There is no doubt that Donald Trump has shaken up the political establishment, but he has also shaken up the political fundraising establishment. Notably, Trump is drawing in far more money from small contributions than previous White House candidates. A new Fox News analysis reveals that 61 percent of funds raised so far by the Trump campaign for 2020 have come from small donations---those of less than $200. That follows the trend set in Trump's 2016 campaign, in which 65 percent of donations were under $200.
Those numbers dwarf Trump's two most recent GOP predecessors. 2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney raised only 26 percent of contributions from small donations, and 2008 nominee John McCain raised only 25 percent from small donors. "Trump has attracted a huge grassroots following," says Brendan Quinn, with the Center for Responsive Politics. "He started doing this in 2016 and has continued to do this, and it is really unprecedented for a Republican nominee."
Indeed, Trump has kept that fundraising haul going since he took office, already amassing more money for 2020 than all of the Democratic candidates combined. But the president has also inspired more grassroots opposition, which has helped Dems build their base of small donors. In fact, most of the top 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls are ahead of Hillary Clinton's 2016 percentage of small-money contributions. "Giving small contributions online allows more people to be engaged in politics, and allows more people to be engaged in races they might not normally have paid attention to," says Quinn.
Moving into 2020, Quinn predicts the Trump effect will continue to raise small-money contributions for both parties. "Now, a lot of them are still focusing on the big donors who are able to write them a $2,000 check," he says. "But they're also paying more attention than they would have in previous cycles to people who are giving them one dollar, ten dollars, 35 dollars."