The Most Reliable Simple Way to Identify the Best Democratic Presidential Candidates

Eric Zuesse

Can one reasonably trust the campaign promises of Presidential candidates? Not at all! This isn’t only because the candidate might not be able to achieve his promises if elected, but even more it’s because in recent times, candidates haven’t been promising things that they actually intend to fight for if elected. Trump made a few progressive promises and also many conservative promises; and, as soon as he was elected, he dropped all of his progressive promises (such as restoring the Glass-Steagall Act, and such as reversing the Clinton-Bush-Obama policy of America serving as policeman — and judge, jury, and executioner — to the world), and implemented only the promises that Republican Party billionaires — his donors — either wanted or found acceptable to their own interests (such as locking up immigrants in private prisons). Similarly, Obama dropped his proposed “public option” the very moment he became elected, and he never fought for it, at all. The only promises that he did keep were the secret ones he had made to his biggest donors, such as when he secretly told the kings of Wall Street (major donors to his career), at the very start of his Presidency, “My administration is the only thing between you and the pitchforks. … You guys have an acute public relations problem. … I want to help. … I’m not out there to go after you. I’m protecting you.” And that’s exactly what he actually did do — also in secret. His public pronouncements were merely his personal propaganda. He was so gifted at lying, he fooled the Nobel Committee into granting him their Peace Prize — for his mere rhetoric.

The best of the simple ways to identify the best Presidential candidates (especially since trusting, and largely relying upon, their promises would be so stupid) is to choose the one with the highest ratio of how much money they’re raising, divided by how many billionaires are donating to that candidate. The more billionaires who are donating to a candidate, the worse the candidate is. These giant investors want to be winners in everything they do; but, even more, they crave a President who will do their bidding — do what the billionaire had actually hired him/her to do. To the extent that billionaires feel certain that a candidate won’t do their bidding, they avoid that candidate like the plague. A candidate who refuses even to reach out to billionaires for donations is, to them, highly suspect; and a candidate who publicly makes a policy of doing that is considered by them to be their personal enemy, and they will do everything they possibly can, with their news-media, foundations, corporations, and otherwise, to defeat him/her.

On this rational scale, a candidate who raises no money and gets none from billionaires would be 0/0, which is realistically out of the real contest altogether — a candidate who has no public appeal, and no chance at all (no funds with which to campaign).

A candidate who doesn’t raise much money, but who gets a high percentage of it from super-rich people, is in the worst category of all, for the public, because that person is extremely dependent upon the super-rich, and stands no chance of winning, other than by making his/her most important and sincere promises to the billionaires who have bought the candidate and who have probably met privately with him/her and received secret promises from that candidate.

A candidate who has raised lots of money, and little of it from the super-rich, is owned by the public, and almost not at all by any billionaires.

A candidate who has raised lots of money from lots of people and none of it from billionaires, is the best candidate of all.

So, here that is, in more detail, and then applying that system, by naming the candidates:

A candidate who has raised the most money, and none of it from any billionaire, is clearly the very best for the public, because that person is owned 100% by the public, and not at all by any billionaire. As President, that person would be free-and-clear, to serve the public. And the only way for such a politician to be re-elected is to serve the public. That’s the ideal — if  such a candidate exists. Does he/her?

My sources, in what follows, are the New York Times, for the total dollars raised, and also for the total number of donors; plus Forbes, for the number of the candidate’s billionaire donors. All of these data are current, as of 31 July 2019.

The candidate who has raised the most money of all is Bernie Sanders, $36 million, from 746,000 donors, none of whom is a billionaire. He therefore is clearly the best candidate. He is that ideal candidate. It actually exists, in this particular electoral contest.

The candidate who has raised the second-most money is Pete Buttigieg, $32 million, from 390,000 donors, 23 of whom are billionaires. He is #1 in the number of billionaires, and #2 in funds raised; so, he has probably made secret promises to at least 23 super-rich individuals (which is the largest number of billionaire backers of any candidate in the race), but nonetheless he has also suckered lots of non super-rich, to be passionate enough for him to become President for them to donate to his campaign. If he becomes President, he will be extremely dangerous against the public, because he is extremely good at fooling the public (as is shown by his having 52% as many donors as Sanders has), and he is also extremely indebted to billionaires (as is shown by his having 23 billionaire-backers). He’d be like Barack Obama was: a rotten President, whose achievements in office would be what he had secretly promised to only the very wealthiest Americans. He’s slick enough to be able to deliver that type of government — billionaires’ government — to America’s billionaires. He would be the best bet for any billionaire to finance. Billionaires already know this.

