The new campaign contribution stats — the money that Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have raised for their respective races — were released late yesterday. I studied the figures, and all I could think was …
Oh. My. God.
I had to read the stats twice just to ensure that my eyes were working. Because never in contemporary presidential politics has there ever been anything like it.
Clinton, at the dawn of June, had $42.5 million in the campaign till. (What we call “cash on hand.”) Care to guess Trump’s cash on hand?
I kid you not. Trump is so starved for money — because he hasn’t bothered to build a fundraising operation, because scads of sane Republicans won’t give him a dime — that he’s running on fumes. Five months out from election day, no previous presidential nominee has ever been crushed in the money chase by a margin of 42-1. Not even close.
To put Trump’s stash in perspective: He barely has enough for a decent mayoral bid. In the spring of 2011, Philadelphia mayor Michael Nutter had $1.2 million cash on hand for his re-election campaign. A race that was largely uncontested.
To really put Trump’s stash in perspective: He has less cash on hand than 50 members of Congress. See it for yourself. It says something supremely pitiful about Trump that he has less money — $400,000 less money — than some guy from Missouri named Blaine Luetkemeyer.
To really really put Trump’s stash in perspective: He has less cash on hand than defunct candidate Ben Carson.
The newly released staffing stats are quite interesting as well. Nationwide, Clinton has 685 paid workers. Trump has 69. I swear those numbers are real. And wait, there’s more: During the month of May, Clinton raised $28 million. During the month of May, Trump raised a mere $3.2 million.
Trump is outsourcing a lot of basic campaign tasks to the Republican National Committee, which has its own messaging and turnout operations, and the latest stats show that the RNC has $20 million cash on hand. Two problems, however: That money is earmarked not just for Trump, but for the hundreds of down-ballot candidates who are burdened by Trump. And that $20 million isn’t very impressive; at this point in the 2012 election calendar, with Mitt Romney on track for the nomination, the RNC’s cash on hand was $60 million.
And what’s truly amazing is that these Trump/GOP money woes don’t even include the month of June, when Trump spent 10 days sliming the judge in his Trump University fraud case; and when he reacted to the Orlando bloodbath by congratulating himself, renewing his call for a Muslim immigration ban, insinuating that President Obama is a terrorist ally, and insisting that if only the gay clubbers had been packing heat, “strapped right to their waist, or right to their ankle,” they could’ve shot “the son of a bitch,” and “that would have been a beautiful, beautiful sight.”
Granted, money is not the sole measure of a candidate’s health; down-ballot underdogs have been known to win races after being vastly outspent. But a candidate as deeply detested as Trump is potential putty in the hands of a well-financed, well-organized opponent who has the resources to reinforce his 70 percent unpopularity with a relentless barrage of TV ads.
Which brings us to another stat. A beautiful, beautiful sight: The Clinton campaign is on the air this month in swing states with $23 million in advertising. The Trump campaign is on the air with nothing. Not a penny spent on advertising.
As Republican strategist Ed Goeas admitted last night, the Clinton team and its allies have an excellent opportunity “to solidify the negatives for Trump. A race can be won in June if (they are) allowed to dig deeper into the negative numbers.” Indeed, at a time when pro-Trump super PACs are barely on the radar, a well-financed Clinton super PAC, Priorities USA, is on the air in eight swing states with a new ad that depicts Trump as dangerous. (Piece of cake. Trump in his own words.)
So on this very day – “This is the first fundraising email I’ve ever sent … That’s right. THE FIRST ONE” — Trump is waving a tin cup, begging for money. Perhaps that seems odd, coming from a supposedly rich guy. But apparently he has been informed that his self-image as a Winner is deeply imperiled, and that if the money imbalance with Clinton is not corrected now, he will be humiliated in November.
He could redress the imbalance himself, by financing his autumn campaign — unless, of course, he’s not nearly as rich as he touts himself to be. The answer to that mystery is probably in the tax returns he refuses to release. So, in the meantime, who among you is willing to spare a demagogue a dime? Operators are standing by.