How The Major Presidential Candidates Finance Their Campaigns
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Politics and Activism

How The Major Presidential Candidates Finance Their Campaigns

Are you surprised?

How The Major Presidential Candidates Finance Their Campaigns
The Hill

It takes a few key elements to run a winning campaign. Volunteers, for one. Voters, another key aspect. Flyers, probably. And of course, money.

Money has a huge influence on politics. Money lets candidates' publicize their views, run larger campaign offices in major cities, pay consultants and organizers, fly to rallies, travel to meet and greets, and the list goes on. Here's how the three candidates you really care about are using their money:


Raised: $188 million, most of it through large individual donations directly to her campaign Hillary for America. As the democratic establishment's candidate, and as an experienced politician with a strong donor base, no one expected Clinton to run a bootstrapped campaign.

Spent: Lots on campaign organizers and personnel. We expected Clinton to be a classic, polished candidate, so it makes sense that her campaign would function in the same classic way.

Fun Fact: As if the Federal Election Commission was not lax enough, one of the PACs opposing Hillary actually breaks the FEC’s rules by naming the candidate it is opposing while claiming not to support any one presidential candidate.

The trolling PAC, called Dick Morris' Just Say no to Her! PAC, can get away with their name because they have the money needed to win a lawsuit against the FEC. Money, meet politics. Oh! I see you already know each other!


Raised: $27 million, most of it his own money. His SuperPACs are called exactly what you would expect them to be called. The two biggest PACs are named Make America Great Again and the Committee to Restore America’s Greatness.

Spent: Top expenses are airfare to/from interviews and rallies. What else would you expect from a media hound?

Fun Fact: Unlike other candidates, Trump’s campaign can sustain a high burn rate, meaning it can use the money it raises quickly without fear of it running out. This would be impossible if he were not one of the wealthiest people in the America, so running a campaign this way is the kind of unapologetically privileged move that fits perfectly within Trump's persona.

To illustrate the advantage that Trump's money gives him, consider that most of the candidates who dropped out of the race (O’Malley, Huckabee, Chafee, etc.) ran unsustainably high burn rates before they fizzled out of money and political support.


Raised: $100 million, most of it through small individual donations to his campaign. Aside from the strength of his candidacy in general, Sanders' ability to raise funds has been one of the least-expected elements of the presidential race so far.

Spent: On paraphernalia, like hats and T-shirts (excluding fan-made items, like the one above) Sanders has the kind of anti-establishment, hipster appeal that lends itself to products like shirts, hats and the like. But you, college student, probably knew that already — I see you in your Bernie 2016 baseball tee.

Fun Fact: As of Feb. 22, Sanders had about $14.5 million in cash on hand, meaning his campaign had spent all but $14.5 of its funds raised by its campaign committee and outside groups. We know Sanders as a candidate who shuns excess, and it is no surprise that his campaign would do the same.

In contrast, Trump's $1.5 million gaps is negligible (because he can add more of his own money to his campaign whenever he wants), while Clinton has a gap of $77 million.

Moral of the story

The well-connected and politically savvy Clinton is using her experience to draw big donations from large groups. A proud and allegedly self-made man, Trump is bankrolling his own campaign. And the man who you could most picture selling hipster T-shirts, aka Sanders, is in fact selling hipster T-shirts. No surprises here.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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