iNDICA NEWS BUREAU-
The 2020 presidential election is officially one of the most expensive elections in US history with the total cost of the election expected to reach an unprecedented $14 billion, a research group said. However, Indian Americans have contributed a lot.
When COVID-19 pushed everyone indoors, no one would have thought that this would be the case, but sometimes the contrary is often the truth.
According to the estimate from the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP) released on Saturday, the 2020 presidential election, is set to cost over $6.6 billion, while donations made to the race for congressional seats will top $7.2 billion.
The CRP said that the 2020 election will cost $14 billion, shattering spending records.
But Biden will be the first candidate in history to raise $1 billion from donors. So far, they have spent a total of $6.9 billion, compared to the $3.8 billion spent by Republican candidates and groups, the study showed.
His campaign brought in a record-breaking $938 million through October 14, riding Democrats’ enthusiasm to defeat Trump.
President Donald Trump raised $596 million, which would be a strong fundraising effort if not for Biden’s immense haul.
Even amid a pandemic, everyone is giving more in 2020, from ordinary individuals making small donations to billionaires cutting eight-figure checks to super PACs.
These groups are spending far more to boost Biden than help Trump, further aiding the Democrats’ cash-flush campaign.
“Their money machine is more powerful than ever in 2020, the CRP said.
Democratic candidates and groups have spent $5.5 billion compared to Republicans’ $3.8 billion, the CRP said, noting that Democrats have never had a financial advantage this large.
Both parties raised more than ever from small donors, but Democrats came out on top, having raised nearly $1.7 billion from bite-sized donors, compared to $1 billion for Republicans.
$14 billion and counting – 2020 election one of the most expensive in history.
Indian American Donors
At least 21 people of Indian descent are on Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s list of elite contribution-collectors pitching in more than $100,000 to his campaign coffers.
On the list of 820 volunteers on the $100,000 plus raised, Indian-Americans made up 2.5 percent, more than double the proportion of the community in the country’s population, reflecting its deep involvement in American politics as well its status as the ethnic group with the highest income.
President Donald Trump has not released a similar list of top contribution collectors. But KV Kumar, a veteran Republican based in Washington DC said he personally raised $200,000. Other Republican supporters raised over half a million and more.
But Biden’s take has been outstripping Trump’s in recent months. In the first half of October, his take was more than double that of Trump, $167 million to $82 million.
In the 2016 election, the then-Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton’s tally stood at $1.2 billion, double the size of Trump’s $600 million.
The Biden list included prominent activists like Ajay Bhutoria, Swadesh Chatterjee, Frank Islam, Neil Makhija, Shekhar Narasimhan, M. Rangaswami, and Pramila Jayapal.
Under US laws, an individual can contribute a maximum of only $2,800 directly to a candidate, according to the Federal Election Commission (FEC).
The people on the list collected the legal limit of contributions from friends, relatives, acquaintances, and associates and bundled them before sending them on and are, therefore, known as “bundlers” in the political parlance.
This enables them to increase their influence or their cause’s far beyond the $2,800 they are limited to as individuals.
Bhutoria, a California entrepreneur, told indica News that he had held a fundraiser with Biden’s wife Jill and many of his contributions this year came from mainstream Americans.
Bhutoria, to create awareness and momentum among Indian Americans ran a targeted desi campaign video, “Chale Chaolo, Biden, Harris ko vote do”, based on Bollywood hit songs in different dialects.
Makhija, the executive director of the Indian American Impact Fund, an advocacy and political action group, surprised the community by raising $10 million in just three months to support Indian American and Asian American candidates running for office.
Narasimhan is the co-chair of the Democratic National Committee’s Indo-American Council and executive director of the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Victory Fund that supports candidates of the ethnicity.
Rangaswami, the founder of Indiaspora, an organization to promote Indian-American activism, also reached out to the community to support Kamala Harris.
Chatteerjee, who was awarded the Padma Bhushan, has been a president of the Indian American Forum for Political Education and had been involved in community efforts to get the nuclear deal between India and the US during President George W. Bush’s tenure.
Islam is a part activist who established the Frank Islam and Debbie Driesman Foundation.
The others on the list include Bela Bajaria, Shailen Bhatt, Swadesh Chatterjee, Shefali Razdan Duggal, Kiran Jain, Sonny Kalsi, Ramesh Kapur, Deven Parekh, Satya Patel, Rahul Prakash, Deepak D. Raj, Erik Ramanathan, Radhika Shah, Raj Shah, Rajan Shah, Jill and Raj Singh, and Nidhi Thakar.
OpenSecrets, part of the CRP, said in a statement that the influx of political donations in the final weeks leading up to the November 3 election day was driven by the partisan fight over the now successful Senate confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court and the “closely watched races for the White House and Senate”.