Would you rather be the candidate with $177 million cash on hand, plus a 10-point lead in the national polling average, or the one with $63 million in the campaign account, trailing by 10 points with 13 days until the polls close?

Were you told there would be no math? TOO BAD.

Try this one:

Is it better to be the candidate whose party account has $255 million in it, or the one whose party is holding $188 million for him?

Ooof, that's a tough one! Okay, just one more.

Would you rather be the campaign that spent 54 cents to raise a dollar, or the one that shelled out 18 cents for every dollar raised?

Pencils down! And thanks for the stats, NYT.


The presidential campaigns released their FEC reports last night and ... yikes, no wonder the Trump campaign is yanking its ads down everywhere but Florida. Hey, remember when President Billionaire promised to pony up his own cash if the campaign didn't hit its fundraising targets?

According to Line 17(d) of Trump's latest FEC filing, he contributed zero dollars in September, and a whopping $8,020.58 during the entire campaign. Luckily, they've got an inexhaustible store of mean girl energy to throw at the problem.

"If overspending on TV ads determined the outcome of elections, Hillary Clinton would be president — but it's cute that Joe Biden and his campaign think buying ads in these states makes up for years of Democrats viewing them as flyover country," campaign press secretary Samantha Zager told BuzzFeed News. "Biden can try to buy votes, but President Trump and his campaign will continue earning them on the ground and on the airwaves — and come November, we'll be celebrating victory while Biden binge watches his TV ads from his basement."

Cool, cool. Hey, check out this 60-second spot narrated by Sam Elliott that the Biden team was able to air last night during the World Series.

But does Joe Biden have BOAT PARADES?

Meanwhile, Trump is telling his supporters that he can tip the scales by singing to the choir at his own pitchfork-tiki torch-QAnon rallies. "Where we have states that are sort of tipping, could go either way," he assured staffers Monday, "I have an ability to go to those states and rally. Biden has no ability. I go to a rally, we have 25,000 people. He goes to a rally, and he has four people."

The weirdest part is that the Trump campaign hit the ground running with their fundraising. Trump declared his 2020 candidacy just hours after the inauguration in 2017, and they've pulled in upwards of a billion dollars.

A billion dollars which is now gone.

So, where did all that money go? (That's a rhetorical question, not extra credit on the quiz.)

Well, at least $356 million got moved around through LLCs in what appears to be a deliberate attempt to hide what it was being spent on. What the hell is American Made Media Consultants doing with $319 million? No one knows.

Firms controlled by Brad Parscale netted $39 million, although, in his defense, the erstwhile campaign manager seems to have been the one tasked with writing $15,000 monthly checks to luminaries such as Lara Trump and Kimberly Guilfoyle.

Beyond that, the AP has a fun list of all the stupid shit the campaign is spending money on. Like $10 million to run ads during the Super Bowl. It was during February in an uncontested primary, but Mike Bloomberg bought one, so natch Trump had to do it.

Or $1.6 million to run ads in the DC media market so President Temper Tantrum would see them and not stroke out over spots placed by the Lincoln Project calling him a pathetic loser.

Or $100,000 to buy copies of Don Jr.'s "book."

Or $912,000 to place ads on Parscale and Trump loon Katrina Pierson's personal Facebook pages.

And maybe if the campaign had spent some of the $39 million it pissed away on an endless stream of lawsuits to curtail early voting and stop ballots from being counted if they arrive without a witness signature or privacy sleeve or some such technical fault, the Trump campaign could have tried to, you know, appeal to the electorate. Because their multi-million-dollar vote suppression effort appears to have functioned as a Democratic voter education PSA, with 40 million voters already casting their ballots to avoid any late-breaking fuckery with the postal service.

In the interests of accuracy, we must note that millions of dollars from that legal pot covered lawyers for Trump and his staff during the impeachment hearings. Thanks, donors!

At the end of the day, the issue doesn't appear to have been grift — or not only grift — so much as a really stupid bet by Brad Parscale and Jared Kushner, the de facto chairman of the board with all things Trump. They operated on the assumption that spending gobs of cash to amass mailing lists of the faithful would result in a tsunami of late donations.

The New York Times reports that they shelled out $145 million for direct mail, $42 million to buy and rent email lists, tens of millions in digital advertising, and $36 million in campaign swag in the past two years. According to Business Insider, Parscale thought this would net them $200 million in October alone. That would still be a lousy return on investment if it had happened. Which it didn't, so now they're nearly out of cash as the last few undecided voters are making up their minds. The same voters who broke for Trump 2:1 and gave Trump the race in 2016.

In summary and in conclusion, never go to Vegas with Brad Parscale and Jared Kushner. And also, LOLOLOLOLOLOL.

THIRTEEN DAYS.

[NYT / AP]

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Liz Dye

Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.

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