As it turns out, running a presidential campaign according to the whims of Donald Trump isn’t great for financial stability. The New York Times reports in a new exposé that the Trump campaign and its partners at the Republican Party have already spent the majority of the $1.1 billion that they’d raised from the beginning of 2019 through July of this year. Specifically, more than $800 million of the money has been dished out, and some of it has gone to truly Trumpian expenses. For example, the Trump campaign bought Super Bowl ads that cost a combined $11 million — which was more than they’d spent on local television ads in four important battleground states combined by the end of July. (The states were Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa, and Minnesota.)
The Times reports that “some people inside the campaign are forecasting what was once unthinkable: a cash crunch with less than 60 days until the election, according to Republican officials briefed on the matter.” Not only is the Trump campaign somewhat on the rocks financially, the Biden campaign is going full steam ahead with its own record-shattering fundraising. In August, the Biden campaign and its partners in the national Democratic Party raised a staggering $364.5 million, which “is believed to be the most ever raised by a presidential candidate in a single month,” Axios reports.
Among the Trump campaign’s huge expenses was more than $350 million that went towards fundraising operations while the campaign was under the leadership of its now former manager, Brad Parscale, who the pro-Trump super PAC chief Ed Rollins asserted spent money “like a drunken sailor.” During his time on the job, Parscale even had a personal car and driver provided for his usage, and the Times characterizes those services as “an unusual expense for a campaign manager.” Trump has told allies that Bill Stepien, who replaced Parscale, “took a pay cut when the president gave him the job,” according to the Times. Parscale, for his part, has blamed at least some of his steep spending on an effort to catch the GOP’s base of online donors up to the one that Democrats already had.
According to the Times, some outlandish expenses — like an idea to spend $3 million to sponsor a NASCAR car and get the president’s campaign imagery on it — have been cast to the side. Yet, there are still expenses like the more than $1 million that’s been spent on advertising in the D.C. media market, although there’s likely no chance that Trump will actually win in the nation’s capital, which is heavily Democratic. In reality, the ads are likely meant in part to be viewed by the president himself during his many hours of television-watching.
Meanwhile, about $4 million of the campaign/ party’s money has gone to Trump-branded businesses since 2019, according to the Times — adding another layer to Trump’s self-serving campaign.
The spending has not paid off. As of Monday evening, Democratic presidential pick Joe Biden leads Trump by an average of 7.5 percent in national-level polling, according to FiveThirtyEight. According to the site’s Nate Silver, there’s an about 99 percent chance of Biden winning the electoral college if he finishes with that margin in the national popular vote. On September 7, 2016, Hillary Clinton led Trump in national polls by an average of just 3.1 percent. Biden is in a demonstrably better position.
Chance of a Biden Electoral college win if he wins the popular vote by X points:
0-1 points: just 6%!
1-2 points: 22%
2-3 points: 46%
3-4 points: 74%
4-5 points: 89%
5-6 points: 98%
6-7 points: 99%
— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) September 2, 2020