John Wagner reports in the Post today that the Sanders campaign has already raised $36 million in February, almost all online. More, Bernie’s people are aiming to finish the month at $40 million, an amazing total that would almost certainly far eclipse Hillary Clinton’s February take. But does it matter?
As plenty of commentators have noted, Sanders faces potentially fatal challenges building a diverse coalition that can win states beyond his northeastern base. As a result, the delegate math so far doesn’t favor him, no matter how much he can raise from his devoted followers. Have we found another limit to what political money can do?
As this election cycle progressed, Jeb! Bush’s campaign clearly demonstrated the limits of BIG political money. He spent hundreds of dollars for each actual vote he received, with his SuperPAC spending THOUSANDS for each voter who marked a ballot for him (Right to Rise spent more than $100 million trying to build him up). As we all know, Donald Trump blew Bush out of the water without breaking a sweat — or breaking the bank (most of his media presence came for free).
If big money failed Bush, small money may fail Bernie, though it can keep him competitive through the end. But if he loses most of the Super Tuesday primaries and wins others by tight margins, Clinton will continue to run up the delegate totals and push him farther back into his corner. If so, we can chalk up another defeat for fundraising professionals in the post-Citizens United political world. Money can buy a lot, but it can’t buy love — and it takes a lot of supporter love to make it to the White House.