I’ll be the first to admit I did not see this coming. Back when it was announced Trump had appointed ex-Goldman Sachs banker, Steven Mnuchin, to be his national finance chairman, I assumed this would mean Hillary Clinton-esque oligarch pandering would rapidly ensure. Surprisingly (to me), this has not really been the case.
Indeed, when it comes to raising money from small donors, Trump may have a little Bernie Sanders in him.
Donald Trump has unleashed an unprecedented deluge of small-dollar donations for the GOP, and one that Republican Party elders have dreamed about finding for much of the last decade as they’ve watched a succession of Democrats — Barack Obama, Bernie Sanders and, to a lesser extent, Hillary Clinton — develop formidable fundraising operations, $5, $10 and $20 at a time.
Trump has only been actively soliciting cash for a few months, but when he reveals his campaign’s financials later this week they will show he has crushed the total haul from small-dollar donors of the last two Republican nominees, John McCain and Mitt Romney — during the entirety of their campaigns.
Love him or hate him, Donald Trump has an actual political movement behind him. John McCain and Mitt Ronmey did not, and neither does Hillary Clinton.
All told, Trump is approaching, and has possibly already passed, $100 million from donors who have given less than $200, according to an analysis of available Federal Election Commission filings, the campaign’s public statements and people familiar with his fundraising operation. It is a threshold no previous Republican has ever achieved in a single campaign. And Trump has done so less than three months after signing his first email solicitation for donors on June 21 — a staggering speed to collect such a vast sum.
“I’ve never seen anything like this,” said a senior Republican operative who has worked closely with the campaign’s small-dollar fundraising operation. “He’s the Republican Obama in terms of online fundraising.”
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