The man is worth a more than respectable $4 Billion! I on the other hand am worth two Cal Ripken baseball cards and whatever is left on my metro card (you got to diversify).
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However, despite his incredible personal wealth, Donald Trump is actually NOT the wealthiest candidate when it comes to his campaign war chest.
That honor goes to (drum roll please)…Dr. Ben Carson!
According to political finance tracking website OpenSecrets.org, Dr. Carson has raised over $10 Million while Trump has brought in less than $2 million.
That’s a huge drop-off in and of itself, but here’s where it gets even more interesting.
Of the $10,642,242 that Carson has raised 68% of that ($7,208,909) has come from small individual donations. In addition to that, the other 32% ($3,401,485) has come from larger, but still individual, contributions.
Trump’s numbers, however, tell a very different story.
The Billionaire has only raised about $1.9 Million so far. And, shockingly, of that amount $1.8 Million has come from his personal bank account.
The numbers point to one conclusion: Trump is going to fund this campaign himself.
In 1976, the US Supreme Court declared that it would be an unconstitutional violation of the first amendment to block candidates from spending personal moneys on their own campaigns.
This has given Trump the freedom to bankroll his own run at the White House. But by taking the easy money now, he is hurting himself in the long run.
Ben Carson is not a poor man.
Between his medical practice and book deals the good doctor is worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $10 million (that’s a nice neighborhood). Carson could easily add his personal wealth to his finances but he doesn’t. In fact at the time of this writing Carson has only contributed a paltry $25,000 to his campaign.
Think about it like this. Trump essentially has unlimited money. He can be loud, visible, and mobile with that cash. However, one thing his money can’t buy is commitment.
Committed supporters are what make or break a long-term election such as this. And by choosing to cut himself checks rather than fundraise Trump is drastically depleting his own ability to generate that commitment in his supporters.
The Carson campaign has received hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of small donations from people that want to see him elected president of the United States.
Each and every one of those donations represents a person who is now exponentially more likely to volunteer, speak to their friends, knock on doors, put up yard signs, or lend other forms of actionable support on behalf of Carson.
A good phrase for this phenomenon from the business world is “Crossing The Penny Gap." Essentially what this means is that a product is only considered to be viable when you are able to convince your customers to give you SOME money (even just a penny) for it.
Trump may be leading in the polls right now, but Carson is not far behind. Unless Trump can convince more Americans to cross the penny gap for him he is going to be left with good name recognition, but a hollow support base come February.
That is a combination for a cave-in.