Major contributors to the Biden campaign are meeting this weekend in Philadelphia to discuss the campaign’s future as the former vice vresident slips from his slot leading the 2020 Democratic field in several key early primary states.
MSN reports that “[o]ver cocktails on Friday evening and a Saturday spent in a drab hotel conference room, Mr. Biden’s top financiers and fund-raisers received strategy briefings and PowerPoint presentations, and plotted the path forward for the former vice president” — the first such meeting of Joe Biden’s top donors since his campaign launched in April. They also recieved a tour of Biden’s campaign headquarters, which is located in downtown Philadelphia — a move that was supposed to represent the candidate’s clear connection to the “working class” Rust Belt voters that are key to President Donald Trump’s success.
The agenda was simple: figure out how to correct Biden’s sinking ratings in the polls and his recent fundraising troubles, even if it means giving until it hurts.
“All of us realize that Joe Biden does not have the online fund-raising capability of a Warren. Warren has been doing it longer than him. Sanders has been doing it longer than him,” one donor, Dick Harpootlian, a Team Obama alumnus and major Dem funder, told MSN.
“We need him to get the nomination because he’s the one who can win,” another, a former ambassador to Belgium under President Barack Obama, said. “We are all going to try to raise every single dollar we can.”
It was a rough weekend, to be sure. Biden is now back in the headlines after months operating under the radar, but not because he’s a runaway success. This week, as Democrats discussed the possibility of opening an impeachment inquiry against Trump, they were forced to discuss Biden, whose son is the subject of the phone call at the heart of the Trump controversy.
An investigation into Trump’s alleged quid-pro-quo deal with the Ukrainians, designed to expose potential misconduct on the part of Biden, who, Trump seems to believe, used his influence as a member of the Obama Administration to shield his son from prosecution in the eastern European country, will put Biden’s tenure as Veep in the spotlight — and Biden can’t be happy about that.
There’s also the matter of the Democratic primary. As Americans who intend to vote in 2020 are tuning in, they increasingly seem to be tuning out Biden. He’s fallen behind in both Iowa and New Hampshire, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) is nipping at his heels in Nevada and South Carolina. Nationally, he’s fallen in popularity by double digits, again to the benefit of Warren.
If Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) does not re-enter the race following his health scare — a campaign trail heart attack that, last week, led to double bypass surgery — Warren’s market share is only likely to increase.
And then there’s Biden’s fundraising. On Saturday, “news broke that Ms. Warren, now seen as Mr. Biden’s chief rival, had out-raised him in the last three months by nearly $10 million — $24.6 million to $15.2 million. He lagged behind Senator Bernie Sanders ($25.3 million) and Mayor Pete Buttigieg ($19.1 million), too,” per MSN.
Biden also did not release any “cash on hand” numbers, so it’s not clear how much the presumptive 2020 nominee actually has in the bank to continue his campaign. He spent more than $10 million in May and June.
And all of them are lagging behind President Trump, who raked in an astounding $125 million last quarter, in partnership with the Republican National Committee. They will share some of that money, but all of it will go towards the GOP’s goal of holding on to the White House and (at least) the Senate in 2020.
The mood at the donor pow-wow was described as “somber’ but resolved.