Trump money machine overcomes coronavirus in March

The haul underscores how the pandemic has forced a shift in fundraising with less than seven months until the election. With high-dollar fundraising events canceled, the focus is on attracting small-dollar contributions online. Nearly 75 percent of the RNC’s contributions were $200 or less.

RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel has remained in touch with major donors during the pandemic, but she has refrained from making explicit asks for checks.

Since Trump’s inauguration, the committee has spent tens of millions of dollars to expand its email, text messaging, and direct mail operations and used them to aggressively solicit small donors.

While Trump’s poll numbers have taken a dip amid the spread of coronavirus, his political team is betting that the massive infrastructure they’ve developed will overwhelm former Vice President Joe Biden’s less well-funded campaign, which has not had the same luxury of years of unopposed fundraising and preparation. Through February, the RNC had a more than 5-to-1 cash advantage over the Democratic National Committee.

In the wake of the pandemic, the RNC has used its war chest to establish a massive online campaign. The organization boasts that it has made nearly 20 million calls to prospective voters since March 13. Earlier this month, amid criticism over Trump’s response to the pandemic, the committee launched a $1 million digital ad campaign lavishing praise on the president.

There has been widespread concern among Democrats about whether they will be able to compete with the Trump money machine. The DNC and Biden campaign will also on Monday release finance totals through the end of March. The former vice president has spent part of the last month holding online fundraising events.

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