Clinton Crushed Trump Among Big Donors: The Final Numbers

Eric Zuesse

Though the final final campaign-donation numbers are still not yet fully tabulated by anyone, we’re close enough now (99+% of the way toward 100% accuracy), so that reliably close approximations can at last be presented:   

In the 2016 U.S. Presidential contest, Hillary Clinton’s campaign received $300,084,866 from individuals who donated at least $200; Donald Trump’s campaign received only $45,725,669 — 15% as much as she did from such donors. For every $1 Trump got there, Clinton got $6.67.

In total, however, Clinton’s money-advantage over Trump wasn’t nearly so large, because Trump received millions of small donations, which enabled his campaign to remain competitive (though still considerably smaller than hers).

Whereas Hillary got 53.27% of her total appx. $775M as direct individual donations of $200+, Trump got only 13.94% of his appx. $425M that way.

In addition to individual donations, each campaign also received donations from various types of PACS or Political Action Committees, which are supposedly not controlled by, nor coordinated with, the candidate’s own campaign. That’s called “outside money.” The figures from some of these PACS haven’t yet been fully tabulated, but almost. (The individual donation-figures that were just cited are exact — all in, and fully tabulated — however.) Here are the outside-money numbers, as of now:

CLINTON OUTSIDE MONEY: $206,055,296 according to this [but mainly Clinton Priorities USA Action SuperPAC $192,065,768, out of an actual total of around $212M]

TRUMP OUTSIDE MONEY: $75,253,193 according to this [but mainly actually $90M 4 PACS: Great America, Rebuilding America, Make America #1, Our Principles, of an actual total of around $114M]

Here are the web-pages from which these figures are copied (or, in other instances, estimated):

As regards what the electoral result of this was:

Trump won 304 Electoral College votes; Clinton won 227.

In the Electoral College, there’s a winner-take-all system, so that to win a state by 1 vote gets all of its Electoral College votes, no different than if the state has been won by millions of votes.

Clinton campaigned in California, which wasn’t even in contention between her and Trump, and she achieved there an enormous victory-margin over Trump, of 4,269,978 votes; she won that state by 61.73%, compared to Trump’s 31.62%. She won that state by 4,269,977 votes more than were needed for her to win the state.

In all other states than California, Clinton lost nationwide by a total of 1,401,459 votes. However, because of her massive 4,269,978-vote win of California, she won the popular vote nationwide by 2,868,519 votes. If the election were to have been decided by popular votes instead of Electoral College votes, we’d have the President whom Californians overwhelmingly preferred, not the President whom the residents of the other 49 states strongly preferred; we’d have a President who was chosen by Californians, ruling over all of the 50 states.

These figures are taken from,_2016 as of 3 PM 2 March 2017.


Clinton spent $775 million and won 65,853,625 votes, which cost $11.77 per vote won; Trump spent $425 million and won 62,985,106 votes, which cost $6.75 per vote won.

In the far more important — indeed all-important — Electoral College cost-per-vote-won, Clinton spent $3,414,097 per Electoral College vote; and Trump spent $1,398,026 per Electoral College vote.

More discussion of the Presidential contest’s voting results (as of 22 December 2016) can be found here.

So: that’s the final report on the 2016 U.S. Presidential contest, both the dollars and the votes.

My comments on the election’s outcome are here.

On March 2nd, Ms. Clinton spoke in a closed-to-the-public event at her alma mater Wellesley College, and according to the Boston Globe’s report based upon tweets, was asked “What would you change about your campaign?” and Clinton replied, “I’d win.” Many of the reader-comments there were published only as “This comment has been blocked.” However, that same report was also republished at Political Wire, and the reader-comments there were unedited and were overwhelmingly attacking Donald Trump as having stolen the election, and Vladimir Putin as having been behind it. The most popular reader-response (to her saying “I’d win”) was “If you look at it the right way, she DID.” Her 2,868,519 popular-vote margin was considered the ‘right way’ to evaluate her electoral performance. Almost none criticized Ms. Clinton, either substantively or even just tactically, such as by wondering why she had been campaigning in California and other states that weren’t even at all in contention. The commonest assumption (other than that nationwide popular votes should have decided the victor and California’s voters should have determined the next President even if she lost the rest of the national electorate) appeared to be that somehow Putin did something that had swayed the 77,744 voters in the closest three Trump-won states (Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania) who became Trump’s crucial victory-margin in the closest vote-count states for his side that would need to have been reversed in order for Clinton to have been able to win the Electoral College and thus the election.

On March 1st, UK’s Daily Mail headlined and opened:

EXCLUSIVE: Barack Obama’s close confidante Valerie Jarrett has moved into his new DC home, which is now the nerve center for their plan to mastermind the insurgency against President Trump

• Obama’s goal is to oust Trump from the presidency either by forcing his resignation or through his impeachment, a family friend tells

• Jarrett has moved into the 8,200-square-foot, $5.3-million Kaloroma mansion to work closely with the former president and Michelle Obama

• Jarrett lived in the White House, dined with the Obamas, and helped shape his domestic and foreign policies

• Obama cannot use his West End office, a post-presidency perk, for political purposes

• ‘He’s coming. And he’s ready to roll.’ former Attorney General Eric Holder said yesterday about the former president’s reentry into the political scene

So, Obama’s goal now is for Mike Pence to replace Donald Trump.


Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

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  • diogenes

    And how do Trump and Clinton compare to Sanders in this category?

    • cettel

      As I recollect, the “average” (not sure if that’s mean or median — which are often very different from one-another) donation to the Sanders-for-President campaign was $27 (and no federal data are available on that — only assertions by a campaign itself); but he never became the nominee, and so I don’t know whether there is any published %-figure for the percentage of his money that came in $200+ donations. The thrust of the ‘news’-reporting was that his campaign relied less on large donors than did either Clinton’s or Trump’s, and I think that that’s probably true.

      • diogenes

        Yes, which suggests the boughten character of both the lady in the Donkey mask and the man in the Elephant mask (“rogue” Elephant style mask, “progressive” Donkey style mask). The only way America can have a government that is not run by money is by removing money from the process by which we exercise our vote — not by law but by how we organize ourselves. For suggestions — from history, by way of examples — see Part Five of my essay, posted elsewhere on this site, The Distribution of Wealth In America.

        • cettel

          Please post the URL of it.

          • diogenes


            Part 4 discusses historical examples, Part 5 makes suggestions —

            Part 1 looks at the results produced by the system in place, Part 2 considers the underlying culture and methods of the system, Part 3 looks at the history of its installation.

            at the basis

          • cettel

            With regret, I find your essays running on for long expanses without links to high-quality (meaning pertinent, up-to-date and trustworthy) sources, or sometimes without any sources, and the sources that are cited are usually ones I had read decades ago and which have become supplanted with subsequent and more rigorous or inclusive data and so are out-of-date and inferior to more recent and more pertinent research and writings. But generally I share similar opinions to what you express.

          • diogenes

            A text like Brandeis’s Other People’s Money or Veblen’s Vested Interests cannot be “outmoded” or “supplanted.” That you think otherwise reflects your mis-education or your inability to appreciate their character as texts. The texts I cite as references for historical assertions, on the other hand, are what reputable historiography refers to as “primary sources” — that is, evidence, witnesses — and secondary sources — that is, contemporary accounts. So here, your “objection” is equally ill-informed. And in both cases, the people who ill-informed you had ulterior motives.

          • cettel

            I know and respect economic history, but my articles here are news-reports.

          • diogenes

            That wasn’t the issue you raised or the issue my response addressed. The question isn’t your articles, which are narrowly focused on the present moment, with no historical perspective. The question is understanding the history that underlies our present fix, so as to avoid repeating it. This is a cheap sidestep. Your bad faith is on flagrant display.

          • cettel

            This article covers “Clinton Crushed Trump Among Big Donors: The Final Numbers.” This isn’t based on “tertiary accounts of later generations.” It is based on FEC and other current data.

          • diogenes

            Yes, but my comment did not address your article here; as is quite clear, it replies to your comment immediately above it which presents a specious and ill-informed attack on my essay, published elsewhere on this site, The Distribution of America. As you can plainly see, if you can read, and comprehend what you read, and think.

            But instead, you launch fake attacks and sidestep when your bogus criticisms are answered. This is not reputable behavior. On the contrary, on the face of it, and by the evidence above, it puts your good faith in serious question. Not for the first time, either.

  • I was interested in stats related to super rich donors. The “large” contribution list of people giveing $200 or more isn’t so helpful for that. The OpenSecrets site has a category called “Bundlers” that is more promising, but I only found their data for Clinton and not for Trump. Do they have the “Trump Bundlers” hidden somewhere on their site?

  • CMC761

    The chart I had from Fortune magazine based on Open Secrets and FEC was more like Clinton receiving 25x what Trump did. I figured the lobbyists were hedging their bets in this case.

    • cettel

      I was publishing the data from the FEC via opensecrets as of a day or so ago. You’re probably citing based on old data.

      • CMC761

        Does this mean Trump received more money, Clinton received less, or both?
        Yes, obviously the link is from September 2016. At that point, the damage was mostly done. But still it sounds like we’re at least on the same page. This obvious corruption of our political system must be opposed by the people.

        I attribute Hillary’s loss to arrogance and assuming she had the election sewn up with the big DEM states CA and NY. But her team did not concentrate on the cities like Obama did which allowed him to take states that went for Trump this time around thanks to rural turnout. Also it helped that those big cities are predominantly black and there was a huge turnout for Obama primarily based on race alone. Hillary took those voters for granted.

        The Intel report pointed to Russian hacking of DEM emails via a Russian server. However, we know these things can be spoofed. Assange said the emails were leaked. And there were others going after the emails, too like Judicial Watch. The other part of the Intel report pointed out Russia Today coverage when most of the American electorate does not pay attention to or know about RT. But the Intel report went on to say that all these Russian efforts were ordered by Putin and his top people. But what if there was nothing in the emails like the fact there’s a DNC insider apparatchik that pushed Hillary at the expense of Sanders or that Hillary was given debate questions ahead of time?
        As to the money, I still say the big contributors and lobbyists (and Wall Street) were hedging their bets. They typically have a sure thing with the GOP but they have to put coins in the machine for the DEMs.

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