The Money Secret Trump Doesn't Want Sanders Supporters to Know

August 12th 2016

Lucy Tiven

As election day nears, Donald Trump has made various appeals to Bernie Sanders supporters and drawn comparisons between his own campaign and that of the Vermont Senator.

But even beyond their radically disparate political beliefs, there's a big difference between their campaigns that Trump would probably prefer to keep secret.

It's true that neither Sanders' or Trump's primary campaigns got much financial support from party big wigs. And they've both maintained somewhat adversarial relationships with their respective party establishments.

But that's where the comparisons end.

Trump's primary campaign was largely self-funded — which is itself worth distinguishing from the Sanders campaign, which was primarily funded by small donations and a grassroots network, the Atlantic explains.

And Trump has recently leaned significantly on the Republican Party for financial support.

In July, the Trump campaign raised $64 million in a joint effort with the Republican National Committee, the New York Times explains.

To provide a bit of context, Trump only raised $3 million in June, before the R.N.C. stepped in.

So Trump's claims that he is not an establishment candidate are a little misleading.

It's true that he has clashed with the party and its leaders many times over the course of his presidential bid, yet his recent fundraising success is largely indebted to the R.N.C's infrastructure.

From the New York Times:

"Mr. Trump was able to ramp up quickly in part through a digital operation set up by the R.N.C. since that campaign. Even before Mr. Trump was the nominee, the party built out its email list and tested ways of targeting small donors.

With that in place, party officials unleashed a pent-up desire by rank-and-file Republicans to donate to a candidate who has bluntly attacked lobbyists and big donors. While Mr. Trump accepted online donations during the primary season, he did not send out an email solicitation until late June — which brought in $3 million alone, an indication of the well of money available to him."

In his most recent jab at the GOP, Trump threatened to stop funding the Republican Party on a Thursday call into "The O'Reilly Factor."

Trump's comment responded to reports that the party may pull funds from his race and instead devote them to down-ballot races.

"I mean, if it is true, that's OK too because all I have to do is stop funding the Republican Party," he said.

"I'm the one raising the money for them," Trump insisted.

This claim doesn't entirely hold water.

Though many RNC insiders have held their noses and pitched in, they have also expressed "that Trump is hurting the party’s fundraising, not vice versa," Politico reports.

In late June, a party insider involved in the fundraising efforts told Politico Trump “didn’t have anyone in place who could run a fundraising operation, so he needed to turn to the RNC, which has the infrastructure to put that together.”

Trump might like to think of himself as a renegade, but as made evident by his campaign's recent struggles to gain traction in key battleground states, he also needs the party more than he cares to admit.