News & Politics

Trump's Götterdämmerung: Halts Big-Money Fundraising to Punish the Republican Party

(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)

Donald Trump’s final days as a presidential nominee are apparently going to resemble more Stalin’s retreat from the Volga than an inspiring push for a comeback.

Enraged at Republicans who refuse to endorse him or disagree that his nauseating groping, fondling, and assaulting of women represents civilized behavior, Trump is shutting down his joint fundraising efforts with the RNC, effectively starving the party of cash at the exact moment it’s needed the most.

Washington Post:

Steven Mnuchin, Trump’s national finance chairman, said in an interview with The Washington Post on Tuesday that Trump Victory, a joint fundraising committee between the party and the campaign, held its last formal fundraiser on Oct. 19. The luncheon was in Las Vegas on the day of the final presidential debate.

“We’ve kind of wound down,” Mnuchin said. “But the online fundraising continues to be strong.”

While Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton is headlining her last fundraiser Tuesday night in Miami, her campaign has scheduled 41 other events between now and Nov. 3 featuring high-profile surrogates such as her daughter, Chelsea, running mate Tim Kaine and the entertainer Cher, according to a schedule sent to donors this weekend.

Mnuchin said the Trump campaign decided to keep the candidate’s final weeks focused on taking his message to the voters in person rather than on raising money. There may be a handful of events in coming days featuring Trump surrogates, including his son Donald Jr., according to people familiar with the internal discussions. But Mnuchin said “there is virtually nothing planned.”

“We have minimized his fundraising schedule over the last month to emphasize his focus on political [events],” Mnuchin said. “Unlike Hillary, who has been fundraising and not out and about, he has constantly been out and about.”

But Trump’s decision effectively turns off one of the main spigots to the Republican National Committee, which collected $40 million through Trump Victory as of Sept. 30. The party has devoted a large share of the funds to pay for its national voter mobilization program to benefit the entire Republican ticket.

RNC officials said that party leaders, including chairman Reince Priebus, are continuing to bring in resources for the party. “The RNC continue to fundraise for the entire GOP ticket,” said spokeswoman Lindsay Walters.

Mnuchin said Trump does not need high-dollar fundraisers because his campaign is being buoyed by online donations, which he said are on track to hit a new record in October.

“We couldn’t be more pleased with how the fundraising has gone,” he said, adding: “We have big media buys, we have a terrific ground game.”

But the RNC gets only 20 percent of the money that Trump raises online in conjunction with the party, while the vast majority of the big checks contributed to Trump Victory are routed to the party.

The idea that the RNC has built a “terrific” ground game is absurd. Hillary Clinton has massively outspent and out-organized Trump in every single state that matters.

In critical swing states where Trump and Clinton are competing for electoral votes, the disparity is stark. The Ohio Democratic Party has 502 staffers on payroll. The state Republican Party paid just 104 people in its last payroll period.

More than 300 staffers were on the North Carolina Democratic Party’s payroll at the end of September. That’s three times the number of state Republican Party staffers on the ground.

In Nevada, where polls show a tight race, the state Republican Party employs 67 staffers. The state Democratic Party has several times that number, 240. Iowa Republicans, who hope to preserve Trump’s relatively strong poll numbers, have 32 staffers. The state Democratic Party has 206 paid staff.

In Pennsylvania, a must-win state for Trump’s campaign, state Republicans employ 62 total staff — and state Democrats have 508 people on payroll. Florida Democrats have 678 paid staffers, compared with 150 people who work for the Republican Party of Florida.

Polls also show Arizona, normally a reliably red state, is a closer contest than anticipated. The Clinton campaign said this week it would invest $2 million trying to win Arizona’s 10 electoral votes — and the state party reported paying 230 field staffers last month. By contrast, the Arizona Republican Party paid just 12 staff members.

Among the battleground states on the map this year, Republicans maintain a staffing edge in just one state: New Hampshire, where the state GOP pays 222 people. Democrats have a staff about half that size.

But about three quarters of the paid GOP staff received small stipends, an indication they are among the ranks of trained organizers rather than full-time staff.

Anyone who thinks those numbers don’t matter — especially in a tight race — doesn’t know crap about politics.

Trump is going to get trounced and he is going to blame it on anyone and everyone but his own incompetent, mismanaged campaign. And he now appears to be bound and determined to take the entire Republican Party down with him.