Trump revels in the adoration of his advocates at a rally in Phoenix on June 6.Gage Skidmore/ZUMA Press Wire

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Donald Trump might have faced defeat in the Manhattan court where a jury recently found him guilty of 34 offenses, but there’s a battleground he and his political party seem to be dominating: in the competition to secure substantial contributions from the wealthiest families in the United States.

Despite Trump’s alleged appeal to the general public, by May 1, less than one-third of the funds donated to his campaign committee for the 2024 election cycle were from grassroots supporters—individuals contributing less than $200. (Campaign finance reports usually lag one or two months behind.)

According to OpenSecrets, significant contributors made up 69 percent of Trump’s total of $121 million. Meanwhile, President Joe Biden’s campaign, which raised $195 million, received 54 percent from major donors.

On a broader scale, the majority of confirmed contributions from the most significant political contributors—the top 100 families—have been directed towards Republican candidates and organizations.

In the “hard money” classification—direct contributions to candidates, which are constrained by federal laws to modest amounts—Republicans received 27 percent more from the Top 100 families than Democrats did ($85.9 million vs. $67.9 million).

When considering all federal donations, including “soft money,” a segment that includes substantial donations allowed to party committees and unrestricted sums given to SuperPACs, Republicans amassed a staggering $508 million from the Top 100—triple the $169 million intake of the Democrats.

And this was all prior to Trump’s conviction.

As someone who covers wealth and tax policies, I believe Biden and the Democrats have unnerved some of America’s wealthiest individuals with their various (and mostly unsuccessful) attempts to tackle exploitative loopholes and increase taxes on corporations and the affluent elite. This encompasses propositions to tax the unrealized profits of the mega-rich—the theoretical gains on appreciating investments that are presently only taxed upon the sale of the assets.

Meanwhile, Trump and the Republicans are striving to uphold their unfavorable (and ultimately unsatisfactory) 2017 tax cuts—a move that the Congressional Budget Office estimates will cost the US government $3.5 trillion over a decade.

Trump has pledged to go even further: “We’re going to provide tax reductions,” he informed a gathering of “wealthy as hell” potential donors at a December Mar-a-Lago fundraiser. Since then, he has been overtly transactional in his fundraising efforts, cautioning affluent donors that backing Biden will come at a cost, whereas a second Trump administration’s policies would further enrich them, along with corporate shareholders. (He has also approached oil and gas executives for substantial donations, assuring them that his administration would pursue policies in their favor.)

A deluge of funds has flowed into Trump’s accounts since his conviction—the campaign asserts that it received $53 million in the initial 24 hours. While quite surreal, I suppose it all adds up. Considering that when Trump begins a post-conviction press briefing with the statement, “This is a situation where, if they can do this to me, they can do this to anyone,” several of those wealthy donors probably see it as a direct message to them.