Joe Biden has been much maligned as a Democratic candidate,
but despite the gaffes and lackluster debate performances, the former vice president
has proven to be resilient. Even though rumors of Biden’s ebb have persisted as
long as he has been in the race, he remains the candidate to beat in the
Democratic field, but a closer look at his campaign finances points out where
his weakness lies.
data shows Biden running a distant fourth in campaign contributions. Bernie
Sanders had the largest haul with $25.3 million followed closely by Elizabeth
Warren with $24.6 million. Pete Buttigieg placed third in the money race with
$19.1 million, trailed by Biden with $15.2 million. In all, the top 12
Democrats hauled in $128.5 million. By way of comparison, Donald Trump and the
RNC raised $125
million over the same time period.
Disturbingly for the Biden campaign, the vice president’s
third-quarter fundraising was down from $21.5 million in the second quarter. In
contrast with the other leading candidates, Biden benefitted from Democratic
big-money donors who previously supported Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Politico reported that Biden earned $20.7 million from contributions of at least $500.
This was more than $1.5 million more than his nearest competitor. However,
Biden’s big-money advantage was still not enough to overcome the small donors
who gave to his rivals.
In the third
quarter, 96 percent of Biden’s contributions came in amounts less than $200
with an average donation of $44. In contrast, Bernie Sanders received $10
million more with an average amount of $18. Elizabeth Warren’s average donation
was $26 while Pete Buttigieg received an average of $32 from his donors. Even a
quick look at the math reveals that more people are giving to Sanders, Warren,
and Buttigieg than to Biden.
Yet despite the fundraising slump and months of predictions
of doom, Joe Biden still sits atop the Democratic primary polls. Why would that
The answer is probably what I’ve been saying for months, namely
that Biden is benefitting from a scenario similar to the situation that allowed
Donald Trump to best 16 other Republicans for the nomination in 2016. Most of
the Democrats are competing for a share of the woke, progressive Democratic
base while Biden commands the largest part of the smaller share of moderate
The progressive wing of the Democrats is more engaged and
willing to send in contributions, giving the other candidates a fundraising edge,
but Biden still commands the largest number of voters. Money matters but votes
are what really count. The question is whether Biden can maintain his advantage