With Bernie Sanders raising $18 million and Elizabeth Warren raising $19 million, the leaders of the progressive wing of the 2020 pack combined brought in $37 million in the last quarter — all without taking money from wealthy interests in Wall Street or Silicon Valley.
While Wall Street has favored former Vice President Joe Biden longer than he’s been in the race and South Bend, Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg has benefited from fundraising from Blackstone before a recent turn to Silicon Valley for funding, both candidates have struggled with recent polls.
Meanwhile, Senator Warren (D-Massachusetts) swore off corporate donations, pulling in her $19 million with an average donation of just $28. Senator Sanders (I-Vermont), meanwhile, pulled in nearly as much — $18 million — with an average donation of only $18.
And while Biden has assured his wealthy backers that nothing would change for them under a Biden presidency, both Sanders and Warren have made addressing the wealth gap in America central planks of their broader platforms.
Sanders’ plan to eliminate student debt in America, which is gaining traction among mainstream journalists, would do so by levying a tax on high-frequency Wall Street stock traders in the form of a financial transaction tax (FTT), which has alarmed some of the richest stock speculators.
Warren, meanwhile, proposed a tax on overall accumulated wealth. Her proposal levies a 2% tax on Americans with assets totaling over $50 million increased to 3% on assets totaling more than $1 billion. Voters really like the idea, with even half of Republicans agreeing with the proposal.
Given their platforms, it’s hardly surprising that Warren and Sanders are the leaders in amassing small donations.
Donations under $200 are considered “small donations” by the Federal Elections Commission, as that is the threshold at which campaigns must report the donor’s name, employer, and address. While small donations don’t necessarily come from small donors, we know the leading employers of Sanders donors include Walmart, Amazon, and the U.S. Postal Service.
While Buttigieg and Biden are besting them in overall financial performance, it is Warren and Sanders leading the pack on grassroots fundraising.
Katelyn Kivel is a contributing editor and senior legal reporter for Grit Post in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Follow her on Twitter @KatelynKivel.