Election 2020

Bernie, Kamala, and Probably Beto Raised More Money in the First Quarter Than Gary Johnson Did During Entire 2016 Campaign

Sobering reminder for all current and future Libertarians: A previously unknown mayor from a midsized Indiana college town will soon shatter the high-water fundraising numbers for America's third party.


||| Staton Rabin/ZUMA Press/Newscom
Staton Rabin/ZUMA Press/Newscom

The first quarter for presidential campaign fundraising ended March 31, and though the reporting deadline is April 15, three candidates have already spilled digits:

* Sen. Bernie Sanders (I–Vt.) has raised $18 million from 900,000 donors.

* Sen. Kamala Harris (D–Calif.) has raised $12 million from 218,000 donors.

* Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D) of South Bend, Indiana, has raised $7 million from 159,000 donors.

Now, there's a whole lot that we don't know yet, including how much the campaigns spent on acquiring those donations (or on other activities), and, obviously, the totals from the other 368 people running for president. Beto O'Rourke, to name one competitor, raised $6.1 million from 128,000 donors in the first 24 hours of his campaign, narrowly topping Sanders's initial $5.9 million from 223,000; he'll likely be north of Harris. (APRIL 3 UPDATE: This prediction turned out wrong; O'Rourke ended up with $9.4 million from 218,000 donors during the quarter.) There's also the issue of differential timing:

Meanwhile, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D–Mass.) is facing fundraising challenges that have already led in part to her finance director resigning. All this furious interest at a time when even recent campaign cycles were in their embryonic stages:

Still, we can make one assertion with confidence: In just the first three months of the year before the election, several 2020 Democratic contenders will shatter the record fundraising haul over the entirety of the 2016 campaign by Libertarian Gary Johnson.

||| Matt Welch
Matt Welch

Johnson and running mate Bill Weld in 2016 raised over $11 million—the Federal Elections Commission says $11.2 million; OpenSecrets has it at $11.9 million (neither included total number of donors). The money dwarfed Johnson's 2012 haul of just under $2 million, and cleared by a comfortable margin the inflation-adjusted 1980 total for Ed Clark and David Koch of $7.7 million in 2016 dollars (of which a reported $6.2 million came from Koch himself).

So the Libertarian Party glass-half-full interpretation is, getta load of those great trendlines, both in presidential fundraising and votes! The half-empty analysis, on the other hand, is brutal: The largely unknown 37-year-old mayor of the country's 301st largest city, currently polling at around seventh place and in the low single digits, will likely break the L.P.'s all-time presidential fundraising record more than 17 months before the 2020 election. When two-party emotions run high, nontraditional candidates die.

Or maybe not! Predicting anything in American politics is a mug's game, and who knows what, say, a Justin Amash Libertarian presidential candidacy could do to the cruel fundraising math of 2019. Speaking of which, here's a long Michigan Live profile from this week on the libertarian Republican's L.P. flirtation, and also Kennedy asked Amash about it on her eponymous Fox Business Network program last night:

NEXT: Supreme Court Turns Away Georgia Cash Bail Challenge

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  1. What kind of self-respecting, libertarian-minded individual would legally give money to a politician?

    1. The kind who wants to survive.

      1. If that individual wanted to survive they would be better off spending money on food and ammunition.

        1. The more freedom and constitution loving politicians in office, the less spare food and ammo you need because the chances for Revolutionary War 2.0 go down.

          1. freedom and constitution loving politicians

            This guy.

        2. Sounds like someone is deep in the pocket of Big Food and Ammo.

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    2. I’d donate to any Democrat (except Tulsi Gabbard) if I could. Unfortunately as Paul Krugman predicted we’re in a global recession, with no end in sight so I cannot afford any donations this time.

      1. It’s sad that Vladimir Putin policy has directly lead to your current dire straits. At least under Bush we could feel confident that we were suffering under the direction of an idiot but an american idiot.

      2. Sounds like you need to learn to code OBLT

      3. You have an extra kidney, don’t you? How serious are you about fighting Orange Hitler, OBL?

    3. A leppo.

  2. Money is not all that is required to win major elections.

    Trump won the election before he got most of his donation money. In fact, trump won the election before election night.

    Hillary had way more money than trump did and she lost.

    These 2020 Socialists will all collect a bunch of money and lose too.

    1. Trump believed in Trump.
      Hillary believed in polls of democrats, and in her destiny.
      So what do we learn here, boys and girls?

      1. Someone should write a book about how much Democrats are in denial about the 2016 election strategies and failures.

        Honestly, I don’t want Democrats to learn from their mistakes because that Party needs to die. It is just amazing how Democrats just refuse to change anything to avoid the failures of 2016 and 2018.

        1. failures of 2016 and 2018

          Yeah, Democrats still haven’t recovered from 2018’s “Red Wave.”


          1. Too bad it wasn’t a Blue Wave.

          2. Whens the last time the party in power GAINED senate seats?

            1. The Democrats running for re-election to the Senate were under two disadvantages. One was the numbers; it just happened that more Democrats were up for re-election, and in more states that are close to 50-50. The second is that the national leadership prepped for that election by requiring their Senators to take a purity test in public – showing they believed in guilty-until-proven-innocent when they voted against Kavanaugh. Only Joe Manchin rejected that, and he won his election in a rather conservative state.

