One of the strongest arguments Trump made during the primary in support of his own candidacy was his promise to self-fund. In focus group after focus group, with voters across the ideological spectrum, the pledge proved widely popular. It gave his supporters — and many rank and file conservatives who viewed Trump with skepticism — comfort that Trump possessed the means to fund a competent campaign, despite Trump's dismissal of a typical finance or campaign infrastructure. Even establishment Republicans were heartened by the notion that, if nominated, Trump would not divert resources from the rest of the Republican ticket.
As winter turned to spring, Trump secured the nomination and his campaign made no attempts at online or direct-mail fundraising. This was a critical error on his team and a missed opportunity to seize financial support from a dedicated and fired-up grassroots base. Warning signs about Trump's lack of fundraising were dismissed by members of the press and justified by his apologists due to recurring assurances that Trump was worth billions and would self-fund.
As spring turned to summer, not only did Trump refuse to put significant sums behind his effort, but he structured his campaign to use donor money to reimburse himself for campaign loans. Predictably, high-dollar donors sat on their wallets and publicly questioned Trump's commitment to victory. They demonstrated little desire to fund an organization that came across as dedicated to subsidizing Trump companies as opposed to field offices, staff and basic campaign operations.
As Trump capitulated to pressure and filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission to forgive his loan, he continued to use costly and inefficient Trump facilities, airplanes and products. This was occurring as Clinton's operation encouraged frugality with donor funds, similar to the Mitt Romney, Barack Obama and George W. Bush campaigns before it.
Now it's crunch time. Unsurprisingly, Clinton has the resource advantage to put more states in play with each passing week. The burden has fallen to the Republican National Committee to finance, organize and execute a national ground game in support of Trump as well as endangered House and Senate Republicans across the country. Establishment Republican donors, most of whom were ardent supporters of Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio, have stepped up to give significant funds to Trump victory programs with the RNC. Some are even funding a top-tier super political action committee effort in an attempt to soften Clinton's support in targeted Senate states.
Despite Trump's claims to be worth $10 billion and his insinuations that he owns a store worth more than Romney, Trump has put only slightly more of his own money into his campaign than Romney dedicated to his first campaign in 2008. When you take into account all the campaign money squandered on Trump companies, Trump may actually spend less than Romney did in 2008.
Yes, and keep telling yourself that the reason Trump is going to get mauled is because he didn't spend enough money.
Really is no hope for these guys, is there? Hey "principled conservatives", ask yourself why this race has been over since May.