Two days before his inauguration, during an interview with the Washington “fake news” Post on Jan. 18, 2017, Donald John Trump already had the slogan for his re-election campaign in 2020. He asked the Post, “Are you ready?,” then announced his 2020 campaign slogan:
“Keep America Great!”
Trump called his lawyer into his office to trademark the slogan, more than three years before he is up for re-election, so confident is he that America would be great by the time the slogan is deployed.
What we didn’t know was that President Trump began raising money for his reelection campaign shortly after winning the 2016 election, and he already has amassed $106 million in his 2020 campaign war chest!
Michele Y. H. Lee reports for the Washington Post (via Chicago Tribune) that on Monday, Oct. 15, President Trump disclosed that his campaign and affiliated committees have raised at least $106 million – an enormous sum that exceeds what any of his predecessors amassed so early in their presidencies. Together with the RNC, Trump’s campaign committee and joint fundraising committees have raised more than $337 million, and stockpiled at least $88 million of it in cash.
Lee dolefully points out that this means Trump has a $100 million “head start” over Democrats “as Democrats’ hopes for the presidency are just coming into focus” because “the Trump machine has been churning for nearly two years – unheard of before this president, as his predecessors typically waited until after midterm elections to focus on their reelection campaigns.”
In addition to Trump getting a “head start” over the Demonrats, his 2020 reelection campaign is also significant because of his appeal to different parts of the GOP base:
(1) Small donors, The Deplorables, who donate $200 or less, account for 40% to more than half of the money raised in Republican Party fundraising bearing Trump’s name and likeness. The Deplorables are also buying Make America Great Again gear and responding to Facebook ads.
(2) Trump is equally successful with wealthy donors who support conservative causes:
- At least six political action committees have spent more than $9 million to promote Trump’s 2020 run, while spending only about $1.2 million supporting GOP House and Senate candidates, according to a McClatchy News analysis.
- Joel Benenson, a campaign strategist for Barack Obama, admitted that wealthy conservative donors are better organized and act more strategically than any Democrat outfits that raise money from big donors: “Focusing on just what the RNC and just Donald Trump [have] raised masks what I think another advantage that Republicans have … the billionaire network on the Republican side, which I think often seems like they deploy and develop in more coordinated ways. There’s a way to get more strategic on that front [for Democrats], and I think we’re playing a bit of catch-up there.”
(3) More than mobilizing small donors, the Trump 2020 reelection campaign is getting organized at the grass roots level — something that the Republican Party inexplicably and unconscionably had overlooked in the past:
- The Republican National Committee (RNC) is gathering into its voter database the tens of thousands of Deplorables who are turning up at Trump rallies across the country, connecting with 1 million voters per day and forging an army of volunteers. The test run of this new GOP machine is the November midterm election.
- Since 2012, the RNC had spent nearly $250 million to improve the party’s data and digital operations. The RNC’s data program flags prospective volunteers when they express interest in the party for the first time – such as making a donation or signing a petition online – and when they register to attend their first Trump rally.
- An example is Hope Eck, 49, a registered nurse in Indiana and an independent who supported Clinton in 2008 and voted for Trump in 2016. Eck attended her first Trump rally in May in Elkhart, Indiana. When Trump implored the crowd to help elect Republican Mike Braun to the Senate, in one of the most competitive contests this fall, “I definitely felt a tug at my heart to get involved,” Eck said. So at the rally, she signed up to volunteer. Within a week, a Republican Party official called her. Soon after, Eck was knocking on doors to educate voters about Braun. She now canvasses voters in person and by phone every day, often on her own.
- Another example is Linda Olson, 66, a retired legal secretary who lives in Great Falls, Montana, attended a Trump rally for the first time in July after waiting 5½ hours in line. Olson voted for Trump in 2016, but it wasn’t until she saw him in person at the rally that she was moved to volunteer for the party, urging voters to support Republicans in House and Senate races. Olson said she plans to continue volunteering to help Trump get reelected in 2020: “Anything he needs us to do – for the president – we’ll be doing.”
- The RNC now has 540 national staff members across 28 states, with more than 22,000 “top tier” trained activists. In comparison, 5,000 such volunteers were trained for the 2016 campaign.
A massive, overflow Trump rally in Erie, Pennsylvania, October 10, 2018:
GOP strategist Scott Jennings, who advised Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign, said: “If the Trump campaign and RNC keep doing what they’re doing, they’re going to amass a huge fundraising and grassroots network. By the time the conventions come around, they’re going to be rolling down the campaign trail with a well-oiled, fully-weaponized battle station.”
Even Demonrat strategist Paul Begala acknowledged that “It is really impressive, the money and the operation that the Trump folks are putting together.” As soon as the midterm election is over, Democrats “had better get about the business of re-arming for the next battle.”
The Democratic National Committee (DNC), struggling to rebuild after 2016, effectively has no cash on hand and remains in debt. DNC officials said they are cognizant of the gap they need to close for 2020 and are investing in state parties and cybersecurity so that the eventual nominee will inherit a strong party – something they acknowledge that Hillary Clinton did not have in 2016. Guy Cecil, chairman of Priorities USA, the main Demonrat super PAC, said: “There’s no question that the DNC found itself in a deeper hole than they thought when the 2018 cycle started, and they have significant more work to do to get resources and to build infrastructure, so that when we have a nominee, we’re prepared to fight.”
The 2020 race is expected to begin almost immediately after the midterm election. Fauxcahontas Sen. Elizabeth Warren (MA), rumored “gay” Sen. Cory Booker (NJ), and Obama’s VP pedophile Joe Biden are among the high-profile Democrats who have recently raised millions of dollars and traveled around the country to support midterm candidates – moves typically considered signs of presidential aspirations.
Michael Avenatti, the attorney who represents Stormy Daniels and Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s false accuser (and perjurer) Julie Swetnick, said he would run for the presidency in 2020 only against Trump or Pence.
Bring it on, punks!
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