David Versus Goliath: Trump Lags Far Behind Biden’s Behemoth Campaign With Only Months to Go

By: Alex Trent | Published: Apr 10, 2024

To date, the presumptive Democratic nominee for President Joe Biden has managed to out-fundraise former President Donald Trump nearly two to one, which helped put his campaign infrastructure far ahead.

Now, an NBC News report has revealed that Trump is manning a much smaller operation by comparison, with as few as five staff members in some key swing states.

Flush With Cash

Joe Biden’s campaign reportedly managed to have $71 million in cash at the end of February, which was double what the Trump campaign managed to raise at that time.

An official portrait featuring a smiling Joe Biden from 2013.

Source: David Lienemann

Biden has made big use of these funds to start a hiring spree of around 300 paid staffers in just nine states, kickstarting an operation that has expanded to 100 offices in these key swing states. Analysts say these states will be important in determining the election’s outcome.

Huge Donations

Joe Biden has managed to raise huge levels of donations from just single events. A star-studded campaign fundraiser at Radio City Music Hall in March brought in more than $26 million for the campaign.

A photo of a series of one-hundred-dollar US bills.

Source: Engin Akyurt/Unsplash

Former presidents Barrack Obama and Bill Clinton were in attendance, along with celebrities like Mindy Kaling and Stephen Colbert.

State of the Union Address

After Biden took the stage to speak at the country’s annual State of the Union Address, his campaign reported they were able to raise $10 million dollars in just 24 hours in the wake of the speech.

Joe Biden smiles while delivering a State of the Union address.

Source: The White House/Wikimedia

During the speech, Biden spent a good portion of the time railing against Trump, stressing the stakes of the election for the future of democracy.

Bleeding Money

By contrast, reports suggest that the Trump campaign is bleeding money. Not only has Trump failed to achieve the level of fundraising Biden has, but many of the fundraising efforts for Trump have to go toward fighting civil and criminal court cases the former president is involved in.

Donald Trump standing at a podium with the presidential seal, giving a speech. He is wearing a dark suit with a red tie. The audience in the background is blurred and wearing red

Source: Wikimedia Commons

In February, AP News reported that Trump’s presidential campaign has spent $76.7 million in legal fees over the past two years. In March, The New York Times reported the former president has spent $107 million in just lawyer fees and other court costs since 2021.

Small Operation

While the Trump campaign team has not officially disclosed its staffing levels, an NBC report estimates that the Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee combined only have five staffers in key battleground states.

Former president and candidate for 2024, Donald Trump, standing in front of a large logo for the Republican National Committee

Source: Reddit

The NBC report cited two anonymous Republican sources who are familiar with the Trump campaign’s structure.


A Farcry From 2020

Trump’s campaign in 2024 is comparatively much smaller than the one he ran in 2020. At this same time in the race in 2020, the Trump Victory organization was already mobilized in battleground states with volunteers on the ground.

Donald Trump pointing at the viewer and yelling.

Source: Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons

Trump also had state directors, regional directors, and field organizers already in place at this time in 2020, according to the sources cited by NBC.


Huge Disadvantage

One of the sources quoted in the NBC piece used a car analogy to describe the stark difference between 2020 and 2024.

The interior and steering wheel of a luxury Maserati car.

Source: Ralf Roletschek/Unsplash

“This is like comparing a Maserati to a Honda — 2020 had staff and the bodies in place to turn out the vote,” one source said. “This current iteration is starting from ground zero, and we’re seven months out from the election. It makes no sense and puts them at a huge disadvantage to Biden, who is staffing up in droves.”


Different Paths

Despite the clear difference in the scale of each candidate’s campaign operations, Trump and Biden remain locked in a dead heat in national polls. Political analysts say the race is too close to call.

Road lines diverge down a snowy path.

Source: Karsten Winegeart/Unsplash

Biden seems to be banking on massive spending to help him recover from low approval and an early slump in polling, while Trump is more focused on conserving his campaign war chest and riding his early polling lead in swing states.


Mobilizing Voters

While Trump is confident in his chances to win over Biden in November, some of his allies are concerned that the lack of campaign mobilization could hinder supporters’ ability to show up to the polls when it counts.

A small white sign with a blue arrow and the American flag on top, with bold red letters spelling 'VOTE HERE,' placed on a sidewalk next to a building

Source: Wikimedia Commons

“The team that gets more of their voters to the polls is the team that’s going to win,” said Sam DeMarco, Republican chairman in Pennsylvania’s Allegheny County. “The Democrats have a significantly better get-out-the-vote infrastructure.”


Waiting Until Summer

DeMarco predicts that voters will have to wait until the summer rolls in to see a full staffing effort from Trump and the Republican National Convention (RNC).

A pair of sun glasses sits on a mound of sand at a beach.

Source: Ethan Robertson/Unsplash

However, with Biden already possessing such a commanding staffing lead, it will be hard to ramp up operations quickly from a campaign structure that is almost comparatively starting at zero. It remains to be seen how effective a late push to ramp up campaign operations will be for Trump.


Hope For Trump

Despite being behind Biden’s campaign, Trump’s recent efforts at fundraising have picked up steam. The Trump campaign said last week that in March they had managed to raise more than $65.6 million, bringing the total cash they have in hand to $93.1 million.

Donald Trump speaking at CPAC in 2011.

Source: Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia

“Our campaign, working together with the RNC, has been steadily ramping up our fundraising efforts, and our March numbers are a testament to the overwhelming support for President Trump by voters all across the spectrum,” said Susie Wiles, a senior advisor to Trump’s campaign.