Trump, RNC leverage digital dominance to raise unprecedented $105M

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President Donald Trump on Tuesday reported raising a stunning $105 million in the second quarter, with $54 million going to his campaign and $51 million headed to the Republican National Committee. 

The Trump campaign said it invested $35 million in digital and email prospecting efforts, expanding on its already-extensive list of supporters from which the campaign — and others in the Republican party — can continually solicit for campaign contributions. 

The massive haul beats out the second quarter fundraising numbers reported by President Barack Obama in 2011 — $46 million — and Hillary Clinton’s nearly $48 million figure in the second quarter of 2015. 

More importantly, Trump’s cash likely dwarfs any of the fundraising figures to be announced by Democratic presidential contenders as candidates prepare to officially file their numbers with the Federal Election Commission on July 15.  

As of Tuesday morning, Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders were the only 2020 Democrats to announce their numbers early. The South Bend, Ind., mayor declared a massive $24.8 million haul, while Sanders announced $18 million in fundraising and another $6 million transferred in from his other federal committees.

Trump’s advantage is heightened by the massive number of Democrats in the field and the lack of a clear favorite. Not only are contributions being split among Democrats, but as the party likely won’t have a prospective nominee for some time, the Democratic National Committee can’t use its presidential contender’s popularity to bring in big money. 

By using his joint fundraising committees to split donor money between his campaign and the RNC, Trump has directed tens of millions of dollars to the Republican party’s main apparatus, further bolstering his own chances in 2020. Meanwhile, the DNC is riddled with debt and has not been able to gain ground with donors.  

Unlike Republican presidential contenders before him, Trump has performed strongly with small donors. His Make America Great Again joint fundraising committee, which primarily facilitates small-dollar contributions through Facebook, Google, email and other online sources, received more than $17 million from contributions under $200 in the first quarter. Trump’s second joint fundraising committee, Trump Victory, solicits big-dollar contributions from wealthy donors at fundraising events, splitting the money between the campaign and the RNC.

Trump has built up an immense list of potential donors by spending big on social media. Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale estimated in January the campaign would have contact information for 40 million to 60 million supporters by election day, giving Trump a well of donors to continually go to. The Trump campaign is renting its list out, providing other Republican candidates with access to millions of potential Republican donors. 

Democrats believe they will catch up, as the DNC debate rules that require a certain number of individual donors have forced Democratic presidential contenders to build up their lists — contact information that will aid the eventual nominee. 

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