Rachel Maddow discusses the Sanders cash crunch ahead of the very expensive California Democratic primary.
As Maddow pointed out, despite raising $27 million in April, Sen. Sanders only has $5.8 million in cash on hand to fund a month’s worth of primaries including the most expensive primary in the country. In contrast, Hillary Clinton raised $2 million less than Sen. Sanders, but she has over $30 million in cash on hand.
After winning New York and Pennsylvania, the Clinton campaign cut down their primary spending and began setting cash aside for the general election. Sen. Sanders has been burning through money at a rapid rate in an attempt to catch up to Clinton.
Where is Bernie’s money going? For starters, those big rallies that Sanders supporters point to as a sign of his campaign’s strength aren’t cheap. The Sanders campaign has spent millions of dollars on venues and the associated costs for these events. While the big rallies make for great visual scenes, the media has figured out that crowd size does not necessarily equal election results, so the Sanders campaign has seen diminishing returns on their big rally spending. The big rallies are also a great tool for firing up supporters, but the rallies have been most effective in making a difference at the polls in small states and open primaries and caucuses.
The Sanders campaign has also outspent Hillary Clinton on advertising. In nearly every contest for months, Sanders has outspent Clinton on advertising. Sanders outspent Clinton nearly 2 to 1 in New York on ads and lost by double-digits. Sanders outspent Clinton $4.6 million to $2.4 million in the April 26 races, and lost every state but one.
A large part of the Sanders strategy has been to a willingness to spend money, which is great. Millions of small donors gave to the Sanders campaign for exactly that purpose. The problem is that the return on investment has not been good regarding wins in critical states. After not winning in New York, fundraising dropped, but the campaign has continued to spend.
The result is that the Sanders campaign spent money to win small states like West Virginia, but they have little money left for very expensive California. Bernie Sanders has run an amazing campaign, but as he approaches the California finish line his finances are running on fumes.
One of the biggest indicators that the Democratic primary is over is that Bernie Sanders lacks the needed funds to mount a credible challenge to Hilary Clinton in California. Sanders has fought the good fight, but his cash crunch may wound his efforts to win California.