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No Billionaires for Bernie: Alone Among Democratic Frontrunners, Sanders Gets No Cash From Wealthiest Americans

"Zero billionaire donors. None. Nada."

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) gestures during the first round of the second Democratic primary debate of the 2020 presidential campaign season hosted by CNN at the Fox Theatre in Detroit, Michigan on July 30, 2019.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) gestures during the first round of the second Democratic primary debate of the 2020 presidential campaign season hosted by CNN at the Fox Theatre in Detroit, Michigan on July 30, 2019. (Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)

Not a single billionaire to date has donated to Sen. Bernie Sanders' run for the 2020 Democratic nomination, according to a new analysis, making him unique among primary frontrunners.

"Zero billionaire donors," wrote Splinter's Paul Blest. "None. Nada."

The absence was significant.

"True to his campaign promise to take on the top one percent," Forbes reporter Giacomo Tognini, who broke the story, wrote, "Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has not received any donations from billionaires."

Tognini's reporting is based on FEC data through August 1 which shows South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg in front of the rest of the field with 23 billionaire donors to date. Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) comes in second with 18; Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) is in third with 17. Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), currently polling at around one percent, is fourth with 15 billionaire donors and former Vice President Joe Biden, the polling front runner, wraps the top five with 13. 

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who is also running a progressive campaign aimed at the one percent, has two billionaire donors. 

The donations to Bennet indicated to Boston activist Jonathan Cohn that wealth doesn't necessarily mean that one makes good decisions.

"The fact that 15 billionaires donated to Michael Bennet, who has zero chance of winning, is a great example of how billionaires don't spend their money well," Cohn tweeted.

Sanders was joined in the zero billionaires category by Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, and former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro. 

A key difference between Sanders and his fellow candidates spurned by the billionaire class, in addition to being a top-tier contender for the nomination, is the Vermont senator's dominance in small dollar funding. As Common Dreams reported on August 2, Sanders has an overwhelming ead nationwide when it comes to generating individual donations.

That fundraising data, said researcher Kristin Johnson, in showing high strength across the nation for Sanders "contradicts both the mainstream narrative and some national polling data that suggest that only a centrist Democrat could succeed in this political environment."

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