Biden joins the first fundraiser as president

On Thursday, US President Joe Biden boarded Air Force One and flew to the West Coast for the Democratic Party’s rally, marking the first time he has stepped down as president to raise money for his party. It will almost certainly not be the last.

After stopping in Portland, Oregon, Biden headed to Seattle. In both cities, he was the headline of events sponsored by the Democratic National Committee (DNC), where donors, many of them very wealthy, listen to the president speak and answer questions behind closed doors.

The journey marks a late start for Biden, who took office in January 2021. US presidents are usually the main sources of election campaign for their political parties, but a kind of personal event that gives wealthy people personal access to the president has so far been severely restricted by precautionary measures against coronary heart disease.

Huge sums required

Much of the money the president raises on behalf of the DNC is distributed to state party organizations and individual candidates for the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Typically, a president who expects to run for a second term in office also raises money for his own electoral coalition, sometimes in consultation with the National Party Committee. This applies to the presidents of both Democrats and Republicans.

US presidents spend a lot of time raising money because successful US political campaigns have become unusually expensive.

According to data collected by Open Secrets, which monitors donations and spending on a campaign, candidates for the Federal Bureau of Investments spent a staggering $ 7.6 billion in the two-year 2020 election round. to $ 14.4 billion.

2020 set met

In the 2020 presidential race, candidates spent $ 3.95 billion, and parties and interest groups added an additional $ 1.75 billion. The majority of that money was spent in support of the campaigns of former President Donald Trump and then-Democratic presidential candidate Biden, in which the presidential candidates running in the primary were relatively small.

Candidates for the House of Representatives and the Senate spent $ 3.68 billion in the 2020 competition, according to Open Secrets. Party committees and outside groups spent an additional $ 5.05 billion.

A year like 2020, when presidential elections are held, involves much more spending than in elections in the middle of an election period, when presidential candidates are not on the ballot. However, 2020 was incredibly expensive by any standards. Even when adjusted for inflation, the total cost of the 2016 election more than doubled in the previous presidential year.


Political parties and candidates for federal government must submit regular reports to the Federal Electoral Commission (FEC) documenting the amount they have collected and the amount of money they have in hand.

According to FEC data, as of the end of March, the Republican National Committee had received $ 205.6 million in contributions since the beginning of the current round on January 1, 2021, and had $ 44.9 million in cash on hand. During the same period, the Democratic National Committee raised $ 172 million and had $ 52.9 million in cash.

Former President Trump’s political action committee Save America had $ 110.3 million in cash at the end of March, or more than the RNC and DNC combined. The political action committee would be in a position to direct this money to Trump’s election campaign, should the former president choose to run again in 2024.

Arguments for reform

There has been a long-running controversy in the United States over whether the large sums of money flowing through political campaigns have a negative impact on public perception of the federal government.

“The cost of campaigns has skyrocketed for several decades and significantly exceeds inflation,” Ian Vandewalker, a senior lawyer with the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice, told VOA.

He said a large part of the recent increase had been supported by the Supreme Court’s decision in the 2010 case, Citizens United v. FEC, which found that it was unconstitutional for the federal government to limit spending on political campaigns by companies, trade unions and other organizations.

“This has created a kind of arms race for campaign funding, with parties and outside groups supporting everyone stumbling over to seek the largest donations from the largest sponsors,” he said.

Vandewalker and others who support reform of the system argue that the constant need for politicians to raise money for their next election has an eroding effect on public perception of the federal government.

However, not everyone agrees. David Primo, a professor of political science and business at the University of Rochester, and his colleague Jeffrey D. Milyo, chairman of the University of Missouri’s economics department, have conducted research on the question.

They started on the premise that if increased spending on political campaigns had the effect of further undermining public confidence in the federal government, which has already diminished, that contraction should have accelerated in the years following Citizens United’s decision.

“If you look at the attitude towards the government before and after Citizens United, you will simply find no evidence that Citizens United was a breakthrough in that development,” Primo told VOA. “Basically, people distrusted the government before Citizens United and they distrusted the government after Citizens United. There was no significant change. ”

International spin

When it comes to how much money it spends on elections, the United States is an extremist among the nations of the world.

“This is not even close,” Robert Boatright, a professor of political science at Clark University, told VOA.

Boatright, who edited the book in 2015 The moment of abolition of control? Looking at election practices around the world, he said some of the reasons the United States spends so much more are systematic. As elections are held on a regular two-year schedule, the time it takes for candidates to prepare and raise funds is much greater than in countries with parliamentary seats where governments can call elections a few weeks in advance.

In addition, he said: “There is really no public funding for elections in the United States compared to almost any other democratic country. And there is very little control over the spending of outside groups. ”

In terms of population, Boatright, for example, said the United States spends nine times as much money on elections as Canada. And given that the population of the United States is about nine times that of Canada, the total cost of the US election is more than 80 times that of Canada.

Biden joins the first fundraiser as president

Source link Biden joins the first fundraiser as president

Back to top button