Before your face gets red, let us explain. Promises have been broken. Recovery has been slow. There is a growing distrust between traditional politicians and the American public that is manifesting in an almost beautifully predictable way as the 2016 election unfolds. The smallest and largest moves from candidates resonate with Americans in a big way. One of the more subtle, but powerfully effective actions savvy candidates are making during the 2016 election is appearing to be non-political politicians. Let us define a non-political politician: they buck the curve, do the unexpected, say the wrong things and often polarize audiences. They are doing things differently. By doing so, they gain a fervent and strong footing with jaded voters that feel disconnected from the traditional political games played in elections. We are in the business of helping political candidates raise the money for their campaigns – from your local judge to presidential campaigns. Through helping campaigns raise the money they need to stay in the race, we have noticed an interesting parallel emerge between Sanders and Trump in the 2016 presidential election – they are both non-political politicians.
Non-political politicians hang their hat on raising money through small donations. There are two basic, polar-opposite strategies in hanging your campaign hat on the small donation coat rack exemplified by the Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump races. Here, we have two completely different politicians on the opposite ends of the spectrum; however, as far as campaign fundraising goes, they both use smaller, online campaign contributions to build trust and authenticity with voters. Both Sanders and Trump claim they cannot be bought. Sanders rallies his troops around the importance of the grassroots money he has raised, importantly online, and Trump claims that because of his wealth, he cannot be bought and, therefore, is our best candidate. Further, he claims that he used to “buy” politicians, so he knows how to play the game, and he’s not going to do it. What he doesn’t mention is that he does have a “donate” button on his website where he collects online campaign contributions. In this regard, both Sanders and Trump aren’t all that different. They are both playing outside of the traditional political arena and, as a result, are picking up more voters.
Whether or not Trump’s and Sanders’ campaign fundraising positioning strategy will prove fruitful in the long run remains to be seen, but analysts predict they have staying power. As more and more politicians succumb to traditional campaign missteps, more and more voters may gravitate toward non-political politicians.