Is The Donald Going Broke?

Trump’s presidential candidacy appears to be imploding before it has officially started. This morning he fired his campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, who hasn’t been doing much managing. According to Gabriel Sherman at New York magazine, Lewandowsky’s ouster was something of a coup orchestrated by three Trump offspring, Ivanka, Eric, and Don Jr.

Scripts for an HBO original film about Donald Trump’s failed presidential campaign are already being written. I can smell it.

But the bigger mystery is, where is the money? Trump’s campaign seems to be out of it. At the end of the last reporting period, Hillary Clinton’s campaign had $30 million in hand; Trump’s  had $2.4 million. And he doesn’t seem terribly interested in raising more.

John McQuaid writes at Forbes that Trump not only doesn’t bother about fundraising; he wants the Republican National Committee to do his fundraising and campaign organizing for him. But that’s not what the RNC is for, and if they have to take on that job it will reduce resources for doubt-ballot candidates.  McQuaid continues.

Trump’s campaign is based on the vague, grandiose notion of “winning.” He’s a winner who will help us all win. We will stop losing to immigrants and terrorists and China and Mexico and then will be so much winning we won’t be able to stand it. There are two pieces of evidence for this: Trump is ahead in the polls and he’s fabulously wealthy. He could keep the illusion going during the primaries. But now, as every day brings more bad news, the first is gone. If the second is falsified, it all collapses. So if there is literally nothing – or at least, much less than $10 billion – at the center, that is something that he would feel compelled to conceal no matter what.

This informational black box at the center of a major party candidacy is extraordinary.

We’ve been asked to trust and believe in Trump because he is a genius moneymaker and manager. Yet he appears to be in the process of committing campaign suicide, in part because he has no money and no managerial talent.  As citizens, we should know whether he’s lying about his wealth. We do know he’s either stupid, or not anywhere as rich as he wants us to believe, or – probably – both.

Many people are pointing out that if Trump really is worth $10 billion, as he claims, then coughing up a few tens of millions to keep his campaign going shouldn’t be that much of a stretch.  Last year Forbes estimated he was really worth only about $4.5 billion. But even then, he ought to be able to throw $30 million into the pot to keep up with Hillary, you’d think.

But he doesn’t appear to be doing that. Josh Marshall writes,

Even if Trump can’t not be Trump, the damage of being Trump could at least be off-set by pouring money into advertising in key swing states and field work. But at this moment, the Clinton campaign (and pro-Clinton superPACs) is rolling out a barrage of targeted swing state advertising focused on solidifying and embedding the highly negative image Trump has built for himself over the last year and especially the last eight weeks. That advertising is going entirely unanswered by the Trump campaign. Trump’s been reduced to making emergency appeals to raise $100,000. …

…So it all comes down to, where’s the money? We tend to look at Trump’s threadbare campaign as a product of epic disorganization or the candidate’s mercurial personality. But as the mammoth tv ad campaigns ramp up unanswered and field operations fail to materialize, those explanations are really no longer sufficient.

Assuming Trump really is worth some number in the billions of dollars, it makes no sense for him to get this close to the presidency and then get stingy.  Josh says he has loaned his campaign over $40 million already, but what’s another $40 million when you’ve got billions?

I keep saying that Clinton is going to win. One of the reasons I keep saying that is that it’s been evident for some time that Trump has nothing even approaching a national presidential campaign organization

19 thoughts on “Is The Donald Going Broke?

  1. It’s ironic that someone who was supposedly self funding would loan money to his campaign. Maybe it’s me, but when I loan money I expect to get it back.

  2. I’m getting more and more convinced that Hillary will only win if Trump survives to make it to November and I’m not convinced he will. It’s why I cringe every time either her campaign or the media focus only on Trump as if he is some kind of aberration within the Republican Party rather than its fundamental id finally on full, unfiltered, display.

    If they get rid of him before November there will be a huge collective sigh emanating from the media and it will be treated as getting back to the “sane” Republican Party even though there hasn’t really been one extant for the better part of two decades.

  3. If the stories about a lack of funds are true (and I think they are), I think Trump quits before the convention. It’s the only way for him to save face.

    I think some clever Republican donors put a deal together for TrumpTV and he has to drop out to run it. He gets to spend the rest of his life saying he could have been President (and that he would have been better than whoever wins) but he was too busy being a successful businessman. The R’s get to run someone who can win, Trump gets a primetime rant at the convention, and everyone who isn’t a Democrat goes home happy.

  4. If they get rid of him before November I doubt there will be a huge collective sigh emanating from the media or anyone else. The media will be too busy covering the gigantic hissy fit riots the Tea Party base will throw after the coup.

  5. The problem of an answered prayer about making your opponent rediculous, is if that rediculous opposing candidate doesn’t even make it to the convention!

    Whether it’s tRUMP or some other GOP assclown, the next 4+ months will be as ugly as anything we’ve ever seen.
    Rats on a sinking ship that’s on fire, know no decorum.
    Only survival.

  6. And he doesn’t seem terribly interested in raising more.
    Of course he doesn’t. He’s got the GOP in a hostage situation. If he goes down, they go down. Sort of a symbiotic relationship with a hint of reluctance on the part of one party ( the repuglican party).
    When you look at his history of financial dealing you’ll see the same pattern emerging where he sinks a hook in and just takes a dump leaving other people responsible to salvage what remains of the damage he’s caused. And in doing so they have to prop him up to prevent a major lose.
    It’s a case of: if I lose, you lose…He calls it the “art of the deal”. I think mutually assured destruction is probably is a more fitting term. The repugs are in a position where they want to salvage the hope of winning the White House,the Senate, and the House. If they bail on Trump they’ll be bailing on that hope.
    What’s even funnier is that the GOP can’t sidestep Trump to protect the down ticket because historically most people vote a straight party ticket.
    Trump’s got ’em by the balls even if the GOP convention turns into Donnybrook Farm.

