Fundraising numbers for the first quarter are coming out this week, and I reckon — in the absence of other data — that it’s a decent gauge of how the race is shaping up. We only have numbers from three candidates, so far: Bernie Sanders raised $18 million; Kamala Harris raised $12 million; and Pete Buttigieg raised a surprising $7 million.
All those numbers are dwarfed by the $25 million that Obama raised in the first quarter of 2007 and the $26 million raised by Hillary Clinton during that period. Then again, this race has far more candidates and a lot more uncertainty about who might be the eventual nominee, so a lot of donors are holding back. It is interesting to note, however, how much grassroots fundraising has changed the dynamics of the race. In 2007, Obama did raise $25 million with 100,000 backers. Sanders has raised money from 900,000 donors; Harris from 218,000 donors; and Buttigieg from 158,000 donors, which is to say, they’re all raising money from more donors than did Obama, but they’re not getting the big dollar amounts yet.
Of course, now that Buttigieg is raising enough money to make him formidable, he’s starting to see a little of the backlash, largely owed to his inexperience and the fact that he’s a white dude. Personally, I’m still leaning toward Kamala, but I also don’t particularly like that Mayor Pete is being put in the same category as Biden, Bernie, and Beto, because it erases the fact that he’s not just any white dude, but a very young gay dude in a country where gay marriage has only been legal for a few years.
But I also think that backlash will pass once (hopefully) the coverage evens out. The media does seem to be focused on Mayor Pete right now, because he’s new and shiny and he’s very good at social media. New things are fun! But by July, no one is “new and shiny” anymore, and the candidates will have to generate their own excitement organically. They’ll have to do it in the debates, and on the stump, and probably on Instagram and Twitter. That’s where they will start to separate themselves (also, I hope Mayor Pete doesn’t get beat up too much, because he’s gonna make a fine VP candidate for Kamala).
But here’s the good news, and the reason why we may all be able to put aside our “electability” concerns: As things stand right now, every goddamn one of them can beat Trump.
Trump trails Biden 53-40, Sanders 49-41, Harris 48-41, Booker 48-41, Warren 48-42, Gillibrand 47-41, O'Rourke 47-41, Buttigieg 45-41.— PublicPolicyPolling (@ppppolls) April 1, 2019
The answer may be that if Trump remains this unpopular most all of the Democratic hopefuls are 'electable.'https://t.co/1oZeu4pjrl
You see how little Trump’s number changes? It’s about a 41. He might get to 42. He might fall to 40. Even against Obama, he’s down 56-40. And as this polling reveals, nothing has changed since the Barr letter (in fact, generic Democrats still lead generic Republicans 51-40 in Congressional races). Trump’s never gonna go above that line, so — as I wrote about last week — the entire race will be about Trump trying to drag his opponent down with him, to make him or her more unpopular than he is. The way things are going, he might succeed with Biden, who has further to fall, and maybe even Bernie, but I don’t see any of those other candidates being divisive enough to drive their disapprovals down as low as Trump.
In other words, vote for whoever the hell you want. They’re all “electable.” So, choose your favorite! And if your real favorite is Joe Biden, uh, dude. Why?
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