The candidate who has raised the third-most money is Elizabeth Warren, $25 million, from 421,000 donors, of whom 2 are billionaires. She might be the second-best candidate after Sanders. She should drop out and endorse Sanders, if she cares about the country. Or does she not really agree with his objectives for the country? If she doesn’t, and can provide strong criticism against his proposals, then she has an obligation to Democratic Party voters to lay those differences out on the table for the Party’s voters to consider, right now. Otherwise, she is merely seeking power even more than she is seeking a better America. The idea that her being honest with the Party’s voters would ‘give the Republicans ammunition’ in the general election is fraudulent, because there already are plenty of Democratic candidates who are criticizing Sanders’s proposals, and nobody thinks that that is ‘giving the Republicans ammunition’. The purpose of a primary is to get the candidate who most-fully represents that Party’s voters, to become its nominee — not necessarily the entire electorate’s voters. The purpose of the general election is for the nominees of the Parties to persuade the most voters of the entire electorate, that their proposals are the best for the nation-as-a-whole. We’re not yet in the general-election phase, not even nearly so. Elizabeth Warren should drop out, and endorse Sanders, if she is at all honest, and isn’t merely seeking power.

The candidate who has raised the fourth-most money is Kamala Harris, $24 million, from 277,000 donors, of whom 17 are billionaires. She, like Buttigieg, is a contender (though a less-effective one) to become another President Barack Obama. Although she scores higher now in the polls than Buttigieg does, she has fewer supporters who are passionate in support of her than he does. If she becomes President, she will be less effective than Buttigieg would, and therefore she’s not as dangerous to the country as he would be. Too many people would see through her act. She’d be very ineffective, maybe even ineffective for her megadonors. The Republicans would therefore block her initiatives more easily than they would block a President Buttigieg’s initiatives. Only the very worst of her initiatives (her secret promises to billionaires) might become passed by Congress.

The candidate who has raised the fifth-most money is Joe Biden, $22 million from 256,000 people, 13 of whom are billionaires. He’s equivalent to Harris and to Buttigieg. Though he now leads the polls, his likelihood of winning the nomination is evidently much lower than generally expected, and his likelihood of beating Trump is currently way over-rated. Biden isn’t as competent a liar as is Harris, and not nearly as much as is Buttigieg. His Presidency, if he does beat Trump, would be just as much a failure as Harris’s would be. He (like Harris) would be even less effective than Obama was. But this doesn’t mean that he couldn’t be even more dangerous than Obama was. It would just mean that Republicans would get their way even more than they did under Obama.

The candidate who has raised the sixth-most money is Betto O’Rourke, $13 million, from 188,000 donors, 9 of whom are billionaires.

Those are all of the candidates who, as of the present moment, are, at all, real (even if some of them, especially O’Rourke, weak) contenders.

However, that’s not the full list of the billionaires’ favorites. Some candidates are so subservient to billionaires as to get donations from them even despite their already having shown that the Party’s voters hold the given candidate in low regard. (Any billionaire can afford to spend on luxuries, such as super-cravenous servants.) Here is the ranking of those, and the candidate’s respective number of billionaire donors:

1: Pete Buttigieg, 23.

2: Cory Booker, 18.

3: Kamala Harris, 17.

4. Michael Bennett, 15.

5. Joe Biden, 13.

6. John Hickenlooper, 11.

7. Beto O’Rourke, 9.

8. Amy Klobuchar, 8.

9. Jay Inslee, 5.

10. Kirsten Gillibrand, 4.

11. John Delaney, 3.

12. Elizabeth Warren & Steve Bullock, tied with 2 each.

13. Tulsi Gabbard, Andrew Yang, Marianne Williamson, tied with 1 each.

14. Bernie Sanders, 0.

My own top two preferences are Bernie Sanders and Tulsi Gabbard. But I trust Sanders the most, and therefore prefer him. Furthermore, if Gabbard cannot score higher in the polls than she now is doing, then she, too, should just drop out and endorse Sanders, so as to prevent Biden, Harris, or Buttigieg from obtaining the Democratic Party’s nomination. However, this is only my personal opinion, and the numbers that have been presented here are not affected by that opinion; instead, these numbers have helped to shape this opinion. (My opinion is also shaped by my having carefully examined each candidate’s voting record on issues as a member of Congress, if the candidate has been in Congress; or, otherwise, the person’s record in other public offices.) My political ideology can be found here.

