This chart shows how both Republicans and Democrats have become dependent on wealthy donors during the past 30 or so years.
In 1980, both political parties received well over half their donations from small donors—those who gave less than $1,500 in 2012 dollars. In 2012, they both received more than a quarter of their contributions from mega-donors–people who could afford to give more than $5,616.
Mega-donors are expected to account for an even larger share in the 2016 election. So far 158 families, who’ve contributed more than $250,000 each, have contributed $176 million to the campaign. Together with 200 additional families who’ve given more than $100,000 each, that is more than half the reported campaign contributions.
But, as Ben Carson shows among the Republicans and Bernie Sanders among the Democrats, big money is not invincible. A sufficiently popular candidate can raise as much in small donations as their rivals can obtain from a few super-rich people.
How Did the Democrats Become Favorites of the Rich? by Thomas B. Edsall for The New York Times.
The Families Funding the 2016 Presidential Election by Nicholas Confessore, Sarah Cohen and Karen Yourish for The New York Times.
Tags: Campaign Donors