The Untold Fundraising Story of the 2020 Election

Dr. Louis Perron
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In the old days, it used to be that Republicans would usually have more money than Democrats. This had to with the very nature of fundraising, which was based on big donors. In their fundraising efforts, candidates would basically court the rich. There would be exclusive events, say 1000 USD per plate, where you can get to know the candidate and take a picture together.

The trend I am now observing is that fundraising is moving towards a model with a large number of small donors. Joe Biden, for example, literally had millions of people who donated say 20, 30 or 40 bucks. These people are not invited for a dinner, and they do not expect to ever meet Joe Biden. The driver here is not access or prestige, it is emotion. If people are angry or worried, they want to do something about it. As a campaign, it is our job to give them something to do, namely, to donate money.In other words, one of the best fundraisers for Democrats was Donald Trump.

When the Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died, it soon became clear that Donald Trump and Republicans in the Senate would be able to fill the vacant seat and change the majority of the highest court of the land for decades to come. This deeply worried liberals across the country – for good reason. It however also turned out to be some of the best fundraising days for liberal candidates. Liberals were concerned about a woman’s right to choose and the Affordable Care Act, and they wanted to do something about it. So they donated in droves to liberal candidates.  And the trend is not limited to Joe Biden. Democrats running for Senate or the House also raised big amounts of cash. Jaime Harrison, Democratic Senate candidate in South Carolina, broke the quarterly fundraising record for a senatorial candidate. He raised 57 million USD as a challenger.

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