This contest is now between two groups of three candidates each: for the public are Sanders, Warren, and Gabbard; for the billionaires are Biden, Harris, and Buttigieg. It will be mainly an endurance contest, first within each of those two groups, and then between the respective winner of each of the two groups. Money therefore will determine the winner even more than the current polls will. Candidates normally drop out when their money becomes exhausted. I am hoping that Warren and Gabbard will do so before that. I am hoping that Warren and Gabbard truly are more interested in the fate of the country, and of the world, than in becoming the U.S. President. For Warren, and for Gabbard, that test will be the ultimate test of the given candidate’s honesty. If each of them passes that test, then the final, the general electoral, contest will be between Sanders versus Trump. No candidate, in the history of polling, has performed consistently as highly and as well in polled hypothetical matchups against Trump as has Sanders. That is just a fact. It’s not opinion. But, currently, Biden scores even higher against Trump than Sanders does. That, too, is a fact. In my opinion, the result of it will be that Biden will increasingly suck up most of the billionaires’ donations, and that increasing numbers of billionaires will donate also to Warren, in order to knock Sanders out and win the nomination for Biden. Warren could turn out to be the billionaires’ biggest weapon, and Biden’s biggest friend. Consequently, Warren could be the most dangerous person in the contest, and the biggest asset for Biden. If I had to bet now, I would bet on the Democrats producing a Biden-Warren ticket. If that turns out to be the case, I won’t vote on the Presidential line in the general election, or else I’ll vote for some third Party’s nominee there. I won’t vote for a fascist — not even for a liberal one.


Here are results from the latest poll, which was taken of potential general-election voters (Democrats, Republicans and Independents), and therefore is more an extremely early general-election indicator of the general-election results, than it’s an indicator of whom the Democratic Party’s voters — the voters during the primary contests — will vote to become the Democratic Party’s nominee; and what it shows is that each of the Democratic Party’s nominees has lots of opposition amongst the public; even the candidates who are the likeliest to become the Party’s nominee do; so, the general-election contest will be extremely hard-fought, for the votes of an ideologically schizophrenic American electorate, in a country which is anything but united. Therefore, any voter in the primaries who is trying to “beat Trump” instead of to choose simply the best candidate to serve as the U.S. President, is making compromises in advance, on the basis of misunderstanding this nation’s electorate, and is thereby giving the billionaires a gift of compromise, by compromising with them even before the final contest has actually started:

The Economist/YouGov Poll August 3 – 6, 2019 – 1500 US Adult citizens 60B. Favorability of politicians — Joe Biden Do you have a favorable or an unfavorable opinion of the following people?


Don’t know 18%

Favorable 41% (Very favorable 19%, Somewhat favorable 22%

Unfavorable 41% (Somewhat favorable 24%, Very unfavorable 24%)


Don’t know 61%

Favorable 18%

Unfavorable 22%


Don’t know 34%

Favorable 30%

Unfavorable 32%


Don’t know 64%

Favorable 15%

Unfavorable 21%


Don’t know 39%

Favorable 31% (Very favorable 15%, Somewhat favorable 16%)

Unfavorable 30% (Somewhat unfavorable 11%, Very unfavorable 19%)


Don’t know 43%

Favorable 26%

Unfavorable 29%

De Blasio

Don’t know 42%

Favorable 17%

Unfavorable 42%


Don’t know 58%

Favorable 15%

Unfavorable 27%


Don’t know 48%

Favorable 22% (Very favorable 6%, Somewhat favorable 16%)

Unfavorable 27% (Somewhat unfavorable 15%, Very unfavorable 15%)


Don’t know 42%

Favorable 24%

Unfavorable 34%


Don’t know 29%

Favorable 31% (Very favorable 14%, Somewhat favorable 17%)

Unfavorable 40% (Somewhat unfavorable 13%, Very unfavorable 27%)


Don’t know 55%

Favorable 17%

Unfavorable 28%


Don’t know 59%

Favorable 18%

Unfavorable 23%


Don’t know 47%

Favorable 23%

Unfavorable 30%


Don’t know 35%

Favorable 29%

Unfavorable 37%


Don’t know 56%

Favorable 16%

Unfavorable 28%


Don’t know 18%

Favorable 40% (Very favorable 18%, Somewhat favorable 22%)

Unfavorable 42% (Somewhat unfavorable 13%, Very unfavorable 29%)


Don’t know 24%

Favorable 38% (Very favorable 20%, Somewhat favorable 18%)

Unfavorable 38% (Somewhat unfavorable 10%, Very unfavorable 28%)


Don’t know 50%

Favorable 18%

Unfavorable 32%


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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