Biden’s biggest donors powerless, unable to convince him to step aside | World News

Biden’s biggest donors powerless, unable to convince him to step aside | World News

Biden’s biggest donors powerless, unable to convince him to step aside | World News

Biden, 81, wrote in a letter to the group Monday that he is “firmly committed to staying in this race, to running this race to the end, and to beating Donald Trump.” (Photo: Bloomberg)


By Amanda Gordon, Bill Allison and Dawn Lim

They pride themselves on being doers; taking decisive action at crucial inflection points and anticipating major power shifts.


Yet in the midst of one of the biggest crises ever to strike the Democratic Party, Wall Street’s most influential donors are resigned to watching and waiting like much of the rest of the country.

The view within Manhattan circles, one top Wall Street executive said on Monday, is largely unchanged since Joe Biden’s June 27 debate: A change at the top of the ticket will boost the Democrats’ chances of beating Donald Trump. That’s even as the president pledged to fellow party members he will remain in the 2024 race, seeking to quell dissent within his ranks as lawmakers return to Washington.


Biden, 81, wrote in a letter to the group Monday that he is “firmly committed to staying in this race, to running this race to the end, and to beating Donald Trump.” 


On MSNBC’s Morning Joe, he dared anyone who thinks he shouldn’t seek reelection to challenge him at the Democratic convention.


“I don’t care what the millionaires think,” Biden said on MSNBC Monday. “I want their support but that’s not the reason I’m running.” 


Still, the campaign needs wealthy donors’ money with Trump and the Republicans now raising similar sums as the Democrats. Biden, along with campaign chair Jennifer O’Malley Dillon and Maryland Governor Wes Moore joined a call with some of the campaigns largest contributors on Monday.

“The party has spoken. The Dem nominee is me,” Biden said. “We can’t waste any more time being distracted.”

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Donations to the campaign have thinned in recent days, with some wealthy donors saying they will withhold any future contributions until Biden is off the ticket, according to a person familiar with the fundraising efforts. The Biden campaign has said that grassroots contributions surged following the debate and reported raising more in June than any other month.


Biden’s sizable war chest had been a selling point for donors, especially compared to Trump’s cash-poor campaign through the primaries. But since clinching the nomination, Trump has caught up and surpassed Biden, and now has $285 million cash on hand, according to his campaign.


Unlike Trump, who’s spent little on television or offices in battleground states so far, Biden’s campaign is employing an expensive strategy. The campaign alone booked $48 million in advertising time last month, according to AdImpact.


“I know a lot of donors who are very unhappy and aren’t going to spend money on the campaign,” said Vin Ryan, founder of Schooner Capital and a longtime Democratic donor. “A lot of money will be diverted to House and Senate races.”


Ryan said a Biden replacement would likely get an outpouring of donor support, with many willing to bet on a younger and more articulate candidate.


Two Democratic fundraisers, who asked not to be identified to discuss private conversations, said they’ve been advising donors to shift their donations to competitive House races even before the debate, but now worry that with Biden atop the ticket, Democratic congressional candidates will lose en masse to Republicans.


“Let’s not blindly follow our friend off a cliff,” Novogratz wrote on X Monday. “It’s time to move on from the gerontocracy.” 


Alternative Investments


The lack of real power to force Biden out, combined with a desire to prevent a Trump victory, has led some Democratic donors to launch long-shot efforts to find a replacement. Bill Harris, the former chief executive officer for Intuit Inc. and Paypal Holdings Inc., has personally funded polling about voter views of Biden’s age in swing states. Harris contributed to Biden in 2020, but has decided to not give to him this cycle.


Georgetown University professor Rosa Brooks and investor Ted Dintersmith have also concocted a plan for a “blitz primary” that would involve celebrities — such as Oprah Winfrey, Taylor Swift and Stephen Curry — introducing candidates to voters before conducting a snap election to pick a Biden successor. 


The plan is novel, but unlikely to come to fruition, even by the authors’ own admission.


“While we hope for help from Lord Almighty,” the plan says, in an apparent nod to Biden’s Friday interview with ABC, in which he said he’d only step down if God told him to, “he/she helps those who help themselves. We need to act. Now.”

First Published: Jul 09 2024 | 8:32 AM IST


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