Bernie Sanders supporters got an email Tuesday from Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, founders of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. The businessmen from Vermont are asking supporters to make $3 donations for the presidential candidate prior to the December 31 deadline.
The two men fiercely support Sanders, who they believe is capable of beating the odds. Both are currently stumping for Bernie in early primary states in the hopes of garnering more donations and major wins.
“We’ve known Bernie Sanders for 30 years. And for over 30 years, Bernie’s been fighting for workers’ rights, veterans, students, and senior citizens…As we travel the country campaigning for Bernie, we hear a lot of people saying, ‘I love Bernie, but I am not sure he can win.’ But poll after poll shows Bernie is the most electable Democrat.”
The message reiterates Sanders’s message: the system is rigged, so everyone who is eligible to vote should go in droves to the primaries and vote to show their support of Sanders. And to the naysayers who say he can’t win the nomination, Ben and Jerry both have a reminder for us.
“Every time Bernie ran for office in Vermont, people would say he didn’t have a chance.
But Bernie not only gets elected, he gets re-elected.”
And current trends are looking up for the presidential hopeful. According to The Street, Bernie Sanders has amassed $41.5 million in donations. He has also surpassed Barack Obama in fundraising, breaking a record for the most donations at this point in any presidential campaign thus far.
— Ioannis Pappos (@IoannisPappos) December 30, 2015
Although he shuns SuperPACs, Sanders has received donations through regular PACs from individuals connected to some of Silicon Valley’s biggest tech companies. According to Politico, those donations came from individuals, not the companies themselves, so they are not technically from “big business” but from the rank-and-file employees.
And despite not focusing his campaign efforts in California, specifically Silicon Valley, a whopping 23 percent of Bernie Sanders’s donations have come from the Golden State. And even though Hillary Clinton boasts millions more dollars in donations, much of that has come from SuperPACs and $2,700-per-plate sit-down dinners. The vast majority of Bernie Sanders’ donations, in contrast, have been small, with an average of about $30 per contribution.
The tech companies the support Sanders the most (via their employees) are Google, Microsoft, Apple, and Amazon. The Street also reports that Los Angeles residents give Bernie Sanders the most donations. Burlington, Vermont, and San Francisco are also leading areas where his campaign generates a high number of contributions.
In contrast, more CEOs contribute to Hillary Clinton’s campaign. CNBC reports that as of October 20, Clinton has received more donations than any Republican candidate. The CNBC report points out that most CEOs may lean Republican, but many are independent and “don’t vote along party lines.”
Through her SuperPACs, Clinton has received million-dollar donations from Jeffrey Katzenberg of Dreamworks Animation and Haim Saban, of Saban Entertainment.
What this means is that while Hillary Clinton is generating millions of dollars more in donations, fewer people may be contributing to her campaign. Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders donations come in far larger numbers of individual donors in lesser amounts. The large number of contributions Sanders has generated could be a positive indicator for Iowa, where the Vermont senator is currently spending New Year’s Eve. The success of his campaign is proof positive that a candidate that is sincere, passionate, and honest can motivate the voting base without cheap platitudes and feigned empathy.
Jerry Greenfield, in his call for more donations to Bernie Sanders, made a valid point.
In the end, this election is going to be about big money versus people power.
[Photo: Cindy Ord/Getty]