Election 2020

Sanders Proves Socialism Sells With Democrats, Raising $34.5 Million in 4th Quarter

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) speaks during a rally in Evansville, Ind., on May 2, 2016. (Denny Simmons/Evansville Courier & Press via AP)

Bernie Sanders raised $34.5 million in the 4th quarter, more than any other Democrat has been able to raise in a single quarter to date. His total raised of $96 million this year gives him a huge leg up over his main rivals of Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, and Pete Buttigieg for the nominating contests starting a month from today in Iowa.

As large as Sanders’ haul was in the 4th quarter, his total was dwarfed by Donald Trump who brought in $46 million. Trump’s total of $143 million for 2019 far outstrips his Democratic rivals.

Trump’s numbers were boosted by the effort to impeach him, as his totals in December show.

For Sanders, it was small donors — many of them young and educated — who have apparently decided to cast their lot with socialism.


The Vermont senator, who disclosed the amount Thursday morning, brought in a total of about $96 million last year from more than 5 million contributions. The campaign’s average donation was $18.

Sanders’ strong fundraising finish — the strongest quarter any Democratic presidential candidate announced thus far for 2019 — will give his candidacy a boost of good publicity in the weeks ahead of the Iowa caucuses, as well as the cash to power him through the primary. It also makes him a top, and perhaps the best, fundraiser of the field last year.

Other Democrats’ totals were not even close.

Former South Bend (Ind.) Mayor Pete Buttigieg said he brought in $24.7 million in the final three months of 2019. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren has not yet announced her donations, but lowered expectations when she revealed a goal of bringing in $20 million, which is less than the amount she pulled in during the previous quarter.

Former Vice President Joe Biden has not said how much he received in the last three months of 2019. Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard said she raised $3.4 million in that period.

Businessman Andrew Yang pulled in more than $16 million — not bad for someone sitting at 3 percent in the polls.

The number of Sanders donors is impressive — and worrisome. Are there really this many people who will trade economic gain for their individual liberty?

The Sanders campaign said it received contributions from 40,000 new donors on the last day of the year. Its best month was December, when it reaped more than $18 million from 900,000-plus contributions.

The Sanders team said “more than 99.9 percent” of its contributors have not given the maximum donation — and can therefore donate again. Sanders has criticized Biden and Buttigieg for raising money from billionaires. He made the issue the subject of a recent TV ad in Iowa, though he doesn’t name names in the spot.

Sanders’ numbers are good, but where the rubber meets the road in raising campaign cash is how much is available to actually spend on nominating contests? Sanders has raised $96 million for the year, but because he’s had to spend a lot of cash to keep up with his rivals, his cash on hand numbers can’t compete with Trump.

The Trump campaign has an incredible $105 million in cash on hand to begin the year. By contrast, Barack Obama had only $81 million to begin his 2012 re-election year.

The Sanders campaign did not announce their cash on hand number, but ended the 3rd quarter with just $33.7 million.

Trump’s $46 million doesn’t include monies raised with the Republican National Committee.

The $46 million for the fourth quarter was the amount raised only by the Trump re-election campaign. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence typically headline fundraising events that benefit both the campaign and the Republican National Committee.

The amount raised by the RNC for the fourth quarter of 2019 is expected to be released soon.

In the third quarter, Trump and the RNC had together raised $125 million.

Given that Sanders, or any potential Democratic nominee, will almost certainly be forced to spend massive amounts of cash through April or May to win the nomination, Trump, with no challenger, will be able to husband his resources exclusively for the fall. It is estimated that the president’s fundraising totals will be close to $1.5 billion by then.