The second quarter fundraising numbers are out for the presidential candidates, and one columnist noticed that Joe Biden hadn’t raised massive money from the middle class. Is this a problem in the long term?
Joe Biden Has a Problem
Earlier this week, the second quarter fundraising numbers were released for the different presidential candidates, and as noticed by the New York Times, President Biden did not have a huge quarter with small-dollar donors.
The Biden-Harris campaign touted that they raised a total of $72 million in the second quarter, bringing the campaign a total of $77 million in cash on hand, which they said “ represents the highest total amassed by a Democrat at any comparable point in history.”
“While Republicans are burning through resources in a divisive primary focused on who can take the most extreme MAGA positions, we are significantly outraising every single one of them – because our team’s strength is our grassroots supporters,” Julie Chavez Rodriguez, Biden’s campaign manager, said in a statement to the press.
Per the Times, Biden has been fundraising prolifically from higher-dollar donors, but less so from smaller donors. The campaign and its associated Biden Victory Fund gained about $10.2 million from small donors in the quarter, which is about half of what the last Democratic president to run for re-election, Barack Obama, earned at the same point in the 2012 cycle.
The newspaper listed a few reasons why that total was low.
“Google and Apple have made it harder for email senders to see data about who has opened solicitations,” the Times said. “Inflation slowed political donations across the board. Donors are exhausted by the unending flow of emails asking for money, and recipients are responding to far fewer of them.”
In addition, Democrats aren’t quite as “fired up” now as they were at the time when Donald Trump was president and they were trying to unseat him.
Also, Biden — Robert Kennedy, Jr. notwithstanding — is acting as though he is running unopposed in the Democratic primaries.
“Right now there’s there is no day-to-day competition combat going on,” Jeffrey Katzenberg, the former Hollywood studio boss and a co-chairman of the Biden campaign, told the Times. “So these are the most loyal, most dedicated believers and supporters. It’ll build over time.”
Fox News, meanwhile, implied that the fundraising numbers show Biden has not inspired enthusiasm in middle-class voters.
“The inconvenient truth? Overall, Biden’s campaign (in league with the DNC) raised $72 million, most of it from millionaires and billionaires,” Liz Peek, a Fox News online opinion columnist, wrote this week. “Those folks are not, we can agree, building the economy from ‘the middle out and the bottom up,’ to use Biden’s own phrase.
Peek had her own theory for the comparatively soft fundraising numbers.
“He might have added: despite Biden’s dishonest blathering about how he’s helping out the middle class, the truth is that it is middle- and lower-income Americans who are most unhappy with this president,” she wrote. “A recent Economist You/Gov poll shows 44% of people making $100,000 or more approving of Biden’s performance in office; only 37% of those making less than $50,000 and 39% of those earning between $50k and $100k, give the president high marks.”
However, a lack of donations from middle-dollar donors does not necessarily correlate directly with support from middle-class voters.
Peek also argues that Biden “dedicated hundreds of billions of dollars to a Green New Deal that is driving up energy costs and limiting choices available to consumers.” However, the “Green New Deal” was a policy proposal introduced in Congress prior to Biden’s time as president, and is not something that has actually been enacted.
The Inflation Reduction Act, passed in 2022 and signed by Biden, did in fact include billions of dollars in funding to combat climate change. But the legislation was not the Green New Deal, nor was it ever marketed or pushed under that name, although Republicans have tried to call it that regardless of the bill’s actual name.
Expertise and Experience: Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.