SHHH.... I've got a secret to share with you. Though money was supposed to be the forte of Hillary and Jeb Bush, those two bastions of wealth, it's actually the very unwealthy, unconnected Bernie Sanders and his campaign that have outsmarted Jeb and Hillary on campaign financing. And Bernie's done it six ways to Sunday!
You won't see this covered in the media because, oddly enough, money management in political campaigns seems to bore the political "experts". They pipe on and on about the raising of money and about Citizens United, but they don't pay attention to how money is handled in campaigning. For example, they looked at Obama's campaign trouncing Romney in money-handling in 2008 and never caught on. Then they woke up at the end of the campaign season and wondered why Romney was way behind Obama in advertising.
But let's stay with Bernie and Hillary and Jeb. It's hilarious.
Jeb Bush has sucked up $133.3 million in campaign contributions. Hillary has scooped up $97.7 million. But Bernie Sanders has actually whipped their whatsises! Get this: Jeb Bush has only $14.5 million cash on hand to spend. Hillary has only $33 million cash on hand.
Bernie, however, has $27.1 million cash on hand! He's got twice as much on hand as does Jeb and almost as much as Hillary.
No wonder he's dancing! Let's take a time-out here for fun! Bernie dancing on the Ellen DeGeneres show: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXq-hU5d2bc#t=147
Keep in mind now, by comparison with the much-hailed political behemoths Hillary and Jeb, good old Bernie had raised $41.5 million by the time of the first debate. And it's ALL in individual contributions. Setting aside their untouchable pac monies which Hillary and Jeb cannot use, Hillary had raised $77.5 million from individual donors, almost twice what Bernie had raised form individuals. A pathetic Jeb Bush had raised only $24.8 from individuals.
But Bernie has been careful with his spending. The $27.1 million in cash he has is TWICE what Jeb has and almost as much as Hillary. Bush has spent $10 million more than Bernie has and has nothing to show for it. Now he has only half the cash on hand Bernie does. Hillary beat Bernie in fund-raising by more than DOUBLE but he's only $4 million behind her in cash on hand and may have made up most of that in the days immediately following the Democratic debate by pulling in another $2 million. And he is going to have LOTS MORE from that source and she isn't!
What is going on! Two things. First, both Jeb and Hillary have been spending a lot of money. Bernie hasn't. Presumed front runners of wealth, like Jeb and Hillary, have to pay high salaries to the campaign pros. You can't get off on the cheap when you are known to have stuffed pockets and are presumed front-runners. Also, keep in mind, that the "cash in hand" category includes only the balance of money the candidates raised through their campaigns. Most of the monstrous sums Jeb and Hillary have raised was actually raised by their super-pacs.
And they can't touch that pac money for actual campaigning! For real campaign expenses — organizers' salaries, phones, travel, pizza for volunteers, etc. — they can't use pac money. About all pac money can do is buy ads. Believe me, massive advertising doesn't win elections. Volunteers guided by organizers for precinct work and get-out-the vote — that's what wins elections. And pizza fuels the volunteers.
Bernie Sanders is now in as good a position financially as Hillary Clinton to build a campaign throughout the country.
In fact, he's in a better position! Here's why. The average contribution he has received is $38. The limit on contributions an individual can make is $2700. Therefore, Bernie can go back to those same contributors and get more money! Again and again and again.
By and large, Hillary can't. Her money came in much larger chunks. Many of her contributors have already "maxed out". They have given the $2700 limit and legally can give no more.
But maybe a whole new bunch of Hillary contributors will emerge. You really believe that? If so, where are they? Wouldn't they have begun to emerge significantly after the Democratic debate this week? Bernie's new supporters certainly did. With the headlines yelping that Hillary had "won the debate", wouldn't her new admirers have jumped on board? And if Hillary actually was being inundated with a new round of contributions, wouldn't she have let us know about it?
Bernie certainly did. He literally danced out onto the set of Ellen DeGeneres' show when the new contributions hit $2 million within two days after the debate. Here he is again! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXq-hU5d2bc#t=147
So this is the money stuff you look for in campaigning. Not who piled up how much, but what they did with it. Not who has how much left but what they can legally do with it. And never forget Scott Walker, the experts' favorite a year ago and now a GOP dropout. He had the Koch brothers and their billions but they couldn't pay the rent on one headquarters or buy one round of pizza for volunteers. Bye-bye, Scottie.
So who is really looking like a winner? Why, it's the guy who came out dancing, that's who. The old guy from Vermont, the non-capitalist who just beat financial hell out of the wealthy, well-connected Jeb and Hillary.
You gotta love it!
For a complete collection of the data I have cited (but not this kind of analysis),
see the New York Times story "Which Candidates Are Winning the Money Race" at
For the NYT tardy update that now begins to notice some of what I just told you, see: