Will Katzenberg Lead Biden’s $2B Machine?

Jeffery Katzenberg, a Hollywood mogul with gravitas in fundraising circles from a decade or two in the trenches.
Jeffery Katzenberg, a Hollywood mogul with gravitas in fundraising circles from a decade or two in the trenches. Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images
Theodore Schleifer
April 25, 2023

One of the unspoken truths among Biden’s 2024 mega-bundlers is that this time will be harder—even though, as you recall, last time was pretty hard, too. Four years ago, after all, Biden had to scrounge for money on Zoom from a crisis-stricken billionaire class distracted by the once-in-a-century pandemic, crippling economic anxiety, and, at one point, a large Democratic field. But in the end, he feasted from the limitless appetite among liberal and center-right business leaders to get rid of Donald Trump, no matter the cost. 

Now, as Biden announces his re-election bid, a quirky and entirely different fundraising malaise looms: Trump, once an omnipresent threat, seems quarantined in Mar-a-Lago and on Truth Social. The donor community in 2024 is widely expected to be a subset of the donors who participated in 2020, when American democracy felt on the line. Even if Trump is the nominee again, there’s a fear in Democratic fundraising circles that the election won’t feel quite as urgent or existential the third time around, potentially depriving Biden’s campaign of the resources they’ll need.