Thursday, November 12, 2015


Hello dear readers. I'm dragging you along with me as I explore the two front-runner candidates for the Democratic Party nomination for President of the United States. Today I'm looking at campaign contributions. There are a lot of numbers available to look at, but perhaps one of the key graphics is to look at the summary chart and table of contributions for each candidate (Source: open

Above: Clinton campaign.

Above: Sanders campaign.

There are three major differences in these numbers:
  1. Clinton has raised a lot more money than Sanders ($97+ million to $41+ million),
  2. Sanders does not have a PAC (Political Action Committee), and
  3. Sanders has a greater percent contributions from small donors than Clinton (74% to 17%).
The first point seems obvious, the Clintons are more well-known than Sanders, have built a large network of wealthy liberal donors since President Clinton's campaigns, and are popular with the wealthy and corporate class in America.

The second point is a basic philosophical and political decision by Sanders to "walk the talk," as he likes to say. He has been very critical of campaign financing for many years, thinks the Citizens United decision by the SCOTUS has given control of elections to the wealthiest Americans, and decided early on, against the advice of his political advisors, not to accept money from PACs and Super-PACs. 

As a result of the above, the Sanders campaign has focused on small donors to fund the campaign. Sanders is popular with young voters and many progressive/far-left voters, and large numbers of these people send small donations.

Are these differences meaningful? Perhaps they are if large donors expect something in return when their candidate is elected. There have been questions about the Clinton donors, and the ties between the donors to the Clinton Foundation and the political campaign. In many minds, this is a difference between political business as usual and a different kind of political business. 

Bottom line: these are data, you decide what it means to you. 


Below I'm pasting additional interesting data, if you want more to puzzle over. Data for Clinton are on the left, for Sanders on the right. 

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