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Decoding Trump’s Disastrous May Campaign Finance Report

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Decoding Trump’s Disastrous May Campaign Finance Report

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump addresses an audience at The Fox Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia, June 15, 2016. REUTERS/Chris Aluka Berry

The New York Times called it “the worst financial and organizational disadvantage of any major party nominee in recent history.”

At the beginning of June, Donald Trump’s campaign had just $1.3 million in cash-on-hand, after paying for the previous month’s campaign expenses. Hillary Clinton had $43 million. Trump raised just $3 million in May. Clinton raised $26 million.

An FEC fundraising report published yesterday from the Trump campaign answered the one question that has hovered over Donald Trump’s fundraising operation for a year:

Where is it?

Turns out… nowhere. When Trump pledged early on to “self-fund” his entire campaign, he either didn’t believe he would make it this far, or he knew he was lying at the time. Even if Trump’s cartoonish claims about his net worth are true, he doesn’t have nearly enough cash to fund an entire election effort on his own. In 2012, including super PAC spending, both presidential candidates spent around a billion dollars on their campaigns.

Trump, for the past few months, has bragged endlessly about loaning (not donating) his campaign tens of millions of dollars, all while insulting the GOP donor class and their money. (He has also paid his own companies over $6 million for campaign expenses thus far.)

“Every single person that gave every single dollar is expecting something for that money, every single person. And that’s not good for the country,” Trump said on MSNBC in July, referring to Jeb Bush’s super PAC fundraising, as reported by Politico. He added, “Somebody that’s reliant on all of these lobbyists and special interests and donors, they have no power to make a decision, because they feel obligated to all these people.”

Now, after spending a year repeating that message against a backdrop of increasingly unappetizing religious tests, immigration bans, and overt policy cluelessness, most Republican donors don’t want to touch Trump with a 10-foot pole.

Trump has had a valid point this entire election: The way we fund our elections corrupts our politicians and distorts our political process. Political scientists have shown that Congress’ legislative priorities reflect those of wealthy donors, not average constituents.

But Trump’s messaging in relation to that fundamental flaw — isolating himself from donors and convincing supporters that not only did he not need their money, he didn’t even want it — has created a struggling campaign fueled on hot air and anger alone. Trump says he’ll use “free media” to fill the fundraising gap, but the media has increasingly treated this general election candidate like the serious threat to our system that he really is.

That leaves Trump between a rock and a hard place: He hasn’t released his tax returns, and every email “ask” further undermines his claims that he is a billionaire able to completely self-fund his campaign (though he never has). He could beg at the feet of GOP elites, turning his back on early campaign messaging. Or he could spend hundreds of millions of dollars of his own money in “loans” to his campaign, which he could try to pay himself back eventually with donor money.

But one thing is for sure: As it stands, Donald Trump’s campaign is far too cash poor to compete financially in any major way with Hillary Clinton.


Photo: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump addresses an audience at The Fox Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia, June 15, 2016.  REUTERS/Chris Aluka Berry 




  1. Siegfried Heydrich June 21, 2016

    Hey, if Drumpf is as rich as he claims to be, then he really doesn’t have to ask anyone for money. However, the mere fact that now he’s asking for money kind of blows a major hole in his ‘ten billion dollar fortune’ narrative, now doesn’t it?.

    1. marriea June 21, 2016

      On top of that, his supporters would drop him like a hot potato.

    2. latebloomingrandma June 22, 2016

      Why aren’t his supporters clamoring for is tax returns?They would never have let Obama or Hillary get away with that at this stage of the game.

      1. Siegfried Heydrich June 22, 2016

        Because Drumpf, being a demigod, is not subject to the same standards as mere mortals.

      2. PrecipitousDrop June 22, 2016

        The “clamoring” is our responsibility, Grand.
        Trump as a world renowned, top-flight Miscreant. His tax returns will illustrate some of his dishonesty. He’ll clutch those papers until they’re all wadded up and sweaty. Or, until his tax returns start to look less incriminating than the Trump U fraud transcripts, or the suit filed for raping a 13 year-old girl.

  2. PrecipitousDrop June 22, 2016

    I think his supporters — the voters who put him over the top in the primary race, and the sacred “voters” that Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell use to justify their continued support for candidate Trump — should mortgage their homes, sell their cars, clean out their savings accounts, cash out their life insurance policies, and suspend tax and loan payments until Mr. Trump is elected. Mr. Trump NEEDS their help!
    He’ll pay them all back.
    I’m sure he will.

    1. latebloomingrandma June 22, 2016

      Yeah, I heard he pays all his bills promptly. Except to contractors, employees, and veterans. Otherwise, he pays himself promptly.

  3. Christina63665666 June 22, 2016

    I currently earn in the range of six to eight thousand bucks on monthly basis from freelancing online. Everyone looking to complete easy freelance jobs for several hrs every day from comfort of your home and make good paycheck in the same time… This is a job for you… http://self90.com

  4. The lucky one June 22, 2016

    When Trump pledged early on to “self-fund” his entire campaign, he either didn’t believe he would make it this far, or he knew he was lying at the time.

    All of the above.


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