Having previously crowdsourced advice from his supporters to prepare for Donald’s oh-so-successful television debate appearances, the Trump campaign is now letting supporters dictate where and how to spend their own financial contributions
What to do when your presidential candidate is a dud, mired in scandals and battles largely of his own making, with just two weeks left to turn things around?
Well, if you are running the Donald Trump 2016 presidential campaign, apparently you ignore the polls (or stubbornly look at only the most unrealistically hopeful interpretation of them) and then crowdsource critical decisions about the allocation of scarce financial resources to any old Joe Bloggs who happens to be on your email list.
Semi-Partisan Politics happens to be on that list, and because I am such a (cough) critical supporter of Donald Trump, utterly central to his White House ambitions, we are invited to send Donald some cash and then throw a dart in a map of the United States to decide where that money gets spent.
The Trump campaign’s latest fundraising email reads in part:
Over the past month, polls have shown us winning Iowa, Ohio, Maine, Florida, Nevada, and North Carolina. If we maintain our leads in those six states, we can reliably claim 266 electoral votes. Hillary can claim 193. But we’d still have 4 electoral votes to go.
Polls show us close in New Hampshire, Colorado, and Pennsylvania. Winning just any one of those states would lead us to victory.
In light of recent polling, this is an, uh, optimistic take on Donald Trump’s prospects. The latest election forecast at Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight blog currently gives Hillary Clinton an 86.2% of victory against Donald Trump’s 13.8%, while Trump is banking on holding states like Arizona, which polling shows may be trending blue for the first time in decades.
But nonetheless, Kellyanne Conway (or the person pretending to write as Kellyanne Conway for the sake of this fundraising email) sees multiple paths to victory – so many, in fact, that she wants to turn the Trump campaign into a “choose your own adventure” story where every supporter has a chance to influence the story themselves by taking charge of key decisions:
We are currently executing a highly costly early voting push and get-out-the-vote operation to ensure identified Trump supporters make it to the polls before Election Day. We are also planning a $140 million-dollar ad blitz in battleground states to lead us to victory.
Samuel: with just 15 days left, we have a few paths to win. But we’ll need your continued support.
Because you’ve been such a critical supporter, you’ll also be able to share your preference on which state we should invest your contribution in.
Please make a contribution of $100, $65, $50, $35, $15, or $5 to help us stay on track to win just 15 days from today.
Of course, the Trump campaign has form with stunts like this, having previously crowdsourced advice from Trump supporters about what issues the candidate should raise and how he should act during the televised presidential debates. Because of course there is no better way to reach out to wavering, undecided voters with concerns about Donald Trump’s temperament than having him loudly shout a medley of the loudest, most divisive catchphrases which get the base clapping along like seals.
If the Trump campaign is actually serious about following the amateur advice of ordinary supporters when it comes to sensitive matters like the allocation of campaign resources, then they really are giving up. While such a gesture may sound nice and democratic in theory, in the world of professional politics it makes no sense to delegate critical strategic and tactical decisions below the level of the people who run campaigns. Ideas and policies should absolutely flow upward from the grassroots and inform policymaking. But political campaigning tactics should be left to the pros – otherwise what do they get paid to do?
Maybe all of the polls will be wrong, and a combination of smug and/or unenthusiastic Democrats staying at home on polling day combined with Trump’s resonance with people who do not ordinarily vote will power him to victory. Perhaps. But from an outsider’s perspective, this is starting to look like a campaign which has already given up.
That 13.8% chance of victory might, if anything, be a little generous.
Support Semi-Partisan Politics with a one-time or recurring donation:
Agree with this article? Violently disagree? Scroll down to leave a comment.