When the news broke this weekend Donald Trump’s 2020 campaign had pulled the plug on its TV ads in Arizona, it stood out as curious at best. Arizona is a must-win for Trump, and he’s currently behind in the polling averages in the state. This news comes after two different stretches where Trump’s ads have gone dark nationwide over the past couple months.
It’s way too close to election day for a campaign to be going dark on the airwaves for any reason. It’s just not something you do if you’re trying to win – especially if you’re currently behind and you need to catch up. There’s only one reason you stop running TV ads like this: they’re very expensive, and you can’t afford them.
But Donald Trump is supposed to be a billionaire, and his campaign is supposedly being bankrolled by wealthy entities in the shadows, right? Not so much. Last month the news broke that Trump chewed out conservative billionaire Sheldon Adelson for not giving enough money to the Trump campaign, and that in response, Adelson decided to cut Trump off entirely. This was a clear sign that Adelson doesn’t expect Trump to win and doesn’t want to waste his money. And Trump’s reaction is a fairly clear sign that he’s desperate for cash.
Keep in mind that the NRA, which acted as a conduit for the Kremlin to fund the Trump 2016 campaign, is now fighting for its existence. There’s no indication that the Kremlin has made any effort to find a new conduit for funneling money into the 2020 campaign, which could be interpreted as a sign that even Putin thinks Trump’s chances of winning are minimal, and doesn’t want to waste the money.
Then there’s the fact that Donald Trump has his own worsening financial problems. Earlier this year he decided to try to sell his most profitable property, the Trump hotel in Washington DC, a move that you only ever make if you’re so cash-poor that you’re too financially desperate in the short term to worry about the long term. In other words, even with all the money Trump has been pilfering from the presidency, he’s still broke.
Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas opined this weekend that Trump’s decision to go dark in Arizona is proof that his 2020 campaign is simply broke. Now Axios is coming to the same conclusion, and so is the New York Times. Here at Palmer Report we’re inclined to agree.
The doomsday fatalists will insist that Trump has stopped running TV ads because his secret plan to magically rig the election is so amazingly foolproof, he doesn’t even need TV ads anymore. But that’s kindergarten level logic, to be dismissed out of hand. The only evidenced-based conclusion to be made here is that Trump’s campaign is broke because the wealthy entities in the shadows don’t want to waste money funding a campaign they think is going to lose anyway, and Trump has too many financial problems of his own to be in a position to bail his failing campaign out.
With Trump facing so many problems, and being too crippled to do much about it, this puts us in a phenomenal position. If we double down on things like voter registration and turnout, phone banking and volunteering, even as Trump flails and fails, we can run up the score and make sure Joe Biden wins by a decisive margin.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report