Lends Trump his campaign money

Millions for the election campaignmoney alone makes still none US presidents

The multi-billionaire Michael Bloomberg challenges the US President Donald Trump: He is running as a presidential candidate for the US Democrats. In order to be successful, money is extremely important, says political scientist Jörg Hebenstreit - but not necessarily crucial.

It takes a lot of money to become President of the United States. It should be at least 800 million US dollars, says political scientist Jörg Hebenstreit, who wrote his doctoral thesis on campaign financing in the USA. The candidate and the party together should come up with this sum. In addition, there would be an average of another 200 to 300 million dollars from external actors. For comparison: The CDU spent around 13 million euros in the last election campaign.

"As a presidential candidate in the USA, you have to shell out an average of between 800 million and 1.2 billion US dollars."
Jörg Hebenstreit, political scientist

The candidates need the money above all to make themselves known to voters, to advertise themselves and their positions. Because the TV election campaign is intense in the USA: Private broadcasters can pay very well for election commercials, says the political scientist, especially in the so-called swing states. Most of the money in the US election campaign is spent on the commercials - two thirds, sometimes three quarters of the budget, says Jörg Hebenstreit.

"The lion's share of the money goes to TV commercials."
Jörg Hebenstreit, political scientist

Now the entrepreneur and multi-billionaire Michael Bloomberg has entered the race for the presidential job in the USA. With his fortune, he easily overshadows the incumbent US president: According to the magazine "Forbes", it is said to amount to more than 50 billion dollars, while that of Donald Trump is only around three billion.

Billionaire Bloomberg enters US election campaign

Bloomberg has already run online ad campaigns and has invested around $ 30 million in television spots. But money alone does not play the decisive role in the election campaign, says Jörg Hebenstreit. Quality, expertise, experience, charisma - these are all factors that determine how successful a candidate is with the voters.

"It is very clear: you will not be successful without campaign donations."
Jörg Hebenstreit, political scientist

Donald Trump himself provides the best example of this: in 2016 he only had about half as much money as Hillary Clinton - but he still won in the end. So money does not decide the presidency. Nevertheless, there is a connection between the amount of money that a candidate can acquire and the number of votes he gets, says Jörg Hebenstreit.

Large and small donations

By the way, the candidates use different strategies to raise funds: Bernie Sanders of the Democrats, for example, collects a lot of small donations. His large network of supporters gives him many votes at the same time, because 2.1 million online donors are also 2.1 million potential voters, according to the political scientist.

"We have an incredibly high level of professionalism when it comes to micro-targeting in the USA."
Jörg Hebenstreit, political scientist

The fact that the US election campaign devours such huge sums of money is due to several factors, explains Jörg Hebenstreit: On the one hand, the USA is almost as big as Europe, and also heterogeneous and multilingual, all of which generate costs. And: the election campaign is long! It lasts two years in the USA, says Jörg Hebenstreit - no comparison to the six to 12 weeks here in Germany.

"As president, you basically start on the first day in office to generate money again for the re-election campaign."
Jörg Hebenstreit, political scientist

In the picture above: At a Donald Trump election campaign event in Sunrise / Florida, banknotes with his likeness are distributed as campaign material.