GOP Presidential candidate Donald Trump has, from the beginning of his unlikely campaign, touted his strength as a self-funded man of the people. The one candidate who not only isn’t “bought” but cannot be bought, because he already has plenty of cash to pay his own way.
Now, while that’s never been precisely true – Trump has always accepted and appreciated donations to his campaign – as he enters the general election, the sheer numbers involved have begun to catch up with him. It takes about a billion dollars to run a major party presidential campaign, numbers even the Ten Billion Dollar Donald doesn’t want to expend.
Trump recently hired a national finance chairman and scheduled his first series of fundraisers. Next up, inking a deal with the GOP, which will allow him access to their big bank of major donors, the folks who can stroke checks of up to $300,000 apiece. According to the Associated Press, Trump’s finance team is already planning a dialing for dollars program at Trump Tower.
Among his mega-wealthy supporters are real-estate mogul Elie Hirschfeld who has partnered with him on numerous projects – although Hirschfeld also served as Hillary Clinton’s landlord for a while, he is standing with Trump.
To date, Trump’s expenditures have been relatively minimal in the world of national politics. He reportedly spent about $50 million of his own money and another $12 million in donated funds on his successful vanquishing of 16 other GOP primary opponents. This tight purse approach was bolstered by Trump’s unprecedented ability to rake in earned media. The guy was either on the TV every day or being talked about when he wasn’t on. The incessant name repetition is priceless in politics, even at this level.
It’s a strategy Trump plans to continue into the general election campaign. He’s already said he won’t spend as much on canvassing, identifying voters and getting out the vote. He’s banking on his celebrity, name recognition and rallies to carry him into the White House. If anyone can turn that strategy into a winner, it’s Trump. He understands media, and he knows the temperature and temperament of his likely voters. Trump is selling Trump, something he’s done very well over his entire business career.
That doesn’t mean he won’t be hosting fundraisers – reportedly up to 100 – this summer. After all, a billion is a huge number, no matter how big your name.