Trump is fashing the nation. According to Reuters:
Republican frontrunner Donald Trump spent more on hats, bumper stickers, yard signs and t-shirts than he did on any other category in the third quarter, according to his latest campaign finance report filed on Thursday. The Trump campaign shelled out $825,000 on the logo-emblazoned gear that he sells on a website and routinely tosses to supporters at his rock concert-like campaign events.
Some candidates rely on commercials telling people how much they purport to care about Middle America or various interest groups, or attacking their rivals for not being politically purist. Others approach the campaign season like a round of Team Fortress 2; may the best-hatted fighter win. Donald Trump is rewriting the conventional wisdom on how to run a successful campaign.
What Trump is succeeding at is something he understands very well that the other candidates do not, the power of branding and the cultural convention of conspicuous consumption. Trump is manufacturing physical wearable representations of his campaign and his political platform that supporters can use to signal to one another and the world that they want to Make America Great Again™. It’s more than just a bumper or laptop sticker that says “my opinion,” it’s a conscious reminder of Donald Trump. More subversively, it’s a reminder of the budding White identity politics we may soon see in this country. And it’s working—Trump leads in all national polls despite raising very little in d’nations.
A TV ad is gone in a few seconds and costs millions of dollars to get screened to people. All kinds of consulting and analytics are involved in determining when to air the ad and what groups to target and what message to send. Anyone can wear a cheap hat and show their peers they like Trump. So ads are expensive, very expensive, and have a shelf life, while apparel is cheap and keeps on advertising after the initial investment.
Trump plans to spend his own money on his campaign; and he has plenty. But rather than glutting the airwaves with paid advertisements as we might expect a one-man super-PAC to do, Trump isn’t playing all his cards yet. It’s October 2015, not October 2016. He’s leading the Republican contenders already and the nomination is months away. He’s going to need that cash to build on-the-ground campaign organizations and run ads later on when he actually needs those things to connect with less-motivated voters. And if the funds raised by cucks and leftists are any indication, he’s going to need to start spending hyuuuge eventually.
Trump raised nearly $4 million in the third quarter. In total, the campaign has raised $5.8 million and spent $5.6 million. Despite proclamations that he would self-fund his candidacy, Trump still raked in unsolicited donations from nearly 74,000 people, who gave an average of $50.46. By contrast, Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton raised $30 million in the third quarter. Bush, once the Republican favorite, raised $13.4 million.
Will he actively call for d’nations? Probably not, at least not for now. But Clinton and ¡Jeb! are the establishment favorites, as evidenced by their large war chests filled with d’nations. And the establishment does not like Trump and will mercilessly try to outspend him. For comparison, Trump’s d’nations are about 13% of what Clinton raised last quarter. Big spending is essential to winning a presidential election, and while Trump isn’t at that stage yet, he’s going to need to scale up if he makes it to the general election. Ave Trvmp Caesar!