According to new reporting, although the wealthy conservative family the Mercers donated some $15.5 million to various organizations supporting the Trump campaign in 2016, this time around, their donations are staying far more limited, at least comparatively speaking. Around the time of the 2016 election, the Mercers also donated $1 million to the financially bloated committee that handled Trump’s inauguration, but this time around, the Mercers’ donations have been significantly more restrained. The list of their recent support has included $400,000 that went to the pro-Trump super PAC known as the Great America PAC during the 2018 election cycle and a more recent donation of $355,200 to the Trump Victory Committee, which is a joint fundraising effort of the Trump campaign and the Republican Party.
Now, as the Independent summarizes:
‘Five people in the same sphere as the Mercer family have told Business Insider it was unlikely the billionaire would re-emerge prior to November with funding for the president. A Republican Party official close to the Trump campaign, who spoke on condition of anonymity to Business Insider, said the campaign was not expecting to receive financial or any other support from the Mercer family. “The Mercer cavalry,” the official said, “isn’t coming over the hill.” Another associate of Rebekah Mercer told the publication: “They’re 100, 100, 100 per cent out.”’
In 2016, the Mercers’ “other support” for the Trump campaign included financial support for Cambridge Analytica, the technically now defunct data analysis organization that was at the center of a scandal when the revelation came out that it had deceptively gathered personal information from millions of Facebook users. The firm used the data to assist in the development extremely targeted ads on behalf of entities including the Trump campaign. Robert Mercer cofounded the firm in 2013, and his daughter, Rebekah, served on its board.
Vanity Fair offered an explanation of sorts for the Mercers’ relative financial restraint in a piece that went up in mid-2019. According to the publication’s Gabriel Sherman:
‘Sources said the Mercers cut back their spending because they felt scarred by the press scrutiny that followed their association with Trump. Two sources said Rebekah’s divorce from her husband is also motivating her to keep a low profile. “This whole thing did not end up well for them,” former Trump adviser Sam Nunberg told me. “They’ve been destroyed,” a former West Wing official said.’
Trump’s loss of the overwhelming financial support of the Mercers underscores his political precariousness heading into the general election. He consistently trails presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden in polls from around the country. The Cook Political Report estimates that Democrats can count on at least 308 electoral votes that are at least “leaning” Democratic, which is far more than the total needed to win. In the outlet’s estimation, there are 43 currently “toss-up” electoral votes and just 187 electoral votes currently at least “leaning” Republican. That’s not a great political position for the GOP — putting money into the Trump campaign at this point might be a brazenly bad investment.
Trump, for his part, consistently refuses to acknowledge his dismal political prospects. He consistently insists that polls showing him losing are “fake.” They’re not.