The Democratic small-dollar donor army engaged for Biden — and the results are unbelievable

The Democratic small-dollar donor army engaged for Biden — and the results are unbelievable

You know that thing people do when they want to communicate “mind blown”? I’m doing that thing.


To communicate just how insanely crazy that is, here’s some context.

In July 2020, Biden and the DNC raised a combined $66 million, while Trump and the Republican National Committee (RNC) raised $127 million. Biden kept it close in the money race, behind by only $20 million, because of the Trump campaign’s wasteful spending, but … holy crap, what a difference one month makes!

The previous record appears to be Barack Obama, in the September 2008 reporting period, where he and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) raised $193 million. Biden is close to doubling that.

So can Trump keep pace? He actually has a solid small-dollar base, having raised 55% of his direct campaign cash from small donors. The $229 million his campaign raised in small increments through July 2020 far exceeded Biden’s $139 million from small donors. In fact, Biden’s campaign had ironically depended far more on major donors than Trump’s had.

Major donor money has been more visible in the RNC’s numbers, which had outraised the DNC a whopping $465 million to $204 million through July. But how sustainable is that? How many more individuals able to write $35,500 checks do the Republicans have? I guess we’ll find out. But the fact that their campaign pulled all advertising from TV for a couple of weeks in a clear cost-cutting effort doesn’t inspire confidence in their ongoing fundraising.

But the big story is Biden’s small-dollar explosion. We’re seeing the fruits of the small-dollar army Democrats have cultivated over the past two decades thanks to ActBlue. It’s taken a while for them to fully engage in the presidential election on behalf of Biden, but the convention and Kamala Harris were the spark, and the rest is, well, holy crap!

To be clear, money isn’t everything. Hillary Clinton outspent Donald Trump by $230 million. Unbelievable, huh?

But money is important, and not only does it ensure that Trump can’t drown Biden out, but gives Biden the freedom to expand the map to places like Texas, Montana, and Alaska without shortchanging the core must-win battlegrounds like Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. A broader map doesn’t just put additional pressure on what looks to be a cash-strapped Trump operation, but gives a boost to our down-ballot candidates.

And this is what 2020 is about: not just winning the presidency, as critical as that is, but maximizing Democratic victories all the way down the ballot.

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