Trump’s fundraising has massively overtaken Biden’s. What he does with the cash matters more

The huge jump in Trump cash appears to have come from his criminal conviction

Eric Garcia
Washington DC
Friday 21 June 2024 19:16 BST
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Trump’s Fundraising Surges Post-Trial, Outdoes Biden

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Former president Donald Trump blew out President Joe Biden in fundraising in May. According to campaign filings, Biden and the Democratic National Committee raised only $85 million in May, while Trump and the Republican National Committee raised $141 million.

Finding the reason for Trump’s cash advantage is not hard: On the second-to-last day of May, a jury found Trump guilty of 34 counts of falsifying business records as part of a conspiracy to influence the 2016 presidential election. The day after the conviction, Trump’s campaign reported that it had raised $34.8 million in just 24 hours. Staffers said that 485,000 people had contributed to the campaign; 29.7 percent of the donors were first time contributors to WinRed, the GOP’s preferred fundraising platform.

This is the second consecutive month that Trump has outraised Biden. April marked the first time, he and the Republican Party raised $76 million to Biden’s $51 million.

Needless to say, this is an alarm bell for Biden. Despite the fact that the president has regularly lagged behind in the polls, he could always lean on the fact that he raised more money than Trump — until now. That fundraising advantage also comes ahead of the all-important debate next week in Atlanta.

That being said, Biden held a blockbuster fundraiser with Barack Obama and Jimmy Kimmel earlier this month. There’s reason to believe he will make his advantage back.

Unfortunately, much the aura around that fundraiser faded when afterward, the Biden team had to spend time putting out fires about a “cheap fake” video of Biden supposedly freezing up that circulated around the internet. The president can raise all the cash he likes, but it means very little if videos edited to make him look like a senile old man insert themselves into the political bloodstream before he even begins to spend that cash.

On Thursday evening, Kamala Harris attended a Biden Victory Fund fundraiser in a tony suburb in Washington, DC where she tried to make the case that the Biden team is “winning.”

“We are winning — not only as an administration, we are winning as a party,” she said, highlighting how pundits said Democrats would get blown out in the 2022 midterms.

“Oh, the red wave, the red wave, they said — it was a red drip,” she said. But arguably, Democrats’ overperformance in the 2022 midterms had little to do with Biden’s achievements and everything to do with the Supreme Court overturn of Roe v Wade.

That ruling largely catalyzed Democrats’ victories, and not just in the midterms. Democrats managed to flip the supreme court in Wisconsin and hold a Democratic governorship in Kentucky, the backyard of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, off the back of it. Indeed, even in deep red states like Ohio, voters supported ballot initiatives to enshrine abortion rights.

This is why Democrats are adamantly pushing abortion rights amendments in purple states like Arizona and in solidly Republican states like Florida as the general election approaches.

Of course, what both Biden and Trump do with their war chests matters just as much as the money they raised.

Harris highlighted how the Biden campaign had opened more than 200 campaign offices across the country. On Thursday, the Biden campaign announced a seven-figure ad buy in English and Spanish during Copa América. The soccer tournament is one of the most-watched events in the world, particularly among Latino voters, a demographic Biden has struggled to reach.

The question now for Trump is what will he do with all of his own cash. For much of the campaign, he had a significant disadvantage to Biden and he was tied up sitting in a courtroom with his criminal trial. But now that he’s free to traverse the country, how he spends his campaign money could determine the outcome of the race.

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