Dollars and Democracy: Biden's Cash Surge Sets the Stage for a Showdown with Trump

President Joe Biden and the Democratic Party have achieved a remarkable fundraising feat.

by Faruk Imamovic
Dollars and Democracy: Biden's Cash Surge Sets the Stage for a Showdown with Trump
© Getty Images/Scott Olson

President Joe Biden and the Democratic Party have achieved a remarkable fundraising feat. Amassing over $ 97 million in the final quarter of last year, Biden's campaign, alongside the Democratic Party, concluded the year with a staggering $117 million in hand.

This sum represents the highest cash-on-hand figure for any Democratic candidate at this equivalent point in an election cycle.

The Impact of Grassroots Support

The success of Biden's fundraising efforts is a testament to the robust grassroots support he enjoys.

The Biden campaign emphasized the significance of this achievement as a clear indicator of the readiness and determination of the Biden-Harris coalition to secure victory in November. Campaign manager Julie Chavez Rodriguez highlighted this historic haul, crediting it to the growing enthusiasm at the grassroots level.

In an impressive show of grassroots backing, the average donation in the fourth quarter was $41.88, with a remarkable 97% of all contributions being under $200. More than 130,000 donors have pledged monthly donations, a figure that has doubled since 2020.

The campaign's active subscriber email list grew by 15% from the start of the third quarter, signaling a strong and expanding base of support.

The Strategy Behind the Fundraising Success

Biden's team, understanding the importance of a strong financial foundation, has been actively cultivating a diverse donor base since the beginning of the election cycle.

The campaign's strategy has been to balance high-dollar fundraising events with a strong emphasis on small-dollar, grassroots contributions. This dual approach has paid dividends, ensuring a steady stream of funds from a wide range of supporters.

High-dollar fundraising events, often featuring President Biden and other high-profile Democrats, have been a significant source of revenue. These events attract wealthy donors who can contribute large sums, providing a quick influx of funds to the campaign coffers.

In December alone, Biden raised over $15 million from such donors, showcasing his appeal among the party's affluent supporters. However, the campaign has not solely relied on big donors. Recognizing the importance of grassroots support, Biden's team has focused on engaging and mobilizing small-dollar donors.

These efforts have been bolstered by a robust digital campaign, utilizing social media, email marketing, and online fundraising contests to reach a broader audience. The "Cup of Joe" contest, for example, was a major success, raising over $3 million and becoming the campaign's most successful contest to date.

The campaign has also been strategic in its timing, leveraging key moments in the political calendar to maximize fundraising. Efforts were intensified around Republican debates and Trump events, using these occasions to galvanize support and boost donations.

This tactic of counterprogramming has proven effective, with the campaign seeing a significant increase in fundraising during these periods. By blending traditional fundraising methods with innovative digital strategies, Biden's campaign has not only achieved a record-breaking fundraising haul but also fostered a sense of involvement and ownership among a diverse range of supporters.

This strategy, combining the strength of high-dollar events with the expansive reach of grassroots initiatives, sets a new standard for political fundraising and positions the Biden campaign advantageously as the election year progresses.

Biden, Trump© Getty Images/Scott Olson

Biden vs. Trump: The 2024 Matchup

In the backdrop of this fundraising success, a CBS News/YouGov poll released Sunday presented a tight hypothetical matchup between Biden and former President Donald Trump.

The poll shows a nearly even split among likely voters, with 50% supporting Trump and 48% backing Biden. This data underscores the intensity of the upcoming electoral battle, with Biden ramping up his criticisms of Trump, whom his advisers view as the likely Republican contender.

While most Republican candidates, including Trump, have yet to disclose their fourth-quarter figures, former UN ambassador and South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley reported raising $24 million in the same period. The stark contrast in fundraising between the Democratic and Republican fronts could be a significant factor in the dynamics of the 2024 race.

The Republican Advertising Blitz in Iowa

On the Republican side, the primary contests are heating up, with significant advertising spending in Iowa. Over $123 million has been spent on advertising in the state, a record-breaking pace compared to the 2020 caucuses.

The three leading Republican candidates – Trump, Haley, and Ron DeSantis – along with their allied super PACs, have been at the forefront of this spending spree, accounting for over 70% of the total ad expenditures in Iowa since the beginning of 2023.

Haley's political network has been the top spender in Iowa, with her super PAC, SFA Fund, and her campaign investing heavily in advertisements. DeSantis' operation follows closely, with a trio of super PACs and his campaign also pouring millions into advertising in the state.

Trump, while enjoying a consistent lead in Iowa polls, has spent significantly less than his two main challengers. Biden's formidable war chest and the Democratic Party's financial resources position them strongly against their Republican counterparts.

The coming months are expected to see Biden's campaign ramp up operations, running at "full steam" by early summer. The focus now shifts to how effectively these funds will be utilized in what promises to be a fiercely contested election.

Joe Biden