Politics has always been about money. Whoever has the most money controls the message and the voters.
It was Democrat Speaker of the House Tip O’Neil who said, “Money is the mothers milk of politics.”
So it was great news for me to hear that billionaire Donald Trump was running for President. Trump is the richest man (by far) to ever run for President. I thought that Republicans finally had the money on our side- after two terms of Obama outraising both McCain and Romney by a country mile.
Obama raised so much more money than his Republican opponents that he was able to flood the airwaves with TV ads and control the message…brand our candidates in a negative way…and brand himself as a wonderful guy- despite evidence to the contrary. Obama was able to win re-election despite the worst economy and worst jobs picture since the Great Depression. Money gave him the ability to change and control the storyline.
This time with Trump on our side things would be different- or so I thought. Trump didn’t even need to waste precious time fundraising. He could just write his own checks. How wonderful. Trump would surely outspend his rivals by a mile, right?
I assumed Trump would spend not millions, but tens or hundreds of millions to brand himself in a positive way. He would flood the airwaves with ads positioning himself as the brilliant billionaire businessman who understands capitalism, jobs and how to create prosperity. He would position himself as the only candidate who understands how bad the economy really is…and the only candidate capable of turning it around. But it never happened. Where are the Trump ads?
I also thought Trump would spend not millions, but tens or hundreds of millions branding Hillary in a pre-emptive strike just as Democrats did to Mitt Romney four years ago. They spent hundreds of millions in battleground states destroying Mitt’s image BEFORE he ever won the nomination. Romney never recovered.
Never in history was there a more perfect candidate to destroy with the facts than Hillary Clinton. Surely billionaire Trump would spend enormous sums of money to brand her a reckless criminal, liar, fraud and even traitor willing to sell out America for donations from foreign countries to her Clinton Foundation. Don’t forget her record as Secretary of State- she presided over a period of crisis, disarray and disaster all over the world- from Ukraine to North Korea to the Middle East. But it never happened. There were no Trump ads to brand Hillary.
Trump did it his way- running an entire campaign for president with almost no spending. He ran on “free media” and social media- primarily Twitter, combined with raucous rallies with thousands attending. He spent little, or no money on TV or radio ads…and no money on organizing a lethal ground game to get out the vote.
And it worked. Trump has won the most primaries and votes.
But surely with victory in sight, with the nomination almost locked up and the knowledge that if he fell even a few delegates short of 1,237, he might be denied the nomination by the GOP establishment, he would drop a quick $100 million to blow out the competition, right? With victory (and history) in sight, why not flood the airwaves and control the message?
But instead Trump has been the one overwhelmed, out-gunned and out-spent. First his “free media” idea backfired. It became a double-edged sword. He got plenty of “free media” in the past two weeks, but it was all bad. Trump was savaged by the media 24 hours a day.
Wouldn’t $100 million spent by Trump have stopped this massive decline in popularity and likeability? Isn’t that the point of having $10 billion at your disposal? If you’re going to point out your wealth, business acumen and talent for branding, shouldn’t you be willing to spend some of that wealth to keep your brand from being destroyed by media and opposition advertising?
Then came Wisconsin. Wisconsin was the whole ball of wax. Even with all the negativity and dropping poll numbers, if Trump squeaked out a win in Wisconsin, he’d clinch the nomination. He’d be a sure thing to reach 1237. But lose Wisconsin and 1237 becomes much more difficulty to reach. Wisconsin was everything. Wouldn’t a billionaire sense that spending any amount of money in Wisconsin would be worth it?
After this terrible 2-week stretch of slander, negative ads, and self-inflicted wounds, Trump was out-spent In Wisconsin 6 to 1 by Cruz combined with anti-Trump Super PACS. Six to one.
But why? Why not open your billion dollar purse strings?
No matter. Wisconsin is history. Trump has a natural advantage in every remaining state. But it’s not such a cakewalk anymore to get to 1,237, is it?
So my advice for Donald Trump is simple. Stop playing games. Stop screwing around. Stop believing that you can win with “free media” and social media alone. That was a fantasy. You took it as far as any human being could. You proved your point. But all great businessmen sense when it’s time to change strategy. Now is the time.
Open your wallet. Spend the money. Any amount necessary to seal the deal. Drop a quick $50 million on New York to change the storyline. To control the message. To seize the day. To seal the deal. You desperately need a massive, attention-getting, game-changing win right now.
Then drop a quick $100 to $200 million combined on all the remaining states. Because this isn’t a game anymore. This is for all the chips. This is your opportunity to be President of the United States. And this is our opportunity too. You are our last hope to save this dying economy and prevent the death of the middle class.
This is no time for ego, or pride. Abandon your old strategy and attack the traditional way. Money is the mothers milk of politics. You are facing a billion dollars in “free media” and it’s all negative. Your enemies are trying to bury you- and it’s working.
Now is the time to fight. Now is the time to change course. No one understands how money works better than you. You are the master of using money to close deals. You are so close to clinching this deal. You are steps from the finish line.
So Donald- please spend money now!