Australian voters think that six weeks is a long time for an election campaign. And that spending a few million dollars to gain office is far too much.
In the US, it’s a very different story. Although the next presidential election is more than 18 months away, the campaigning is already well underway. And the donations are rolling in at record pace.
At least they are for US President Donald Trump, who’s campaign team is on track to reach their US$1 billion target by 2020. That’s right. US$1 billion (AU$1.4 billion) to ensure Trump remains president through 2024.
The amount raised for Trump’s re-election campaign will reportedly raise over US$30 million (AU$42 million) in the first quarter of 2019, AP reports. Combined, this edges out his top two Democratic competitors.
Now, the cash available for the campaign has reached US$40.8 million (AU$56.9 million). This is an unparalleled amount for an incumbent president so early on in a campaign.
Low-dollar donations helping raise funds
The president’s campaign claims that close to 99% of the donations they have received were US$200 or less. The average donation is US$34.26.
This fundraising capability was complemented by the Republican National Committee (RNC), which has raised US$45.8 million in the first quarter of the year — its highest non-election year sum.
Collectively, the pro-Trump determination is claiming US$82 million in the bank. And US$40.8 million for the campaign alone.
Merely hours after taking office in 2017, Trump propelled his re-election effort. This is the earliest re-election effort of an incumbent president.
For example, Former President Barack Obama launched his 2012 campaign in April 2011. And at that point only had US$2 million in the bank.
The then president raised more than US$720 million for his re-election campaign. Trump is aiming to raise US$1 billion for his 2020 attempt.
Brad Parscale, Trump’s campaign manager, made a statement that Trump ‘is in a vastly stronger position at this point than any previous incumbent president running for re-election, and only continues to build momentum.’
The president’s fundraising with the RNC is split in to two units: Trump Victory; the joint account for extravagant gifts, and the Trump Make America Great Again Committee — the inexpensive digital fundraising operation, also known as ‘T-Magic’, according to AP.
Trump is profiting from the rewards of tenure, such as worldwide name recognition and his position at the top of the totem pole of the Republican Party.
Democrats struggling to keep up
For the Democrats, funds are split throughout the candidate field of more than a dozen. The Democratic National Committee (DNC) is currently in debt and has struggled due to being intensely out-raised in recent months by the RNC.
Bernie Sanders sits at the head of the Democratic field in the first quarter, raising just over US$18 million. The next closest candidate is Kamala Harris, sitting on US$12 million and then Beto O’Rourke with US$9.4 million.
In his opening speech in 2015, Trump stated he wouldn’t use outside money:
‘I’m using my own money. I’m not using the lobbyists’. I’m not using donors’. I don’t care. I’m really rich.’
After winning the GOP nomination, he changed his mind on high-dollar donations, succumbing to the financial pressures that come with running an election campaign. Plus, he has already raised millions due to merchandise sales, such as his red Make America Great Again hats.
Trump either donated or loaned US$66 million to his 2016 campaign. He hasn’t spent any of his own money for his newest re-election efforts.
Free Report: Australia’s right to free speech is under attack! Discover how a select group of Australians want to stifle your fundamental right to speak your mind — and what you can do help turn the tide. Download now.