Home » Economy » Biden depends on big-dollar fundraisers as coronavirus crisis squeezes finances of grassroots donors
Biden depends on big-dollar fundraisers as coronavirus crisis squeezes finances of grassroots donors
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FOX Business’ Charlie Gasparino breaks down former Vice President Joe Biden’s potential picks for vice president on the 2020 Democratic ticket.
Well-to-do donors gathered last August at the sprawling Charlotte, North Carolina, home of Erskine Bowles, a former chief of staff to President Bill Clinton, where they nibbled finger food, sipped wine and listened to Joe Biden.
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Last week they again joined Bowles and his wife, Crandall. But this time it was for a far less intimate affair: a fundraiser held by video conference that Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, joined from the makeshift studio in the basement of his Delaware home.
The coronavirus shutdown has forced Democratic donors to forgo the opulent fundraisers that allow them to rub shoulders with powerful elected leaders and candidates.
During the Democratic primary, progressive candidates and activists condemned big-dollar affairs. But they have become a practical necessity for Biden that is sure to rankle progressives, who point to an army of grassroots donors contributing small amounts online as the antidote to big money in politics.
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As the coronavirus punishes the economy and swamps the health care system, the poor and middle class are among the hardest hit, all but ensuring that Democrats’ wealthiest donors will have to bear the cost of the party’s effort against President Donald Trump in November.
Bowles said the pandemic has delivered “economic hits … to everybody, regardless of their station,” but that the Democratic donor class remains engaged.
“When I say raising this money was easy, it really was,” he said of the virtual event.
Some deep-pocketed Democrats embrace the turnabout.
“There’s nobody more patriotic than Democratic donors who write large checks, because they are giving against their own self-interest,” said Kirk Wagar, a Democratic donor, former ambassador and fundraiser who was Florida finance chair for Barack Obama’s campaign.