The Biggest Signs Donald Trump's Campaign Is Falling Apart
On Monday, Donald Trump fired his longtime presidential campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski. Another Trump operative, Michael Caputo, celebrated Lewandowski’s firing on Twitter, and as a result of the ensuing backlash, resigned from the campaign himself. That means the real estate tycoon has lost two high-level operatives in the same day. It's just the most recent of many signs that the Trump campaign is coming apart at the seams.
The departure of Lewandowski and Caputo underscores a serious problem for Trump, which is that his campaign simply doesn’t have enough people working for it. According to AP, Trump has only 30 staffers nationwide. This is an appallingly low number, especially when you consider that Hillary Clinton has around 700 people on her campaign staff. Even Trump's nemesis, Mitt Romney, had at least 89 staffers nationwide at this point in the 2012 campaign. Why hasn't Trump hired more people?
Related to this is the fact that in June, the Trump campaign didn’t spend any money on campaign ads in swing states. That might not sound like too big of a deal — the general election is still five months away, right? But it does seem like a big deal when contrasted with the Clinton campaign, which spent about $23 million on swing state ads during the same month. Trump is allowing Clinton to set the narrative in the states that matter most.
Rather than focusing his efforts on Ohio, Florida, Virginia, and other critical states, Trump has been bizarrely fixated on California and New York, two of the bluest states in the country. To lead his effort in New York, Trump hired Carl Paladino, who lost the state’s gubernatorial race by a landslide in 2010. Paladino says that he’ll win the Empire State for Trump by “blanketing the upstate region with signs and bumper stickers.”
And then there are the polls. Though Trump enjoyed a (very) brief surge in popularity after clinching the Republican nomination, his support has since cratered. As of this writing, Clinton — who, it’s worth noting, is incredibly unpopular herself — has an average lead of 7 points over the Donald. Meanwhile, a Fox News poll showed that only 33 percent of Americans think Trump has the temperament to serve as president, compared with 60 percent who approved of Clinton’s presidential temperament.
There are more troubling signs. The Trump campaign only has $2.4 million in its coffers; according to one report, Trump himself promised RNC Chair Reince Priebus that he’d call 20 donors to raise money, but gave up after phoning three of them. Perhaps this is what led the ostensibly self-funding candidate to send a fundraising email to supporters asking for $100,000 by the end of the day.
The point here is that Trump has not been able to translate his dominance in the primary into a robust general election campaign. In fact, the Trump campaign is positively anemic by almost every metric. And while it’s at least theoretically possible for him to change this, he doesn’t appear to be taking any steps to do so.
Trump clinched the Republican nomination in May, more than a month before the Democrats’ nominee was settled. In theory, this gave him a head start in preparing for the general election. In actuality, clinching the nomination appears to have been the high-water mark for Trump. His campaign has been in free fall for a good month, and he isn't doing anything to fix it. Perhaps Trump is trying to lose this election after all?