Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders started his campaign with a steep financial hill to climb to compete with Hillary Clinton, but the Vermont Senator has finally leveled the playing field.
According to CNN, Bernie Sanders’ total campaign contributions reached $182,923,991 on March 31, which exceeds Clinton’s current campaign funds of $182,242,497. This marks the first time that Sanders has surpassed Clinton in any financial measurable throughout the campaign.
Sanders’ campaign had raised just $14 million by the end of June 2015, while Clinton’s campaign had already raised $47.5 million by that same time. Slowly but surely, Sanders eroded Clinton’s substantial lead thanks to a big boost that started in November.
In 2016, Sanders has been dominating Clinton when it comes to fundraising. His campaign has doubled Clinton’s fundraising efforts every month this year, which has finally placed him in a virtual dead-heat with Clinton when it comes to financial backing.
The “underdog mentality” of Sanders, paired with his progressive policies that are based in socialist principles, have endeared him to young people who have grown tired with the establishment. Roughly 75% of Americans are living paycheck-to-paycheck, and 27% have no savings at all, which has made Sanders a symbol of hope for millions of people.
Unfortunately for his supporters, Sanders’ rapid ascension towards a financial draw with Clinton may have come too late in the election. Although he has eliminated her lead in campaign contributions, Sanders is still far behind Clinton in super PAC support.
Sanders has actually fallen so far behind Clinton in super PAC funds and superdelegates that his growing campaign fund may be essentially worthless. As NBC News reported, many Democratic party members are urging Sanders to drop out of the race after Clinton scored a runaway victory in the New York primary election.
During one of his rallies in Scranton, PA, Sanders only briefly mentioned Clinton and did not give any indication that he would be dropping out of the race anytime soon.
“When I talk about difference between Secretary Clinton and myself, one of the major differences is precisely how we raise money for our campaigns,” Sanders said. He added that Clinton has “several super PACs,” and that she “represents Wall Street and the billionaire class.”
For Sanders to match Clinton’s total funding in time for the Democratic National Convention, he would likely need to embrace super PACs. However, he has largely based his campaign on denouncing such groups, which makes this hard to imagine.