          3. “”Yeah, Democrats still haven’t recovered from 2018’s “Red Wave.””‘

            I think that’s true. You can tell by how they complain about the Senate blocking their whims and outing their positions on the New Green Deal.

      2. … to believe in Trump?

    2. Most of these fucks are only running for the donation money, anyway. You know they get to keep most of it they don’t end up spending on the campaign, yes? That’s why they love socialism (aside from AOC, she’s just an actress). They get to reap the rewards of bleeding the productive class dry.

    3. You’re insane. The 59 million a random meme troll farm in Russia spent decided our last election.

  3. And yet we will, with a straight face, ask these clowns why they can’t balance a budget.
    The job only pays a couple hundred thousand, you know.

    1. Because if we balance the budget, people will die!

    2. We can’t balance the budget because idiots on both sides believe baseline budgeting is a required process and government must grow faster than economic expansion.

  4. The amount of money raised is not an indication of future success.

    1. It is very indicative of corruption.

      1. And/or delusion.

        1. Worst of all, it’s a direct measurement of just how important people view federal control of government in their life.

    2. On the low side, it is. If you’re dismal at fundraising, you’re not going to win. Once they’ve proven you’re not dismal at it, everyone above that bar has a chance, & piling it on doesn’t assure success.

  5. You didn’t raise that!

    1. [looks down sadly at bulge in pants]

  6. The people complaining about money in politics are the people pulling money into politics.

    1. Until power and the accumulation of resources become something other than one-in-the-same, money and politics will always go hand-in-hand.

      1. See I believe in money, power, and respect.
        First you get the money.
        Then you get the motherfucking, power.
        After you get the fucking power motherfuckers will respect you.

  7. It’s encouraging to see my first choice Kamala Harris doing so well. Bernie Sanders is a good candidate too, but some of his past comments ? like the absolutely absurd “open borders is a Koch Brothers plot to depress wages and enrich billionaires” ? keep him out of my top tier.

  8. How much has McAfee raised?

    1. Whatever it ultimately is we know that the IRS won’t be seeing a single cent of it.

    2. Several thousand glasses of scotch since January

    3. He’a got a whale of a war chest.

  9. Libertarian moment!!

  10. Barring a recession, none of them have a chance.

    1. We will see. I expect a recession before the election. No idea how bad it will be, could be a very easy one, but we’re about due.

      1. Let’s just say the economy, which clearly has a mind of it’s own, continues unabated for the next year + 8 months [is that so far fetched?]; and “notorious” RGB kicks the old cancer bucket [they say third time is the charm]; Trump replacing her with ACB, and then getting re-elected for another four years; would that bring about a civil war*, do you think?

        *this could range from riots in major cities to actual secession and armed conflict [I know; I should never have read those Kurt Schlichter books]

        1. The economy does not have a mind of its own. It is directly controllable by the President!

        2. “riots in major cities”

          So progressives literally attacking themselves rather than metaphorically?

          Let them riot, rich white progressives have gotten too smug and comfortable

        3. It’s not worth many people’s while to shoot people.

  11. Hooray for the Booty Judge!

  12. When two-party emotions run high, nontraditional candidates die.

    That’s only because the upcoming election is the most important happening in all of human history.

      1. [averts eyes from Crusty’s meatspin]

    1. The ghosts of voters from 1864 would like to have a word with you.

  13. The average man does not want to be free. He simply wants to be safe.

    Libertarians are going to have to wait until the leftists take control of the democratic party before anyone the average person recognizes the freedoms the left plans to steal

    1. They won’t know it until the freedoms are stolen. Then it’s a little late because the average man does not want revolution.

  14. So long as the Libertarian party remains a joke, it won’t get a penny more. Stop playing principles and start playing politics.

  15. I’m thinking that the Libertarian Party might have better luck if it could explain why it even exists. We already have a party that represents the nation’s traitors and freak shows. Why do we need two of them?

  16. This is not at all surprising about GJ. What is though is that Buttigieg guy has raised 7 million already and that he’s being taken seriously at all, given his last name. Would anyone vote for someone whose last name has butt in it, and sounds an awful lot like buttplug?

  17. today the sun also rose in the east and will set in the west. the sky is blue, water runs downhill, and the LP will never win a major election.

    1. Agree about the futility of the LP. That’s why all serious libertarians should vote Democrat.

  18. Which is why libertarians should not back candidates in the LP. If you want to do politics, do it right.

  19. Fuck the government !!!

    Have a nice day ;~)

  20. Can reason stop reporting number if campaign donors? These numbers are highly conducive to fraud. Donations under 250, if I remember, don’t have to be tracked by name or vetted. This is why Democrats encourage these types of donations. The numbers are meaningless without knowledge of who is making these untracked donations. They are done to make the ignorant media think big donors arent the backbone of Democrats. Its embarrassing that reason is backing these propaganda releases.

    1. Embarassing, but characteristic

  21. The L.P. has to start promising free stuff if it wants to compete with the Dems on fundraising.

    A fool and his money and all that.

  22. how about versus Calvin Coolidge during an equivalent time window?

  23. People like gimmies and handouts more than fake libertarians who believe in minimal government unless you dare not bake a SSM cake and are so terrified of winning that they will support socialist incumbents over new movements on the right that will if nothing else at least help the cause of liberty by providing a boost to the currently pathetic opposition to society’s current leftward lurch. Shocker.

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  25. “”Beto XXX in 18 days””

    Is this a porn movie reference?

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