Yesterday, I questioned the extent to which the Trump campaign is getting the candidate’s message out. The campaign, I noted, wasn’t on the air waves in Virginia and North Carolina, two potential battleground states.
Today, the Washington Post reports that although Trump nearly matched Hillary Clinton in fundraising last month, he doesn’t seem to be spending the money. According to Post reporters Matea Gold and Anu Narayanswamy:
[N]ew Federal Election Commission filings show that Trump’s campaign transferred in much less than anticipated from its joint fundraising committees with the Republican National Committee, sharply reducing his expected monthly take. And of the cash the campaign raised, it spent fitfully, making little effort to expand its meager field operation at a key juncture in the race.
Trump’s approach, they say, makes the RNC the campaign’s organizing arm, in effect. Given all of the upheaval in the Trump campaign, this may not be an entirely negative development. However, outsourcing voter mobilization efforts to the Party has an obvious drawback because Trump’s interests are not perfectly aligned with the GOP’s.
Trump’s sole interest is, or should be, to mobilize voters in the half dozen to a dozen states where the presidential election, if it’s close, will be decided. The Party has an interest in winning tight House races all over the country and tight Senate races in some states where Trump may not be competitive.
That’s why veteran presidential campaign strategist Ed Rollins warns that Trump must make sure he has his “own imprint.” Otherwise, with Trump trailing in the polls, the temptation for the RNC to focus on key Senate races may well become too great to resist.
As for television advertising, the Post reports:
[Hillary Clinton] raced through $108 million by the end of July on TV ad production and air time, according to federal filings. Meanwhile, the Trump campaign launched its first general election TV ad last week, saying it planned to spend $4.8 million on a 10-day ad buy in Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Florida.
Underwhelming is the word that comes to mind.
Amateur hour is the term.