Why Democratic Candidates Are Fighting For $5 Donations



in the world of political campaigns money is everything President Donald Trump spent 343 million dollars in the 2016 election and Barack Obama he spent 779 million dollars in the 2012 campaign but in the 2020 presidential election it's less about how much money you have and more about where it comes from candidates are embracing donations of 2010 and even $5 as more than just drops in the bucket for their campaign funds now candidates see those small dollar donations as accomplishments in their own right and at the same time they're shunning multi-thousand dollar donations the new focus on small donations is already reshaping the 2020 election now some candidates like Bernie Sanders or relying for up to 3/4 of what we would call small donations which means money coming less than two hundred dollars large transformation and all of the Democratic presidential candidates right now we're competing for that money for the September primary debates the Democratic National Committee requires candidates to have at least 130 thousand individual donors in order to take the stage and as of right now only a few candidates qualify under those new rules that's forcing presidential hopefuls to campaign hard for people to give as little as one dollar so how is $5.00 become worth as much as $50,000 for presidential candidates presidential campaigns are expensive there's traveling across the country to meet voters buying ads on TV and social media hiring staff the list goes on candidates can fund their campaigns in a few ways the first are donations individuals can give up to $2,800 to a candidate in a single election that adds up to five thousand six hundred dollars over a full election cycle since primary and general races are considered separate elections candidates can also tap into their own personal funds Donald Trump for example spent 66 million dollars of his own money on his campaign and then there are political action committees or PACs packs are a way to channel money into campaigns in ways that exceed the standard donation limits since individuals can donate up to ten thousand dollars to a PAC throughout both the primary and general election packs can be created by a candidate supporters corporations or a large industry group they've gained a bad rap for having an outsized influence in politics and promoting corporate interests over voters the lines are blurred even more when it comes to super PACs which were created as a result of the 2010 Supreme Court case known as Citizens United versus the Federal Election Commission the Supreme Court ruled that the First Amendment right to free speech also protected political spending by corporations nonprofits and labor unions as a result super PACs cannot donate to candidates directly but can spend money to support them in other ways like through advertisements super PACs have no spending limit because of citizens united that makes them a target for campaign finance reform activists who say that donations should be regulated aside from PACs large donations from individuals have also taken on a negative connotation in today's political landscape so in the past campaign finance was dominated by the large donations and I would say in the past maybe six to eight years that started changed radically in a time of heightened economic inequality having big individual donors could give the impression that a candidate is cozying up to the 1% and listening more thoroughly to their concerns rather than working to address the challenges facing the majority of Americans when you go for the major donors they want a little more pressing the flesh they want to feel like they're part of your club in my attending event by getting photos with you on the other hand having a large base of small dollar donations generally defined as donations under $200 bolsters their image as a champion for the working class willing to rail against inequality small donors feel like they're part of a larger cause even if it's not face to face they're building a movement the growth of small dollar donations can be attributed in part to the growth of online fundraising platforms and digital payments in general act blue an online fundraising tool launched in 2004 as a way to improve the digital fundraising operations for Democrats running for office it's technology has been adopted by countless candidates who have raised nearly four billion dollars combined through the platform act blue enables voters to give in small amounts seamlessly online or through their phones the Democrats are advantaged because they have this source of active blue that the Republicans still haven't tempted Donald Trump's a good small donor fundraiser but the broader party is not quite caught up to the energy of the Democrats with small donors I think that's an interesting difference that will play out over time especially if Republicans don't figure out the technology in June 2019 the Republican Party launched its own version of AX blue called win red to take advantage of the small dollar phenomenon Trump even celebrated the websites launch on Twitter calling it one of his priorities in the 2020 elections the DNC has raised the stakes even higher in the race for small dollar donations the June 2019 debates required candidates to secure 65,000 individual donors with at least 200 from 20 different states or they had to pull at one percent in at least three national polls that was so candidates with stronger name recognition but weak fundraising operations like New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio still had a chance of securing their spots on the stage but for the September debates candidates must poll above 2% and rake in at least a hundred and thirty thousand individual contributions with at least 400 coming from 20 different states there are several reasons why the DNC wanted to institute these tough donor rules first the obvious there's limited space on the debate stage for the crowd of 23 candidates and Counting so the party needs to consistently raise the bar to winnow the field second president Trump currently holds the record for the most money raised through small dollar donations the DNC hopes to by instituting a donor minimum early it allows the party's eventual nominee to start off with a strong grassroots base during the general election to take on Trump strategically it's very beneficial to have donors are giving you with small amounts massive amounts of people because you can keep going back to these people later on in the election you need it and it helps the parties to because they're putting together this huge database so where did the candidates stand in the race for small dollar donations the 2020 candidates have released their second quarter funding numbers via the Federal Election Commission Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren came in first and netted over 12 point 7 million dollars from small donors in the second quarter Bernie Sanders continued to build on the support he gained during the 2016 race and came in second by raising 12 point two million dollars from small donors in the second quarter but unlike his peers Biden stucture traditional fundraising tactics according to current donors Biden has set up fundraising tiers to target his wealthiest supporters protectors as defined by the campaign must raise $50,000 from their networks this year while unifiers need to rake in at least $100,000 for Biden he raised eight point three million dollars in the second quarter some campaigns have pushed back against the small dollar wave saying that the intense focus shifts priorities to producing viral moments instead of concrete policy plans despite the Democrats strategic focus on small dollar donations President Trump still has the incumbents advantage and dominated the small dollar fundraising race raking in twenty three million dollars in small dollar donations during the first quarter of 2019 for the rest of the 2020 field it remains to be seen whether this unconventional strategy will pay off in dollars cents and most importantly votes

Author Since: Mar 11, 2019

  1. Because the rich big bucks donors realize they are the payee TARGETS to cover the costs of all the demorat giveaway freebie stuff being promised!

  2. Translation: They’re definitely going to need a post-election ‘safe space’. 🇺🇸🏁

    (The 2020 Presidential Election. Sponsored by Kleenex tissues)

  3. Well well well….you lose Epsteins donations and suddenly your taking a page from trumps book.

    Trump 2020 baby

  4. Bernie might never become president but his impact on the future of American politics has been YUGE as he would say

  5. Let's say that the voters say, "Argh! Screw the rich! Let's double tax rates on big business and give that money to the poor and middle class after it's filtered through a big, inefficient bureaucracy." What will the cause and effect of that be? Won't the big corporations just do this? 1 – Layoff everyone they possibly can. 2 – Raise prices. 3 – Stock values and dividends will drop, hurting retirees and soon to be retirees. And won't those side effects be crippling to the poor and middle class? If you own a big business and tax rates double, if you CAN move your business to another country, don't you? Negative side effects of Socialism are why Democrats get less donations.

  6. You dont need to spend millions on a campaign. Just promise people $1000.00 a month for life if they vote for you.

    Thats Andrew Yangs plan.

  7. Given, if those small dollar donations are true and there's no fudging then Trump is coming back. Hands down. No competition.

  8. LOL. Trump (a billionaire), has secured 23 million in small dollar donations in the first quarter. The corrupt DNC will lose again if they don't change their approach.

  9. Some candidates! Bernie is the only one that is only small donor donations. No private meeting with big corporations. I liked how they glosses over that. The way this story is presented, it feels like they are saying that small dollar donations is bad.

  10. Instead of raising entry level by increasing funds How about adding education as another measure to filter out candidates.

  11. If Democrats didn't promise "free stuff" to their base they couldn't win dog catcher in a dark blue city.

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