On Friday, campaign super PACs filed financial reports with the Federal Elections Commission (FEC), giving the public a more complete picture of which candidates are doing well and which ones are doing poorly in the fundraising race. The August 1st edition of The New York Times ran a piece showing how much money each candidate has raised, and it also included how much cash has been raised by super PACs supporting each candidate.
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has raised 13.7 million dollars in total contributions, with 80. 7 percent of that money coming from donations of 200 dollars or less. For comparison, 19 percent of Hillary Clinton’s donations have been 200 dollars or less. Just 3.3 percent of Jeb Bush’s contributions have come from small donations.
Only retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson comes close to matching Sanders in his reliance on small donors to power his campaign. 80.2 percent of Carson’s money has come from donations of 200 dollars or less.
While those figures are from the actual campaigns themselves, the race for dollars among super PACs might be even more revealing. For example, over 95 percent of contributions to super PACs that support Texas Senator Ted Cruz have come from donations of one million dollars or more. Over 75 percent of super PAC funds in support of Mike Huckabee, Rick Perry and Marco Rubio have also come from contributions of a million dollars or greater.
For Hillary Clinton super PACs, the figure is 51.1 percent. By contrast, no pro-Sanders super PAC has received any donations exceeding a million dollars.
Thirty-one wealthy donors have given 1.1 million dollars or more to fund presidential candidates or pro-candidate super PACs. Each of those donors has funneled their money to Republicans, with Ted Cruz supporters Robert Mercer and Toby Neugebauer leading the charge. Each has donated more than ten million to support Cruz’s presidential bid.
While no individual has given over a million dollars to back any Democrat running for president, a handful of individuals have contributed exactly one million to help elect Hillary Clinton. Philanthropist George Soros and film director Steven Spielberg have each contributed a million dollars to help elect Hillary Clinton.
Since Bernie Sanders is explicitly taking on the “billionaire class”, it makes sense that his campaign would resonate with ordinary citizens, while failing to catch hold with the super wealthy. The fundraising reports released so far bear out what it probably obvious. Bernie Sanders campaign is a grassroots, people-powered movement, while most of the other campaigns are being backed by millionaires and billionaires.
Keith Brekhus is a progressive American who currently resides in Red Lodge, Montana. He is co-host for the Liberal Fix radio show. He holds a Master’s Degree in Sociology from the University of Missouri. In 2002, he ran for Congress as a Green Party candidate in the state of Missouri. In 2014, he worked as a field organizer for Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick’s successful re-election bid in Arizona’s 1st Congressional District. He can be followed on Twitter @keithbrekhus or on Facebook.