In recent weeks, the Democratic Party’s primary battle has finally become interesting to watch. It is no longer about which candidate is offering voters the most free stuff or which one more loathes President Donald Trump. The no-holds-barred grudge matches have devolved from harnessing the power of love and compassion to gouging each other’s eyeballs with a hammer and sickle. There are so many storylines to dissect that the electoral process is now a concoction of professional wrestling, soap operas, and political intrigue. For those who enjoy following the money in politics, though, which candidates are spending the most and recording a positive return on investment (ROI)?
From 2019-2020 Federal Election Commission (FEC) data, Real Clear Politics national polling averages, and betting odds gathered by Liberty Nation Managing Editor Mark Angelides, we have compiled a breakdown of receipts, disbursements, national polling, and the betting odds.
Biden His Time
Since the start of the Democratic primary season last year, former Vice President Joe Biden was – perhaps prematurely – crowned nominee. The debates, primaries, and caucuses were mere formalities heading into the convention in Brew City. A lot has happened since Biden announced his presidential aspirations: never-ending gaffes, disappointing performances, and the rise of rivals. For the party establishment and the mainstream media, Biden remains the safe choice to take on President Donald Trump in November, which could explain their consternation over far-left contenders soaring to the top of the polls. Without at least second-place finishes in the next few contests, the path to a Biden victory may be difficult to construct.
Receipts: $61.038 million – Disbursements: $52.092 million – National Polling: 17.3% – Betting Odds: 7/1
Feeling Black and Bloom
Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s campaign declared that the primaries had become a two-man race between the billionaire and a socialist millionaire. After the Nevada debate, it was obvious that Bloomberg had flown too close to the sun; his on-stage competitors melted his wings, plunging him back down to Earth. He did not compete in the Nevada caucuses, nor will he be on the ballot for the South Carolina primary, placing all of his bets on delegate-rich Super Tuesday. Until then, he will continue to spend tens of millions of dollars on advertising in California, Colorado, Minnesota, and Texas. Can online, radio, and television ads be enough to drown out the terrible press he generated from his horrendous performance in the Nevada debate?
Receipts: $464.145 million – Disbursements: $409.006 million – National Polling: 15.2% – Betting Odds: 2/1
Nipped in the Butt?
From mayor of a small Middle America town to formidable White House hopeful, Pete Buttigieg has certainly come out of nowhere. After a couple of excellent showings in the early stages of the primary season, Buttigieg is hoping to sustain his momentum through the early voting states. Even if he does not secure the nomination, he might continue to be a force to be reckoned with in U.S. politics for decades to come.
Receipts: $76.778 million – Disbursements: $62.259 million – National Polling: 10% – Betting Odds: 8/1
Gabbard Goes Grassroots
Representative Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) placed all her bets on New Hampshire and failed to make a dent in the voting. She is now concentrating on South Carolina, where she is polling at less than 2%. Since the mainstream media have shunned her, Gabbard has been going the traditional route of employing a grassroots strategy: traveling door to door, participating in community events, meeting voters face to face, and hugging kids (not the Biden way, though). Should the lone anti-war voice in the primary be unable to capture a single delegate in The Palmetto State, Gabbard may concede defeat and finish the final few months of her last term in Congress serving the needs of her district.
Receipts: $13.705 million – Disbursements: $11.695 million – National Polling: 1.6% – Betting Odds: 150/1
When the primary season started, could anyone have imagined that Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) would last this long? Think about all the big names that have come and gone over the last several months: Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA), Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Beto O’Rourke. Klobuchar outlasted all of them, evading much of the media’s ire. Can she continue her miraculous run, or will Buttigieg’s persistent finger-wag be enough to sink her efforts?
Receipts: $28.95 million – Disbursements: $23.976 million – National Polling: 6.7% – Betting Odds: 18/1
Bern in the USA
By now, it almost seems like Sen. Sanders against the world. The party establishment, the legacy press, and anyone who desperately wants to oust Trump are trying to keep Sanders from the nomination. If he were not such a die-hard socialist, Sanders would be a sympathetic character.
In the end, however, the media bias against his campaign could be more helpful than harmful, writes Liberty Nation’s Leesa K. Donner:
“Americans, by nature, have a rebellious spirit – just ask the British. No matter the party or political ideology, they don’t like people stepping on the scales. Mr. Trump certainly benefitted from the media spin against his campaign in 2016. Now it’s Bernie’s turn, and leftists don’t cotton to it either. One woman voiced this very thing when she told an MSNBC program host that the reason she voted for Bernie was because of what she perceived as MSNBC’s biased coverage against him.”
Receipts: $134.151 million – Disbursements: $121.980 million – National Polling: 28.7% – Betting Odds: 6/4
In Steyer Need of a Win
Billionaire Tom Steyer is comparable to a teenager who is desperate to be adored by the cool kids in high school. Unlike Bloomberg, who appears indifferent, Steyer’s continual allusion to his respect and admiration for his rivals almost reeks of desperation to be welcomed into the fold. But his kind will never be given a hero’s welcome in the party: He is a billionaire who made his fortune on Wall Street and in the coal mining industry. Since even before he announced his candidacy, Steyer has been a one-issue candidate: impeaching President Trump. But the Democratic Party already possesses an enormous supply of those individuals. In economics, when there is an immense supply of a good and not enough demand, prices will come down. This potentially explains why Steyer is polling in single digits nationwide.
Receipts: $206.286 million – Disbursements: $200.863 million – National Polling: 2.2% – Betting Odds: N/A
On the Warpath
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) had been considered a top-tier candidate since day one of her campaign. However, following a couple of disastrous performances in the early stages, she has devolved into a mid-tier challenger at best. It might be premature to declare her candidacy as dead as a billionaire pedophile with rich and powerful connections, but she will need to appear in at least the top three on Super Tuesday to sustain her bid to become the first female president.
Receipts: $81.997 million – Disbursements: $68.282 million – National Polling: 12.7% – Betting Odds: 50/1
By now, watching the primaries conjures up an excellent quote from the eminent author H.L. Mencken: “Democracy is the art and science of running the circus from the monkey cage.” The president likely feels good about his chances in November, despite the polls suggesting otherwise. But Democrats need the win more than Trump: if he loses, life will go on as usual. He had a better-than-expected record, he had a lot of fun, and accomplished mostly what he wanted to do. If the Democrats lose, it will be another four years of howling at the sky, trying to reverse the 2020 results, and repeating the three Rs (Russia, racism, and recession).
Read more from Andrew Moran.