As the 2020 election campaign heats up following Labor Day, campaign consultants are scratching their heads at the whopping $800 million spent by Donald Trump's re-election officials, saying it appears to have been wasted as he continues to flounder in the polls.
According to the Guardian, the Trump campaign lost a $200 million advantage it had over Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden at a time when the election battle shifts into high gear.
Noting that the New York Times described the Trump campaign's coffers are "dangerously depleted for the critical final phase," one political observer said they have put themselves in a tough spot.
“There’s so much about the Trump campaign that is unorthodox, ineffective and counterproductive: the fact they’ve spent their war chest before the war is an obvious example,” explained Larry Jacobs, of the Center for the Study of Politics and Governance at the University of Minnesota, before adding, "Money is maybe more important this time around because Trump can’t do the mega rally and is not getting the kind of free press he got in 2016. The kind of free press he’s getting now is toxic and he’s unable to focus on the campaign themes that win him votes. So Trump needs a large war chest to run ads that will actually provide a disciplined message because he can’t do it himself.”
According to Ed Rogers, who served as senior deputy to George HW Bush’s campaign manager Lee Atwater, the money appears to have been wasted.
“What a puff of smoke that was. Did that really drive any votes? They’d give anything to have that money back," he said in an interview. "If you haven’t been around a lot of campaigns, it’s the most common mistake that you spend money when you shouldn’t. A lot of campaigns get down to October and they think, ‘My God, if only I had back what I spent in April and May. What on Earth was I thinking? What did I do in April and May that drove any votes?’”
According to Democratic campaign consultant Bob Shrum, Trump's campaign spent money like a "drunken sailor," assuming the flow of cash into their bank account would be neverending.
“I think they always assumed that they would have a huge financial advantage and it’s disappeared," he explained. "In the past week the Biden campaign had $24m on television and the Trump campaign had $6m. The Biden campaign puts on a very powerful social security ad, whatever you think of its accuracy, in Florida and the Trump people don’t have the resources to respond. They’re in a kind of triage situation at this point. They spent like drunken sailors.”
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