Liberals may view Donald Trump's supporters as "deplorables," but his grassroots support has helped amass the largest GOP small-dollar campaign war chest in the Republican Party's history. (Reuters photo)
September 20, 2016
by Bob Eschliman
In just a fraction of the time, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has amassed a war chest for the final run to the Nov. 8 general election that can be competitive with his Democratic counterpart, Hillary Clinton.
Unlike Clinton, who raked in her millions from big-money donors, Trump has done it in much smaller increments, according to a new Politico report. And in so doing, he is shattering GOP fundraising records.
According to the report:
Trump has been actively soliciting cash for only a few months, but when he reveals his campaign's financials later this week they will show he has crushed the total haul from small-dollar donors to the past two Republican nominees, John McCain and Mitt Romney—during the entirety of their campaigns.Although the report suggests it's difficult to tell if the record-setting haul will translate to success for the Republican Party in general, the GOP gets 20 percent of the small-dollar donations that come in from Trump's efforts. And, they have access to that donor list for future fundraising efforts.
All told, Trump is approaching, or may have already passed, $100 million from donors who have given $200 or less, according to an analysis of available Federal Election Commission filings, the campaign's public statements and people familiar with his fundraising operation. It is a threshold no other Republican has ever achieved in a single campaign. And Trump has done so less than three months after signing his first email solicitation for donors on June 2—a staggering speed to collect such a vast sum.
"I've never seen anything like this," said a senior Republican operative who has worked closely with the campaign's small-dollar fundraising operation. "He's the Republican Obama in terms of online fundraising."
Clinton counted 2.3 million donors as of the end of August, the result of decades of campaigning, a previous presidential bid and allies who painstakingly built her an email file of supporters even before she formally announced her second run. But Trump had zoomed to 2.1 million donors in the past three months alone, his campaign has said.
In an election where there is such a tremendous anti-incumbent sentiment, how successful the RNC will be with its down-ballot fundraising will ultimately depend largely on message and agenda. If Republicans in Congress insist upon more status quo, that's exactly what they'll get from these new donors.