Scampaign 2016 Reveals Itself Fully
Rich Lowry breaks down swing-state ad spending from June between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump:
Colorado: Team Clinton $2.9 million, Team Trump $0
Florida: Team Clinton $7.3 million, Team Trump $0
Iowa: Team Clinton $1.6 million, Team Trump $0
North Carolina: Team Clinton $2.3 million, Team Trump $0
New Hampshire: Team Clinton $1.2 million, Team Trump $0
Nevada: Team Clinton $2.5 million, Team Trump $0
Ohio: Team Clinton $5.6 million, Team Trump $0
Virginia: Team Clinton $2.4 million, Team Trump $0
Total: Team Clinton $25.8 million, Team Trump $0
A man who may be elected president in November doesn’t spend June hawking Scottish golf resorts.
A man who spent June hawking Scottish golf resorts has no reason to throw good money after bad.
The good news is that Trump can continue to self-fund his campaign at this rate. While people didn’t think spending $0 is what he meant by that, that’s exactly what he meant from the start. Trump is reluctant to throw money into the black hole that is his candidacy because it’s a scam. It’s Scampaign 2016.
Scampaign 2016 adheres to no rules. Rachel Stockman writes how a nonprofit, nonpartisan group, The Campaign Legal Center, has filed a federal complaint against Donald Trump for allegedly illegally soliciting money from foreign nationals to fund his presidential campaign.
Scampaign 2016 has no allegiance to the truth. Ari Melber and Alexandra Jaffe report how Trump has said he has forgiven the 50 million dollars he loaned to the campaign, but there is no proof he has done so. Until Trump formally forgives the loans, he maintains the legal option to use new donations to reimburse himself.
Scampaign 2016 says the deficit now is attributable to the spending gap. Unfortunately, that’s bad news because the spending gap isn’t going away and is likely to only get worse. Deep pocket donors aren’t going to waste their money trying to bail out Trump’s flailing campaign, when he either doesn’t have or isn’t spending the cash to bail himself out. Campaign funding is path-dependent (success breeds success, failure starts a long spiral) and the narrative that Trump is a sure loser has set in. Look at predictions markets.
According to a former staffer, Trump was never serious about this. He did it for kicks and publicity and assumed he’d be out through the primaries. He never thought he’d actually get the nomination. Scampaign 2016: “Why not get paid while helping old friends?”
A Boon To Hillary and Democrats
Elections are popularity contests, not trash-talking contests. Unsurprisingly, Hillary is beating or tied with Trump in these battleground states (in some cases by double digits). These ad buys are almost certainly playing a part in her pulling ahead.
By conventional thinking, the republican and democratic nominees should never be more than 3-4 points apart nationally and the battleground states should all be within 1-2 points. Virginia, Ohio and Florida are the states that should be within 1-2 points and those are the states Trump needs to win.
In late June 2012, Obama was supported by 47-47.5% while Bush was at 46% in 2004. Past general election winners have never hit 50% before the final months of the race. Hillary has actually already achieved this feat, rising above the 50% mark for a brief period in late March.
Kerry and Romney both seemed OK during the summer despite a massive barrage of attack ads by the incumbent party, yet (at least according to conventional wisdom) both were “defined” during the period of time and they were unable to fight back. Currently, virtually all of Trump’s press is negative.
Trump has been shown to have a lead in the latest Quinnipiac and Rasmussen national tracking polls, but they only indicate a general mood and can show overall longer term directional trends. They aren’t a good indicator for winning the 50 state electoral vote process. Clinton is ahead in nearly every national and swing state poll.
Trump has turned R-likely states into R-lean states and toss-up states into D-lean states. Remember, almost no Hispanics or other minorities participate in GOP primaries.
Trump isn’t even pretending that he wants to win. If someone wanted to destroy the Republican Party could they do a better job of it? He isn’t just crowning Hillary, he is destroying all the down-ticket candidates as well. He’s continuing to throw out red meat to galvanize the Democratic vote.
For Republicans, the issue is not only whether Trump can win a general election, but is he willing even to put in the effort? At this point, Trump brings nothing to down-ticket candidates. He is not raising money, which means the candidate for a Congressional seat or governorship or state assembly cannot count on his fundraising prowess to get funds in the door.
This will come up at the Republican convention. Trump shows no intent to carry a ticket that says “Republican” down-ballot, which is the only reason to have a convention in the first place. Conventions are not solely for picking a Presidential candidate, but also advancing a platform with many political candidates who can advance that platform when in office. We’re talking about registration drives, neighbor-to-neighbor campaigning, organizing volunteers, phone-banking, identifying supporters and calling them up on election day, driving them to the polls if necessary – and all the knock-on benefits to down-ballot Republicans.
It would no doubt be better if Trump surrounded himself with potential cabinet picks. Given the nastiness with which Trump conducted himself during the primary, he couldn’t have been hoping that his rivals, some of whom don’t agree with his policies (such as they are), would be climbing over one another to stand next to him. Considering some of the things Trump says while on stage – and the general dishevelment of his campaign – the best cabinet picks loathe to appear there.
What About The GOP Primary?
How did Scampaign 2016 get off the ground? Trump won the primary because 17 unpalatable candidates effectively split the vote, he received billions of dollars in free advertising and Republican intelligentsia refused to back any singular one of those other unpalatable candidates. Additionally, there was not a ton of money spent against him in the primary. By the time spending against him started, it was too late.
Trump’s advantage among P.C.-loathing angry conservative white men might have won him the primary, but the non-Republican majority perceives him as a swaggering racist bully. He himself has all but admitted he needs to run a different kind of campaign than he did in the primaries if he wants to win the general.
The pollsters were actually right about him being a winner in the GOP primaries though pundits were incredulous that data pointed to him winning them. Now, however, it seems equally clear he is stuck in second place behind Hillary. The bottom line is, if he is such a strong and attractive candidate, how come we don’t see it in the opinion polls?
GOP Senate candidates need to rerun the “don’t give Clinton a blank check” campaign they ran in ’96 when it was obvious Dole would lose. They can even use the same old signs.