Donald Trump’s re-election campaign has spent $46.6 million on Facebook + Google advertising since the 2018 midterm elections.
By contrast, Joe Biden’s campaign has spent $12.4 million on the same platforms, and the Sanders campaign has spent $21 million. As the Democratic primary comes to a close, we’ll be focusing much more attention on Trump’s spending, which has been lagging in recent weeks, at least on Facebook and Google.
Trump has yet to advertise around the coronavirus directly or indirectly and instead is recycling a lot of past content. This isn’t some newfound restraint – his campaign has aggressively advertised on big presidential moments before – we just assume they don’t want to remind their voters of how dire the situation is. His newest wave of survey ads on Facebook try to push the narrative that the Democratic primary is rigged against ‘Crazy Bernie:’
…and on Google, they’re re-using old ads slamming Democrats for supporting healthcare for undocumented immigrants, (still) demanding that Adam Schiff resign, urging an investigation into Hunter Biden, and ran an ad last week saying Election Day is a year away (pro-tip: it’s seven months away).
On the Democratic side, Joe Biden continues to significantly increase his spending on Facebook and Google, spending $5 million since Super Tuesday and nearly doubling his campaign’s spend to that point. After an uneventful debate on Sunday night, he swept primaries in Florida, Illinois, and Arizona on Tuesday, building up a major delegate lead against Bernie Sanders.
Since losing Tuesday’s primaries, Bernie Sanders’ campaign stopped running all Facebook advertising as they contemplate their next move. Oh, and while he’s been quarantined, Bernie made his TikTok debut. FWIW, Tulsi Gabbard finally ended her campaign yesterday and endorsed Joe Biden yesterday, so um… aloha. 🤟
The below chart shows the Biden campaign’s continued spending increase since Super Tuesday.
…and here are the top political ad spenders on Facebook + Google last week:
In some ~personal news~ our affiliated political action committee, PACRONYM, announced a new phase of its Four Is Enough campaign in the Washington Post this week. We’ll be aiming to spend several million dollars over the coming weeks boosting news articles and explainer content on how the President’s incompetence and lack of preparedness for this pandemic have made us all less safe. As Trump pivots his messaging to try to convince voters his administration has the situation under control, we are committed to ensuring voters know the facts.
Other groups like Protect our Care and American Bridge have begun talking about the crisis in a political context, and Crooked’s Dan Pfeiffer made a solid argument for how Democrats should navigate pandemic politics.