The American election campaign is also a duel between campaign bags. Those who have more money can campaign more intensively and reach more voters.
In the run-up to November 3rd, Democrat Joe Biden turns out to be a record-breaking fundraiser. He raised 383 billion dollars in September alone: more money than any presidential candidate in one month.
other hand, his opponent Donald Trump has to guard against a possible shortage of campaign money: in mid-October, Biden had almost four times as much money in cash as the President. How did they get it and what does that say about their chances?
Since the start of the election cycle, Trump, along with the Republican Party, has raised more than 1.5 billion dollars in total. He started with a big head start on the campaign. This was partly because Trump signed up for his re-election right after his inauguration. Thats very unusual, but he was able to raise funds in the White House during his first month.
Catching up race Biden
Bids and the Democratic Party are following by 1.4 billion, but that amount has grown a lot harder in recent months. The former vice president had big money problems until Super Tuesday. The donations started to flow well only after he won the primaries in March.
Which helped afterwards: Bidings choice of Kamala Harris as his running mate, the death of Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the chaotic first presidential debate. While in July donors in 36 states still spend most money on Trump and his re-election, by September the roles were reversed: in 41 states and in Washington, D.C., Biden managed to raise the most money.
The bigger Bidens lead in the polls, the more donations he seems to get. Not only small amounts from individual voters, whom he likes to coquette with himself, but also from large donors: in six months he raised nearly 200 million from donors who each gave at least 100,000 dollars.
Donors from two Americas
The New York Times analyzed how the two presidential candidates are funded by two different Americas. For decades, prosperous and highly educated voters have been the largest pillars of the Republican Party, and in recent years they have become the biggest donors of the Democrats. Households with an annual income of at least $100,000 and highly educated voters donate much more often to Biden.
“ The donations reflect voice patterns,” says a Republican opinion poll, analyzing demographic trends, in a commentary to the same newspaper. “In fact, Republicans have traded the larger, more prosperous and rapidly developing suburbs for smaller, slow-growing rural areas.”
Somewhere it is ironic that Biden, who has always emphasized being a middle class man from a provincial town, now receives mainly money from the highly educated, wealthy voter. And that the candidate with a tower named after himself on one of the most expensive streets in New York is winning donors in the middle class.
As election day approaches Biden has money to give his campaign a final boost. In the last few weeks he warmed up: he spent more money than any presidential candidate on television and online advertising. In the major swingstate of Pennsylvania alone, 38 different commercials of Biden were on display in a week.
Trump, on the other hand, had to cut back on ads in several key states, such as Ohio and Iowa. And yesterday, he was forced to cancel TV commercials in Florida. According to Forbes business magazine, Trump could run out of money for election day.
But, the key question: how important is the campaign fund for the chances of a presidential candidate? A spokesman for Trump said when asked that money wont buy the American presidency. In 2016, Trump won the election with less than half of the money raised by Hillary Clinton. Yet this was an exception; since 1976 the candidate with the largest budget won invariably.
Spotlights more important
In 2016, Trump was also able to lean on his massively visited Make America Great Again meetings across the country, and received lots of free airtime due to his verbal attacks on his opponent.
Because of the coronapandemic, campaigning has become something for on the tube anyway. Campaign in stamped sports halls and town halls has been largely replaced by campaigning through attractive TV spots.
By comparison, USD 1.5 billion in airtime has already been purchased, and in 2016 this was USD 496 million at this point in the election race. One thing is certain: money helps, but you dont buy ballots with it.