  7. I like the irony of callling them “doubt ballot” candidates, but I have no doubts about the Republican base after seeing and hearing Trump’s supporters. Anybody who can run on his “platform” is doubtless no good.

    I do worry that Trump will drop out and the Republicans will put up some saner-seeming candidate who will get far far less vetting and will appear a reasonable alternative. I am also worried by the Berners who keep doing the Republicans’ dirty work on HRC and supporting a 3rd paarty run by someone like Gary Johnson, whose main qualification seems to be mountain climbing, which has shit to do with Presidenting.

  8. Back when Trump and Merv Griffin had their real estate business feud going, Merv claimed Trump, rather than having his claimed $500 mill or so, was close to broke or actually underwater. I believed him; he made a good case. Trump’s penny ante licensing deals since merely reinforce that impression.

  9. The comments about Trump possibly trying to extort money from the RNC are intriguing, but I don’t buy the reasoning that he’s going to quit before the Republican convention if the RNC offers him a lucrative enough “buyout”. The man is high on the adulation of his fans, and to paraphrase the Beatles, “money can’t buy him love.”

    • JDW — Yeah, I don’t think he’s going to quit, either, unless somebody breaks his kneecaps first. But the RNC may still be able to take him out, especially if his campaign continues to go down the tubes. It’s a long shot, but not impossible.

  10. Remember Ross Perot? When he did his run, he hired some Republican condottieri who ran up a budget for his campaign (the figure $80 million sticks in mind) and Ross said he wasn’t gonna spend that kind of money and they said that’s what TV costs and Ross said something like ‘Why not use direct mail and yard signs?”, etc., and we know how that turned out.

    Sounds a lot like Trump who, like Perot, knows more about everything than anybody else.

  11. “Unless somebody breaks his kneecaps first.”

    I imagine that a lot of the Republican establishment would love to see a host of Trump University type scams come to light and force Trump to resign and move along. But, they don’t have much time.

    I have a few friends who seem unable to stop their sputtering about “Hillary’s emails,” but who seem very able to ignore the mounting evidence about Trump. On one hand, I can almost see where they are coming from. It seems obvious that advances in technology will make most of human labor redundant. The “digital divide” of a decade ago was just a taste, but, as always, it’s the most vulnerable who will be left to twist in the wind. They see fewer and fewer jobs at their skill level, more outsourced abroad, and more changes in the pipeline. They’ve always gotten the shaft before, why should they think that this time will be any different?

    In a bizarre development, supporting a “Big Daddy” like Trump, in the hopes that he will throw them some table scraps, might be the most obvious method of preserving some illusion of security and self worth. Things like global warming, can’t be true because they would shake up a system that is already shaken up too much, and every time it finds a new equilibrium, they find themselves with an even shorter end of the stick.

    So, as unlikely as it may seem, the craziness and anger that we’re seeing on display might just be relatively sane as compared to the alternatives.

    That can’t be right, can it?

    • He’ll never admit it, but Reince Priebus must fantasize about calling on Luca Brasi to make Trump an offer he can’t refuse.

  12. I think that at this point, Reince would prefer that Donald ‘slept wid da fishes.’

  13. The “Godfather” scenario is one of the few that might work. I bet the RNC would love to travel back in time to hurry the Trump U law case along and dig up some other dirt. It seems more than likely that there is plenty of dirt to dig. If they can force him to bow out “gracefully” and publicly, they might just avoid the torches and pitchforks. But, there would be plenty of Trump supporters who would see it for just what it was, and for the first time in their lives, they would be right.

    NPR had an interview with a Republican delegate who wanted to “free the (other) delegates.” That might succeed in exchanging Trump for someone else, but, only after a long drawn out brawl that would ruffle a lot of feathers.

  14. It’s amazing that Donald Trump, real estate guru, business genius and master of the big name franchise has less money on hand than Bernie Sanders.

    We are left with three choices. 1) Trump is incompetent, or 2) money is disappearing into some weird nether regions or 3) both 1 and 2.

    One of the ironies of the Republican side of the primary system is that Paul Ryan for months has not seemed all that concerned. The wealthy right wing Republicans who have constructed the current Congress with their campaign money and think tanks already have pretty much what they want: inaction. As long as Republicans can snarl up the works in Congress, a Democratic president is somewhat limited on what can be done, and a Republican president is mostly irrelevant, though a minor bonus.

    The last four weeks have changed the dynamic. The House and Senate are now in play.

  15. I agree with goatherd, they really don’t have much time left. If Trump drops out before the convention, that leaves them with three and a half months to get somebody out in the public eye AND persuade the public that this omadhaun is a good choice. I guess they figure Willard still has the name recognition to do it, but I don’t think so.

    Even if he’s “worth” ten billion, you’ve gotta understand what that means. If I own a building that has a valuation of ten million, I’m “worth” ten million and change. That doesn’t mean I can easily pull a million smackeroos out of my “worth.” Where’s the cash? Am I gonna mortgage the building, issue bonds backed by some kind of ownership shenanigans, or try to sell it? If I try to sell it, I might not be able to find anybody who agrees with the previously agreed-on valuation. Same with trump. He may (or may not) have the assets, but there’s a factor called “liquidity” that brought Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers down. Well, four and a half more months and we start on the 2018 and 2020 elections. Man, am I tired of politics.

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