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Biden Digs In as Donors Get Cold Feet

The president spends big on offense despite donors withholding funds.

by | Jul 6, 2024 | Articles, Opinion, Politics

That many donors have recently discontinued their contributions to Democrats — claiming their wallets will remain closed until Biden leaves the race — only seems to embolden the president’s defiance. He’s ramped up spending and intends to travel as if he were a young candidate without a curfew.

According to CNN, Biden’s campaign announced Friday to anticipate a $50 million “paid media blitz” and an “aggressive travel schedule” for July. The president will visit each battleground state to increase public messaging and even “engage in frequent off-the-cuff moments.” His team also stated it will make “strategic investments,” capitalizing on big events like the Republican National Convention and the 2024 Olympics. For media, the team says it’ll focus on pivotal states using TV, digital ads, and radio, all of which will emphasize Biden’s stance on democracy, the economy, and abortion. The campaign also intends to spend $17 million on canvassing for the next two months.

Meanwhile, the list of donors calling for the president to bow out is growing. Yet Biden is boldly moving forward and bolstering his offense. Is he trying to prove he’s still capable of running the country or that he’s the nation’s best option?

The Donors Have Spoken

One of the earliest Democratic donors to opine that Biden should withdraw was Reed Hastings, the co-founder of Netflix. On Wednesday, he told The New York Times that Biden “needs to step aside to allow a vigorous Democratic leader to beat Trump and keep us safe and prosperous.”

Since the Trump administration, Hastings and his wife, Patty Quillin, have donated more than $20 million to the Democratic Party: About $1.5 million went to Biden’s 2020 campaign. The couple also contributed $100,000 last year to support the president’s bid for re-election.

Hastings didn’t explicitly say he would put away his checkbook, but other donors have. The heiress to the Disney family fortune, Abigail Disney, told CNBC: “I intend to stop any contributions to the party and until they replace Biden at the top of the ticket. This is realism, not disrespect. Biden is a good man and has served his country admirably, but the stakes are far too high. If Biden does not step down the Democrats will lose. Of that I am absolutely certain. The consequences for the loss will be genuinely dire.”

Gideon Stein, the president of the Moriah Fund, is also withholding funds. “Joe Biden has been a very effective president, but unless he steps aside my family and I are pausing on more than $3 million in planned donations to nonprofits and political organizations aligned with the presidential race, with the exception of some down ballot work. Virtually every major donor I’ve talked to believes that we need a new candidate in order to defeat Donald Trump.”

Another blow to Biden came on Wednesday, when the Emmy-winning Damon Lindelof published an essay in Deadline, recommending “a DEMbargo. No checks written. No ActBlue links clicked. For anyone.”

In Lindelof’s conclusion, he wrote:

“When they text you asking for cash, text back that you’re not giving them a penny and you won’t change your mind until there’s change at the top of the ticket. And when Joe finally leaves the mound, I will stand and applaud. Because he truly pitched a great game.

“But I’m ready to hear the walkout song for our closer. And once I do, I’m going to double the size of the checks … I’m going to write so many damn checks my hand will cramp.”

Even though Biden’s campaign raised $264 million in the second quarter, if donors keep cutting him off and he keeps spending as if the well is endless, he might be campaigning in a camper van come September.

But the president doesn’t appear to be budging and, on a recent call with staffers, said, “Let me say this as clearly as I possibly can, as simply and straightforward as I can: I am running … no one’s pushing me out. I’m not leaving. I’m in this race to the end and we’re going to win.”

Is Biden being selfish, desperately trying to hold onto power despite his inability to form coherent sentences consistently? Does he know his actions don’t only affect him but his entire party? Maybe he’s in denial and can’t see the forest for the trees. Regardless of what’s happening inside his head, somebody should tell him he’s not running for class president.

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