Campaign Finance: The Large and the Small

  • Campaign Finance:  The Large and the Small are Both Important

“The winner takes it all, The loser standing small “  ABBA, The Winner Takes it All.

Democrats have well learned over three years of massive degradation of America’s environment and rights, that winning is all important.  Our nemesis, Trump, told us this all along, and rules with that non-democratic philosophy.

Since most Democrats are for safe guns, I can’t say that some shoot the party in the foot by insisting on only accepting small campaign donations.  But, I think that those candidates are perceived as anti-business, and they are not going to get the big PAC money anyway.  As far as I can tell, there is no biblical or moral requirement that one should only take small donations.  In fact, the two largest Democratic donors in 2018, are now both running for President as Democrats, namely, Michael Bloomberg and Tom Steyer.  We also see many large businesses working with sustainable agendas.

Since Democrats finally did win the House in 2018, after 8 long years, we examine how important large donors were in that victory.

We use the data of   At the Center for Responsive Politics.

They make the statement that 85% of races go to the better funded candidate.  This may not be a cause and effect case.  Since most winners are incumbents, they will attract the most funds so that the donors have some influence.

We start with a population and voter overview.  In 2016 (, there were 245.5 million 18 or over adults in the US, and 136.8 million voted, or 55.7% of the voting age population (VAP).  The data are not analyzed for citizens.  In ratings with other democracies, the OECD, we are 26th out of 32 with data.  Belgium leads with 87.2%, and for comparison, South Korea had 77.9%, Germany had 69.1%, France 67.9%, Canada 62.1%, and Spain had 61.2%.  Since Trump won by winning three Northern “Blue Wall” states by less than 1% each, strategic turnout is a crucial element.  He also lost the popular vote by 3 million, but that is irrelevant.

We examine donations in the years 2017-2018 to the 2018 House and Senate Races.

We see that less than a half of a percent of the US population gave over $200, and less than a tenth of a percent of the US population or adults gave the legal personal limit of $2,700 to one candidate or over that.  Those that gave the maximum personal limit, 91,718, personally gave $247.6 million to those candidates.

We start with the 2018 Congressional campaigns, with all funds raised and distributed during 2017-2018.  For the years that I have dealt with campaign finance numbers, the horizontal numbers never add up to 100%.  Now, I can quote the Head of the Office of Management and Budget and Chief of Staff, Mick Mulvaney:  “Get Over It”.  A response we should teach every student having trouble with math to say.

The total Democratic donations for House and Senate were $1,614.8 million.  The total Republican donations for House and Senate were $1,117.9 million.   The total for both parties was $2,732.7 million, or $2.73 billion.  The US GDP for 2018 was $20.5 trillion.  It always amazes me that elections and subsequent actions are so important in our lives, yet we only spend 1.3 parts per 10,000 of our GDP, or 1 part in 7,500 of our GDP, on elections on off years.

The Donors giving $2,700+ includes the two categories of $2,700-$9,999 and $10,000+.  The $100,000+ is just a subset of the $10,000+ category.  Notice that Democratic Donors’ totals beat Republican totals in all of these categories.  Out of the total of House and Senate Democratic donations of $1,614.8 million, the Democratic contributions of $2,700 or more, of $1,008.9 million, were 62.5%.

Top Donor Ranking, Party, Name, and Amount to their Main Party in Millions of Dollars.

1 R Adelson 123.7
2 D Bloomberg 94.8
3 D Steyer 73.7
4 R Uihlein 39.8
5 D Sussman 27.5
6 D Simons 22.1
7 D Soros 20.1
8 R Griffin 19.2
9 R Schwarzman 12.9
10 D Eydeaner 12.7
11 D Jurvetson 12.4
12 split Bezos 10.2
13 D Simon 10.0
14 R Mellon 10.1

Numbers 2 and 3, the leading Democrat donors by far, are Michael Bloomberg and Tom Steyer, and are both Democratic candidates for President.  Their total is $168.5 million, and they together beat number 1 and Republican donor Sheldon Adelson who gave $123.7 million.

The top five Democratic donors gave $238.2 million, beating the top five Republican donors at $205.7 million.  The next 5 Democratic donors gave $53.2 million, making the top 10 Democratic donor total $291.4 million.  Of the $1,008.9 million Democratic donations of $2,700 or over, the top 10 gave 28.9%.  The next 5 Republican donors gave $30.0 million, making the top 10 Republican donor total $235.7 million.  Top Democratic donors beat Republicans in all of these figures.

Jeff Bezos gave $10 million to the With Honor Fund, a super PAC that supports military veterans running for office.  They endorsed 14 Republicans and 19 Democrats.  Since it was non-partisan, and I don’t know how it was split up, I didn’t include it in the sums.  He also has a strong program to hire veterans and their spouses in Amazon.

George Soros, who bears the brunt of conspiracy theories, at $20.1 million, was only 6.9% of the top 10 Democratic total.

The medium and large Democratic donors back principals in the range of Democratic principals and are a large part of Democratic fundraising, and should not be shunned.

About Dennis SILVERMAN

I am a retired Professor of Physics and Astronomy at U C Irvine. For a decade I have been active in learning about energy and the environment, and in lecturing and attending classes at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at UC Irvine.
This entry was posted in 2018 Midterm Election, 2020 Election, 2020 Primaries, Congress, Donald Trump, Gun Control, Politics, Swing States, Trump Administration. Bookmark the permalink.

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