What is Trump wasting his cash on?
So he spent $63 million in July, right? But on what?
He hasn't spent it on TV or advertising. Seen any Trump ads recently? Just Clinton ads, right?
He hasn't spent it on staff, or field offices, or on those get-out-the-vote efforts he holds in such contempt. We keep hearing about all the officers he's "about" to open in swing states. But they're not opening.
To the extent this election is going to be competitive at all, the key states Trump must win are Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida. In Ohio, he has one office and four paid staffers; Clinton has twelve, and about 250 paid staff .
In Pennsylvania, Trump has five offices. Clinton has more than twenty and about 200 paid staff.
In Florida, Trump has one office and one paid staff. He supposedly is going to suddenly open 25 in September. But Hillary already has 12 campaign offices and hundreds of volunteers already conducting the canvass operation any professional campaign would have well underway by this point.
The thing is, it's getting late in the game for getting the "ground game," so to speak, "off the ground." And there is little evidence that the Trump people are doing much about it. Now, Trump has been quite vocal about his contempt for such things. He maintains that it's the strength of a candidate's personality, and not organization and hard work, that win presidential elections. He's not simply wrong about this. He's so drastically wrong that it simply proves that in this, as in so much else, he has absolutely no idea what he's talking about. We already know that he's a narcissist. But the depth of his hubris appears to be abysmal.
But where did that $63 million go? "The Huffington Post" has an article by Bob Burnett that lays all of this out, and runs through various possible answers- and the reason why none of them really work.
It also points out the most likely explanation for the mystery: Donald Trump is simply not a very good manager, He not only knows nothing about running a presidential campaign but hasn't surrounded himself with people who do.
I am not cynical enough to think that even Trump has lined his own pockets with this money. It was probably spent somewhere, for things that don't even matter. The significance of the missing $63 million is two-fold.
First, it shows what his record already makes clear to anyone who actually examines it rather than taking him at his word: Donald Trump not only isn't a good manager himself but doesn't seem to be able to delegate responsibility to those who are. Imagine what would happen if it were the country he was running, and the cabinet and various executive departments he wasn't staffing with competent people. Even authoritarian candidates who boast that they can make the trains run on time (which, btw, they actually didn't in Mussolini's Italy) has to, well, make the trains run on time at least on occasion. What possible use is authoritarianism if it isn't at least efficient?
The second point is that Trump's lack of and apparent contempt for organization is going to cost him dearly in November. You don't get credit for voters who support you but never get around to voting on Election Day. This point can easily be overdone- I ran a ward canvass operation for George McGovern in Chicago in 1972, and I can tell you all the organization and hard work in the world won't help if you have a non-viable candidate. But if an election is at all close, what matters is not how many voters support candidate "A" as opposed to candidate "B,"but rather how many voters who support each of them actually get to the polls!
Trump's incompetence as a campaign manager as well as his incompetence as a candidate not only reinforce pre-existing doubts about his competence as a potential president but also illustrate why he'll never be president. He's going to lose massively in any case. And he's not even a good enough manager to see the importance of getting his supporters to actually vote for him!
Where is the money? I have no idea- and for the most part, it doesn't really matter. Labor Day is the traditional start of the campaign, and maybe- as Burnett points out- he's got a massive TV ad program ready.
But he doesn't seem to be buying ad time.
Maybe he's going to be opening a whole slew of offices, especially in those three critical states. But who is going to staff them? He has a great deal of recruiting to do when it comes to volunteers, and certainly his followers- say whatever else you want about them- are enthusiastic. But he should have hundreds and hundreds of them signed up by now.
Maybe he's got some kind of surprise planned. But what could it be? And can it offset the time he's already lost?
Maybe. But until I see evidence to the contrary, I think the most likely explanation is still that Donald Trump doesn't know any more about running a campaign than he does about running a country- and that he's going to be slaughtered in November.