Billionaires Don’t Beg: A Money Breakdown Of The Primaries

We’re coining a phrase for this week: “billionaires don’t beg.”  Who knows this better than Donald Trump?

The Donald raised less money than any other candidate who picked up Republican delegates during this primary season, except for John Kasich, who treated the whole process as a gentleman’s pastime.  Trump raised less then some candidates who didn’t even officially manage to score in the Republican race (Ben Carson, I’m looking at you).

Meanwhile, on the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders raised half a billion in combined contributions and collectively spent about $390 million. They did this in order to end up at the exact result that could have been predicted before the process started.

In fact, a lazy pundit could have probably predicted this year’s Democratic candidate 4 (or even 8) years ago.  Nothing was more chalk then this year’s Democratic outcome, though the precise path was more interesting than expected. It was also fun to watch. (Sounds a little like this year’s NBA season).

According to a New York Times, the biggest spender this primary season was Bernie Sanders, with $207 million spent in his primary campaign. That’s after raising nearly $213 million – almost 100% of that from campaign donations.

Not bad for a socialist from Vermont, a state with a total population less than the city of Boston.

In comparison, Clinton spent about $182 million and raised more than $296 million.  Unlike Sanders, she had help from PACs and Super Pacs, though. Nearly $85 million came from those sources.  In terms of of actual campaign donations, no one did better than Bernie.

As for Trump…well, as we said, billionaires don’t have to beg.  Trump raised just $59 million for his campaign.  But he was able to spend his own money and TV networks fell over themselves to get him on air.

Trump’s campaign was by far the most frugal among the major candidates, at least as measured by campaign money raised or spent compared to actual delegates won. In fact, in some cases, it wasn’t even close. For example, Trump’s campaign raised and spent less money than Ben Carson, who got no delegates.

In terms of bang for the buck, only Kasich was in the same league as Trump.  He spent less than $20 million and picked up 165 delegates.

Bush, Cruz and Rubio all raised more than $100 million, though all of them spent far less than they raised.

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