US Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) has become the first presidential candidate to attract two million individual campaign contributions, The Huffington Post reported. That’s twice as many as Barack Obama received in 2008. Obama set the previous record for such fundraising back then with one million individual donations.
It’s rather unprecedented, but it is also hard to see what that adds up to. Most of the contributions were small, below $30, but they could still add up to a lot of money. If the average contribution was $30, that would mean Sanders raked in $60 million, which is a respectable war chest.
That also means that Sanders has received the most individual campaign contributions of any candidate since 1980, The Washington Post reported. What’s also interesting is that the Political Action Committee that’s raised the most money this cycle supports Sanders, The Post’s Philip Bump noted.
This would seem to mean that Sanders has done the best job of mobilizing grassroots supporters so far this cycle, which is the key to winning American elections—although that does not mean he’s the front runner. It does indicate an impressive ability to mobilize voters and a high level of popular support.
Big Union Endorses Sanders
Sanders has done a very poor job of receiving endorsements, although he has picked up the endorsement of a major union, the Communications Workers of America (CWA), The Christian Science Monitor reported. The CWA has 700,000 members, but it is the only big union that’s come out for Bernie.
Hillary has been endorsed by 18 national unions, which represent around 11 million members, The Monitor pointed out. Union endorsements are critical for Democratic presidential candidates because labor groups can mobilize lots of voters in primary elections.
Major PAC Endorses Bernie
More surprisingly, Sanders received the endorsement of Democracy for America, a left-wing political action committee (PAC) founded by former Vermont governor and failed presidential candidate Howard Dean. Around 88% of the group’s 271,527 members voted to endorse Sanders, even though Dean himself told them not to, USA Today reported.
Such endorsements do not automatically translate into actual votes. Over in the Republican primary, Jeb Bush, who has been hovering in the 3% level in the polls, received the highest score on Five Thirty Eight’s Endorsement Primary, while leader Donald Trump has apparently received no major endorsements.
It sounds as if Sanders has a lot of grassroots support, much as U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) does in the GOP contest. One has to wonder if it will be enough to overcome Hillary’s lock on the party establishment.