News & Politics

Trump's Campaign Is Sinking and No One Is Doing Anything About It

Trump's Campaign Is Sinking and No One Is Doing Anything About It
(AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Donald Trump is nearly out of money, refuses to raise any more, hasn’t expanded his primary campaign to all 50 states,  is trying to alienate the only people who can salvage his campaign — the RNC — and appears unaware that his already record-level unfavorable rating continues to go up.

I’ve been writing about and participating in political campaigns for more than 40 years, but even a neophyte political reporter knows that the Trump campaign is in deep, deep trouble.

In his “Morning Jolt” newsletter, Jim Geraghty paints a grim picture for Donald Trump:

Why is anyone surprised that talk of a delegate revolt at the convention in Cleveland is picking up? Donald Trump isn’t doing the basic tasks a presidential candidate is supposed to do.

He isn’t hiring staff; he has about 30 paid staff around the country while Hillary Clinton has something in the neighborhood of 700.

He’s refusing to spend any money on ads:

The Clinton campaign and its allies are airing just over $23 million in television ads in eight potential battleground states: Nevada, Colorado, Iowa, Ohio, Florida, North Carolina, Virginia and New Hampshire, according to data released by NBC News.

The Trump campaign? Zero.

Either Trump is illiquid, or he doesn’t have the money.

He’s either refusing to fundraise, or seriously slacking in this key component of a presidential campaign:

While Trump had promised Priebus that he would call two dozen top GOP donors, when RNC chief of staff Katie Walsh recently presented Trump with a list of more than 20 donors, he called only three before stopping, according to two sources familiar with the situation. It’s unclear whether he resumed the donor calls later.

He’s destroyed existing relationships between the Republican party and corporate America that previously had been beyond the realm of policy differences:

Apple has told Republican leaders it will not provide funding or other support for the party’s 2016 presidential convention, as it’s done in the past, citing Donald Trump’s controversial comments about women, immigrants and minorities.

Unlike Facebook, Google and Microsoft, which have all said they will provide some support to the GOP event in Cleveland next month, Apple decided against donating technology or cash to the effort, according to two sources familiar with the iPhone maker’s plans.

He’s getting less popular and he’s only creating more headaches for everyone else in the party. He’s trailing in Kansas, tied in Utah, and Arizona looks shaky.

Republican primary voters selected a candidate with very little appeal to the broader electorate. So which is worse? Alienating the 13.8 million voters who selected him in the primary? Or alienating a majority of the 120 million to130 million who will vote in November? There’s no good option left; which one is less bad?

Trump’s own fundraising team believes he will fall far short of Hillary Clinton’s goal of raising $1.2 billion and possibly reach $300 million in cash.

But even that looks doubtful now.


A man with $10 billion and a decent shot at the presidency ought to be able to free up substantial funds to do that – and to do anything to win. That’s emphatically not happening. The Occam’s razor explanation is that he’s not worth $10 billion. However much he is worth, he appears not to possess the liquidity to conjure up the necessary $1 billion, or hundreds or even tens of millions, that a national campaign requires. Even a million is a stretch.

This might be OK if Trump were willing to raise money. After all, self-funding presidential campaigns are rare because they cost so much. But Trump doesn’t appear to be willing to do the minimum required on this front either. He dislikes calling rich donors. He has said that he wants the Republican Party apparatus to take over the functions of a national campaign. This is insane, because the Republican Party has its own job to do. It’s supposed to work concert with the nominee’s national organization, and with down-ballot campaigns. So handing it this huge extra job, without the money to make it happen, will hurt not just Trump but the entire Republican slate.

I refuse to play the psyche game where Trump is concerned. Does he really want to be president? Is he subconsciously trying to sabotage his campaign? It hardly matters, although I doubt he’d be so upset at the attempts to unseat him if he really didn’t want to be president.

So we’re left with the obvious: Trump is a rank political amatuer who doesn’t know what he’s doing and refuses to listen to people who can set him straight. Perhaps that’s the purpose of the pow-wow being held at Trump Towers today. Bloomberg reports it’s a meeting of top strategists and family.

An intervention?

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is gathering his top lieutenants, including members of his family, in New York on Monday to discuss a political strategy shift as he looks to move beyond recent missteps.

Trump is facing pressure from within his own inner circle—including from donors—who are growing increasingly frustrated with what they see as a lack of coordination and communication, members of Trump’s staff told Bloomberg Politics, at a crucial moment in the presidential race.

There’s also a growing impatience among some on Trump’s payroll that the candidate has failed to fill key roles within his campaign, including traveling press secretary and communications director, while Democrat Hillary Clinton’s synchronized political machine capitalized on a string of negative Trump headlines.

Trump may be changing politics as we know it — but not that much. You still need hundreds of paid staff to organize volunteers to canvas at the precinct level. You still need offices where professionals plan out strategies and delegate tasks. You still need some kind of digital presence besides Trump’s Twitter account. You still need a press operation, a rapid response team to squash lies being told about you, and most importantly, a get-out-the-vote apparatus that will get every possible supporter to the polls.

This is a national campaign encompassing 50 states with special emphasis on 12-15 swing states. It isn’t cheap. Even creating an operation half the size of Hillary Clinton’s is going to cost in excess of $300 million between now and election day. But from the evidence we’ve seen so far, Trump has little interest in following through to do what is necessary to give himself a fighting chance to win in November.