RSN Fundraising Banner
FB Share
Email This Page
add comment
Print

Cooper writes: "Joe Biden is having no trouble raising money. In just one single evening last Wednesday, he raked in a cool $700,000 at a California fundraiser, where he hobnobbed with Hollywood bigshots like Jeffrey Katzenberg and Terry Press."

Former vice president Joe Biden talks to the media in Washington, D.C., April 5, 2019. (photo: Joshua Roberts/Reuters)
Former vice president Joe Biden talks to the media in Washington, D.C., April 5, 2019. (photo: Joshua Roberts/Reuters)


Joe Biden's Big Money Problem

By Ryan Cooper, The Week

16 May 19

 

oe Biden is having no trouble raising money. In just one single evening last Wednesday, he raked in a cool $700,000 at a California fundraiser, where he hobnobbed with Hollywood bigshots like Jeffrey Katzenberg and Terry Press.

This suggests a possible serious problem for the former vice president. Money is useful in politics, especially in such a profoundly corrupt society as the United States. But where that money comes from still matters. What's more, there is surely a point of diminishing returns — or even negative returns, where more money harms a campaign. Biden evinces no sign of having learned from the money problems of Hillary Clinton.

One surprising aspect of the 2016 campaign was that Clinton absolutely crushed Trump in the money race. She and her super PACs raked in nearly $1.2 billion, while Trump and associated operations raised just short of $650 million. She did this largely by cutting back on campaigning and spending much of her time zipping from one glitzy fundraiser to the next. As The New York Times reported in September 2016, in just the last two weeks of August she raised $50 million in 22 fundraisers:

If Mr. Trump appears to be waging his campaign in rallies and network interviews, Mrs. Clinton’s second presidential bid seems to amount to a series of high-dollar fund-raisers with public appearances added to the schedule when they can be fit in. Last week, for example, she diverged just once from her packed fund-raising schedule to deliver a speech. [The New York Times]

Despite his smaller cash hoard, the Trump campaign did more events than Clinton in every single swing state except Florida — 31 from Trump compared to 24 from Clinton in North Carolina, 28 to 26 in Pennsylvania, 30 to 18 in Ohio, 18 to 5 in Virginia, 14 to 8 in Michigan, and 9 to 5 in Wisconsin. Despite his total lack of political experience, Trump still seemed to spend his money with far more tactical savvy than the Clinton campaign, with its vast battalions of so-called data experts.

Indeed, a big fraction of that money likely hurt Clinton in the end. In addition to distracting her from a traditional campaign, it also made her appear — with considerable accuracy, frankly — as a tool of the rich. It jammed up her campaign messaging as being the candidate of the poor and working class, making her look like just another Democrat who talks a big game about inequality while quietly reassuring the big money donors behind closed doors that there is nothing to worry about.

Conversely, all this played directly into Trump's narrative that he was free of this corruption due to funding his own campaign. In one of his bizarre bursts of insight, he described the way people get subtly corrupted by big donor fundraisers with perfect accuracy in 2015: "That is the way it is. Somebody gives them money, not anything wrong, just psychologically, when they go to that person, they're going to do it," he said on CNN. "They owe them. And by the way, they may therefore vote negatively toward the country. That's not going to happen with me."

Of course, Trump was lying. He did not entirely fund his own campaign. But Clinton scurrying from one pack of oligarchs to the next for the whole campaign played directly into his "Drain the Swamp" messaging.

By contrast, this cycle Trump is fully embracing the big donors and super PACs that he previously condemned. Corporate interests, enjoying their enormous tax cuts, are no doubt extremely stoked for him to win another term.

This creates an opportunity for the Democratic nominee to characterize Trump as a corrupt hypocrite — a liar who works hand-in-glove with American oligarchs to keep taxes low and regulations down. This would work perfectly with the very successful fundraising model that Bernie Sanders has innovated. As of the last filing period, he had raised more than any other candidate, with $20.7 million (though Biden is probably close by now). Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren are not far behind using similar tactics. Democrats could have their money cake and eat it too — running a well-funded campaign without the stench of corruption that comes from glad-handing plutocrats day in and day out. On the other hand, it will be much harder to make that case if the nominee is raising tons of cash from the same types of people Trump is going to.

The challenge of the Sanders model is that it requires credibility. Small donors are much more willing to step up when it's part of a genuine promise to get corporate influence out of politics. One might conclude that Biden doesn't want that, because he is perfectly fine with the status quo. It's almost as if he's served as a bag man for Delaware corporations for his entire Senate career, and would rather forego a potentially powerful political weapon against Trump than give up big-dollar fundraising. But that surely can't be it.

