According to new campaign finance data from the Federal Election Commission (FEC), Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont is leading President Donald Trump in donations from active members of the United States military, reports Rolling Stone. Sanders is not only ahead of Trump, but also outpacing all Democratic presidential candidates.
According to FEC, Sanders has received $185,625 from active-duty troops so far, while Trump has gotten just $113,012. When it comes to Sanders’ competitors in the Democratic primary race, former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg — who is a military veteran — has received $80,250 in donations. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and former Vice President Joe Biden have gotten $64,604 and $33,045 respectively.
Furthermore, according to data, Sanders is receiving campaign contributions from members of various branches of the military, including the U.S. Air Force, the Department of Defense, the U.S. Navy, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the U.S. Army.
It has been widely reported that Amazon, Walmart, Microsoft, and U.S. Postal Service employees have long financially supported the senator, but the backing he is receiving from the troops has flown under the radar.
This does not come as much of a surprise, according to Rolling Stone, given that active-duty troops tend to throw their support behind candidates they perceive to champion a more dovish foreign policy. Moreover, as the publication notes, even though men and women in the military tend to be conservative-leaning, they are not turned off by the idea of social programs.
This veteran was deported after six years of service.
That is not what our country should ever be about.
I will ensure the return of deported veterans and use my executive authority to allow the family of veterans to live without fear of deportation. pic.twitter.com/niA4sFKyWa
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) January 9, 2020
“Another way to explain Sanders’s popularity is that service members who already receive the sort of health and educational benefits that he wants to make universal are less repelled by the democratic-socialism label than other Republican-leaning voters,” the report reads.
“They understand that being able to go to the doctor or attend college for free is not quite the same thing as living under a dictatorship of the proletariat.”
Sanders’ popularity among members of the U.S. military could also have implications for the 2020 presidential election, should he become the Democratic nominee. In 2016, active-duty troops overwhelmingly supported Trump over then-Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, but in a Trump versus Sanders matchup, it appears that they would support the Vermont Independent.
According to the latest polling, Sanders is ahead in both Iowa and New Hampshire. The Vermont senator appears to be surging at just the right time — days ahead of Iowa caucuses — and after receiving endorsements from unions and various progressive organizations. Earlier this week, he received the endorsement of the 200,000-member American Postal Workers Union, which has vowed to encourage its members to volunteer for the Vermont senator’s campaign.