaller and smaller number of big money donors still able to contribute.
Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders has an average contribution of just $18 dollars, and an ever growing number of people pitching in whatever small amount they can in recurring contributions. The vast majority of those recurring contributions, it should be added, aren’t even coming close to maxing out.
Of course, Joe Biden isn’t the only one who saw his fundraising numbers fall. Pete Buttigieg and Kamala Harris also saw their numbers drop as well, and almost certainly for the very same reason.
This significant drop for Mr. Biden reveals to both pundits and voters alike just how valid and baseless the supposed “support” for his campaign actually is, and the lack of energy he is able to generate. It serves as yet another reason why anyone who considers themself even slightly to the left on the political spectrum should be concerned about the idea of Mr. Biden being the eventual nominee.
In this day in age with populism and grass roots support proving themselves to be the critical components of successful campaigns, a campaign like Biden’s that is fueled by nothing more than name recognition and association with Obama, is bound to struggle at some point.
The dropping fundraising numbers, combined with the fact that Mr. Biden has fallen behind Warren in Iowa and New Hampshire while Bernie has pulled ahead in Nevada, should be a clear indicator that his campaign is in trouble.
All that being said, those of us on the left should see this not only as a sign of hope for this election cycle, but what is to come down the line. Sanders and Warren have taken it upon themselves to prove to the American people and their fellow politicians that a successful campaign does NOT have to rely on the generosity of the elite. Instead, the most successful campaigns are being fueled by the middle and working class, who have once again been reminded that this country belongs to us.
Politicians today, and anyone with hopes of running in the future, can now see firsthand what the American people across the country are capable of doing if they believe in your message.