Email This Page

e-max.it: your social media marketing partner
 

Comments   

A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

 
+31 # DongiC 2019-05-16 17:38
Biden is no innovator. He is locked into the old ways of raising campaign funds. He will walk the same path as Hillary Clinton did, probably, with the same results. Because when it comes to lying and cloaking what is really happening, Trump has no equal. He is the master of prevarication and could, no doubt, con an angel. Sanders has the right approach, but I don't think Biden will follow it.
 
 
+2 # Jack Ox 2019-05-18 12:32
Every single day we Progressives need to tell @DNC that we will not vote for the "lesser of 2 evils" again. The Democratic party can legally rig the Primary- as they did with HRC- but we do not have to vote for them- I warn them- and everyone should do so- maybe they will stop with this behavior-
 
 
+19 # economagic 2019-05-16 17:41
What else is there to say?!
 
 
+3 # Robbee 2019-05-17 15:25
Quoting DongiC 2019-05-16 17:38:
Sanders has the right approach, but I don't think Biden will follow it.


Quoting economagic:
What else is there to say?!


- Joe Biden's Big Money Problem is his achilles heel!

lots of unsavory characters pay $2,800, a plate to dine with biden!

progressive candidates must make this THE major feature of the debates!

-
 
 
+6 # Observer 47 2019-05-16 20:28
"....making her [Hillary] look like just another Democrat who talks a big game about inequality while quietly reassuring the big money donors behind closed doors that there is nothing to worry about."

She looked like that because she WAS a shill for Wall Street and big corporations. She DID reassure the big donors---what else were the Goldman Sachs speeches about?
 
 
+7 # Carol R 2019-05-16 20:43
"[Biden] is perfectly fine with the status quo."
That is why I hope he isn't the Democratic candidate. He would not work hard to overcome our corporate dominated country. He is falling into the same trap that Hillary fell into. Corporate money means owing the giver and not standing up for average people.
 
 
-2 # upsetter 2019-05-16 21:09
Just Win Baby!!! Repeat this over and over until we get a democrat elected. Most likely to be Biden. Get on the train. Is Biden perfect? No. Are we going to make the same mistake we did last time? We already lost 2 seats on the SC. 2 more spots and this country may never recover. Winning is all that matters. We can address the other issues after that
 
 
+2 # Moxa 2019-05-18 14:04
With due respect, this is wrong for several reasons. There is a pernicious belief among many Democrats that Biden's mediocrity and centrism are strengths, and that even though we know that Sanders is a much better candidate, we should vote for Biden because he is more electable. He is NOT more electable, precisely because he is so boring, so out of touch and so on the wrong side of crucial, life or death issues, that he excites no one and will not bring out the base or the people who rarely if ever vote. Trump, hate him as much as we like, has a VERY excited and loyal base. THEY will come out in droves.

As for "addressing the other issues after that", Biden is not interested in those issues and so they will not be addressed--ever . Winning may be all that matters, but we will likely lose with Biden; he is NOT a safe bet. And even if we did win, we will be stuck with another do-nothing stick figure in the Oval Office, marking time while the wars continue, the rich get richer and the planet burns.
 
 
+2 # rivervalley 2019-05-18 16:18
Running a duplicate candidate with the same message (Trump BAD) will produce the same result. Don't fall for it! People want real change and are smart enough to vote for that. These DNC guys want same old, same old.
 
 
+6 # RLF 2019-05-17 06:08
Democratic party is all about money and nothing but money. They stand for nothing and if they think another stand for nothing candidate will win...they're wrong. A vote for Biden is a vote for Democrats that differ almost not at all from a Republican. Bill Clinton's phrase...like it was a plus..."Corpora te Friendly Democrat".
 
 
+5 # opinionaire 2019-05-17 13:44
I do not want Mr. Biden in this race, but there are several others among the now 23 candidates I do not want to run. That said, I will vote for anyone the Democrats end up nominating, even if I have to hold my nose to do it. We have to get the tangerine scourge erased from the White House, even if he runs against an actual orangutan.
 

THE NEW STREAMLINED RSN LOGIN PROCESS: Register once, then login and you are ready to comment. All you need is a Username and a Password of your choosing and you are free to comment whenever you like! Welcome to the Reader Supported News community.

RSNRSN