June 20, 2016


There Is No Donald Trump Campaign (Jamelle Bouie, 6/20/16, Slate)

To suggest the Trump campaign is hurt by Lewandowski's departure is to assume a campaign exists. The truth is, there is no Donald Trump campaign.

This isn't a matter of metaphysics; I mean this in a literal sense. Consider campaign staff. At this point in a presidential cycle, the presumptive nominees of both parties have begun to construct a field operation meant to identify supporters, train volunteers, and prepare for the tough work of bringing voters to the polls. By the time Mitt Romney entered June--after extinguishing Rick Santorum's challenge from the right--he had more than a dozen offices open in Ohio and at least 89 paid staffers for his national campaign. By November, Romney had opened nearly 300 offices nationwide and employed more than 400 people. Team Obama invested even more in offices and personnel, with nearly 800 field locations and over 900 paid staffers.

How much staff has Donald Trump hired? At last count, the Trump campaign has roughly 30 staffers nationwide. By comparison, Team Clinton has hired 50 people in Ohio alone. Even if it's still early in the cycle, a typical campaign would have several senior staff members in place in most, if not all, contested states. Trump has close to none. And while the Republican National Committee has people on the ground in swing states and other vital areas, they're focused on the entire ticket. Trump needs dedicated, professional help and he doesn't have it. He seems to be waiting until July, at the earliest, to determine hiring and placement.

What about advertising? Paid television is part and parcel of modern campaigning and can have real--albeit temporary--effects on the race. In their book The Gamble: Choice and Chance in the 2012 Presidential Election, political scientists John Sides and Lynn Vavreck fnd that, all things equal, a candidate airing one additional ad per capita over an opponent gains an advantage of almost 1 extra point in public polling, compared with a market where candidates are at parity in advertising. Likewise, a candidate with two additional ads per capita gains two extra points compared with the baseline.

Posted by at June 20, 2016 6:56 PM