Biden against Trump – this is the situation regarding donations for the election campaign


Lerato Khumalo

The fight for the office of US president is one thing above all: expensive. With the help of celebrities and entrepreneurs, Biden and Trump are each trying to fill their coffers.

The most important things at a glance

Money wins elections, at least in the USA: The presidential race consumes hundreds of millions of US dollars every time. This makes it all the more important for the candidates to secure strong financial support. Former President Donald Trump and incumbent President Joe Biden know this only too well – after all, they have both won the race once before.

But why do campaign donations play such a much bigger role in the USA than in Germany? And which of the two is currently in the lead? t-online provides an overview.

Elections in the USA are expensive. The 2020 election campaign, in which Biden also ran against Trump, cost around 14 billion US dollars. Donations therefore play a crucial role. No other country in the world has anywhere near such high costs. By comparison, the 2021 federal election only cost around 107 million euros.

This was not always the case: It was only in 2010 that the Supreme Court, the highest court in the USA, ruled that companies have the same rights as citizens. An upper limit on campaign donations is therefore not permitted. Direct donations from citizens to candidates are still limited to $2,800 per year, but lobby organizations can accept as many donations as they want.

So-called Super Political Action Committees, or Super PACs for short, therefore receive many large donations. The PACs are not allowed to pass the money on directly to the candidate, but they can, for example, place election advertisements.

Trump is currently leading not only in the polls, but also in the amount of donations. In the second quarter of the current year, Trump was able to collect 331 million dollars in donations. Of this, 112 million dollars came in June alone.

Biden was able to raise $264 million in the same period. However, he overtook Trump at least in June’s revenue – where his campaign recorded an increase of $127 million.

Of course, the two campaigns also regularly spend money, for example on commercials, flyers and major campaign events. The bottom line is that Trump currently has more cash at his disposal than Biden. As of the end of June, he had $184.9 million at his disposal, while Biden had $240 million.

Biden did poorly in the first TV debate against his opponent Trump last week, as polls showed afterwards (read more about that here). Biden’s campaign team had therefore tried to reassure important donors. In a conference call with hundreds of major donors on Monday, campaign advisers assured that Biden’s poll numbers had hardly suffered.

With success: the willingness to donate increased in the wake of the debate. According to Biden’s campaign team, it received donations totaling around 33 million US dollars in the days that followed.

During another conference call with around 40 major donors on Sunday, Biden’s campaign manager Julie Chávez Rodríguez was asked whether the campaign would offer a refund if Biden did not run. She then made it clear: No, there would be no refund in such a case. But the money would not automatically go to the party either, but would be available to the current Vice President Kamala Harris.

Most donors pay small amounts of up to $200. According to Biden’s team, such small donors make up 95 percent of supporters. But to raise the millions needed for a US election campaign, both candidates rely on wealthy donors.

Among them are Hollywood stars such as Julia Roberts, George Clooney and Barbra Streisand, who have spoken out for Biden and are helping to raise funds. At a gala in June, they raised $28 million for the campaign. Read more about prominent supporters in the election campaign here.