Paul Waldman writes: While he could manage a stunning turnaround, at the moment Trump seems to have put together one of the worst presidential campaigns in history. Let’s take a look at all the major disadvantages Trump faces as we head toward the conventions:
A skeletal campaign staff. Trump succeeded in the primaries with a small staff whose job was to do little more than stage rallies. But running a national campaign is hugely more complex than barnstorming from one state to the next during primaries. While the Clinton campaign has built an infrastructure of hundreds of operatives performing the variety of tasks a modern presidential campaign requires, the Trump campaign “estimates it currently has about 30 paid staff on the ground across the country,” a comically small number.
Not enough money, and little inclination to raise it. Trump hasn’t raised much money yet, and he doesn’t seem inclined to do so; according to one report, after telling Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus that he’d call 20 large donors to make a pitch, he gave up after three. Fundraising is the least pleasant part of running for office, but unlike most candidates who suck it up and do what they have to, Trump may not be willing to spend the time dialing for dollars. Instead, he’s convinced that he can duplicate what he did in the primaries and run a low-budget campaign based on having rallies and doing TV interviews. As he told NBC’s Hallie Jackson, “I don’t think I need that money, frankly. I mean, look what we’re doing right now. This is like a commercial, right, except it’s tougher than a normal commercial.” It’s not like a commercial, because in interviews Trump gets challenged, and usually says something that makes him look foolish or dangerous. But he seems convinced that his ability to get limitless media coverage, no matter how critical that coverage is, will translate to an increase in support.
Outgunned on the airwaves. As a result, Democrats are pouring money into television ads attacking Trump and promoting Clinton with no answer from the other side. As Mark Murray reported yesterday, “So far in June, Clinton and the outside groups backing her have spent a total of $23.3 million on ads in the battleground states of Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia.” And how much have Trump and his allies spent on ads in those states? Zero. Nothing. Nada. [Continue reading…]