Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) has already amassed a significant war chest in just the first few hours of his presidential campaign.
According to The Daily Beast, the Sanders campaign raised more than $1.2 million from approximately 42,000 donors in the first three and a half hours of his campaign announcement. That amounts to an average contribution of $28.57 per donor. The Beast also pointed out that the record set by Senator Kamala Harris (D-California), who raised $1.5 million from 38,000 donors in the first 24 hours of her campaign — and proceeded to boast that she raised a greater amount of money in a shorter amount of time than Sanders did in 2016 on his first day — has since been broken.
The Sanders campaign of 2016 consistently pointed out that the average donation to his campaign was $27, and he proceeded to break numerous fundraising records by soliciting campaign contributions from his massive email list of millions of supporters. According to Mother Jones, Sanders raised $218 million from 2.8 million donors during the 2016 Democratic primary. Waleed Shahid of Justice Democrats tweeted data showing that in Sanders’ last campaign, 59 percent of his donations were less than $200, compared to only 38 percent for Donald Trump, and just 17 percent for Hillary Clinton.
Perhaps the biggest thing that too often goes understated about Bernie Sanders is who he is accountable to.
Only 3% of Sanders' campaign contributions in 2016 came from amounts over $100k, compared to 40% for Trump and 47% for Clinton.
59% of his donations were under $200. pic.twitter.com/R77FuL1KWU
— Waleed Shahid (@_waleedshahid) February 19, 2019
The Vermont senator officially announced his campaign early Tuesday morning, after much speculation that he was preparing to do so. He rolled out a two-minute announcement video on his official Twitter account, which is likely the 2020 video Politico reported on last week, leading many to believe an announcement was imminent. The video harped on Sanders’ pushing for Medicare for All, tuition-free public college, a $15/hour minimum wage, an end to the U.S.-sponsored war in Yemen, and criminal justice reform.
I'm running for president. I am asking you to join me today as part of an unprecedented and historic grassroots campaign that will begin with at least 1 million people from across the country. Say you're in: https://t.co/KOTx0WZqRf pic.twitter.com/T1TLH0rm26
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) February 19, 2019
Sen. Sanders is entering a crowded 2020 Democratic primary field, but is quickly becoming the frontrunner, given his fundraising prowess and grassroots organizing infrastructure. And that infrastructure may be rapidly expanding — Sanders called for one million active volunteers to support his 2020 bid for the White House. The first primary debate of the 2020 cycle will take place in June.
Tom Cahill is a contributor for Grit Post who covers political and economic news. He lives in Bend, Oregon. Send him an email at tom DOT v DOT cahill AT gmail DOT com.