GOP presidential candidate and “Contrarian Commentary” columnist Andy Martin analyzes Donald Trump’s campaign spending and says it is an embarrassment. Trump brags about not spending money, while Ted Cruz is devoting resources to building a first class campaign operation. In reality, Trump is starving his campaign of the resources necessary to fight a winning effort. Trump has managed to stumble by with his personal appearances, but his lead is shrinking and the days when Trump’s personal approach could substitute for a real campaign may be ending.
ANDY MARTIN /2016
Republican candidate for
President of the United States
“Make America Great Again”
P.O. Box 1851
New York, NY 10150-1851
New Hampshire Headquarters:
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Manchester, NH 03105
Tel. (866) 706-2639; Cell (917) 664-9329
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
GOP presidential candidate and “Contrarian Commentary” columnist Andy Martin says “Donald Trump is trying to run a campaign on the cheap, and it shows”
Andy says Trump is ignoring the results of the 2008 and 2012 elections, when Barack Obama pioneered new techniques in national campaigning
Andy says Trump’s “campaign jalopy” may be about to lose its wheels
Andy says Trump is fooling himself if he thinks his current efforts are going to be sufficient to win the nomination and the November election
Andy’s “indictment” of Trump’s under-funded, “Potemkin” campaign
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(Palm Beach, FL) (March 29, 2016)
This is my eighteenth letter to the American people from the 2016 campaign trail (# 14 is still in progress, coming in hours; promises, promises).
Both as a candidate and writer I am in somewhat of a unique position. I first met Donald Trump in 1979, some thirty-seven years ago. We were neighbors then; I approved his lease to move into my condominium building (I served on the board of the condo). And so I have known him longer than almost anyone in the media or politics. I am not supporting or opposing his current campaign. He is the leader of the pack and I am bringing up the rear as a Republican candidate. But knowing about someone for decades gives you a special insight into their character, behavior and approach to life.
I started writing this analysis several days ago. The topic is a moving target. Just as I was doing some final editing, another story on Trump’s “nickel and diming” campaign strategy popped up in the Wall Street Journal (please see link #1 below).
Let me start with a conversation that Donald Trump and I had somewhere around 36 years ago, the significance of which will soon be apparent. I was serving on the board of Olympic Tower Condominium, the most avant garde building in New York because it was the first to combine luxury retail, office and residential space in one structure. Trump was a rental tenant at Olympic Tower with his new wife Ivana.
I don’t remember exactly how, but because of my experience at Olympic Tower I ended up being an informal adviser to the architects designing the new Trump Tower. Trump Tower was intended to be a replica of Olympic Tower, once again combining super-luxury retail, office and residential space in one structure.
Donald and I discussed the cheap fixtures he was planning to install in Trump Tower, barely acceptable cabinets, fittings and finishings. Donald’s answer to me was his belief that wealthy people always redesigned their spaces, so they would in any event be ripping out and replacing his “builder” fixtures. His view: why then put in quality materials to begin with? In other words, his approach was to put in the cheapest materials he could get away with, because someone else would soon be remodeling and paying the real cost of building out a first class living space. It was a classic “outer borough” mentality approach.
Trump is apparently no longer designing and building luxury buildings in New York City. His cheap-is-all-right approach has been superseded by his competitors’ first-class-up-front approach to construction and interior finishings.
Unfortunately, Trump’s “cheap is acceptable” mentality appears to be undermining, and ultimately destroying, his presidential campaign. Trump may lose the GOP nomination, or the November election, because he has fooled himself into believing he can campaign on the cheap and that he can pretend to be running a real campaign when all he is doing in reality is conducting a hollowed out (dare I say?) “Potemkin” campaign.
Trump has always been something of a con man and carnival barker, with grossly inflated, almost flatulent, marketing promises. And unfortunately for him, his failed ventures (Trump University, etc.) have come to overshadow his very legitimate monetary successes. Trump, for example, claimed to have sent “investigators” to Hawai’i to check on Obama’s origins, but no evidence of any such mission ever surfaced.
But today Trump may be in the process of conning himself into his biggest fiasco ever: nickel-and-diming himself out of the White House.
Trump likes to brag that he is “funding his own campaign.” But the reality is that he is not “funding his own campaign.” Rather, by refusing to invest a sufficient amount of money to run a substantial effort, Trump is almost certainly ensuring his ultimate defeat.
Presidential campaigns are expensive propositions, and have become incredibly more so as a result of efforts successfully pioneered by Barack Obama eight and four years ago to create massive, ongoing campaign structures. Instead of building a state-of-the-art, first class campaign apparatus, Trump is campaigning with the functional equivalent of his own cheap-is-acceptable construction approach.
When I started writing this story several days ago, Trump’s opponents were advertising in Wisconsin. He was not (please see link #2 below). Trump had two weeks to “move” into Wisconsin, plant his flag and develop a campaign that could finish off Ted Cruz. Right now, if I were betting, my money would be on Cruz to win Wisconsin. In any event the vote will be much closer than it should have been. Trump’s various opponents have been relentlessly attacking him in Wisconsin. Trump is making a half-hearted effort to defend himself.
Perhaps because he survived a similar onslaught of negative ads in Florida he feels he can always ignore opposition advertising. I don’t think so. (I will write more about Wisconsin later this week.)
Trump has constantly bragged about how little he has spent on his campaign. But the reality is that other than his personal appearances he has not built much of a campaign structure at all (see link #1 again). He claimed after Iowa that he didn’t know what “ground game” meant. How about his people? Didn’t they know what “ground game” meant. Were they blind to the campaign Ted Cruz was building? (please see group link #3 below) If Trump had made a serious investment in Iowa, today he would already be the nominee. Instead, by scrimping on his spending, he has allowed his opposition to grow into a formidable force that could defeat him.
In reality, Trump has failed his first test as a commander-in-chief. Any commander knows that you throw overwhelming resources into a battle to win, not lollygag around and allow your enemies to gain strength. If Trump had been president on D-Day in 1944, we might still be fighting World War II (or, even more ominously, Hitler’s new weapons would have finished off the U. S. effort and we would have had to accept a bad peace). How can he brag about how much money he has, and then starve his campaign “soldiers” of the resources they need to win? It is an irrational approach.
Ted Cruz, on the other hand, invested in a major data-based campaign (please see group link #3). Trump would have won Iowa if he had made a serious effort to win. Instead, he snatched defeat from the jaws of victory and allowed Cruz’ data-driven campaign to eke out a victory. Cruz has continued to build his campaign apparatus. Cruz could very well overwhelm Trump in Wisconsin or a later primary. When we look back on 2016, Trump’s failure to spend money in 2015, while constantly bragging about how little he was spending, may have been his fatal campaign error. But even if he wins the nomination, he will be up against a much better organized campaign (link #1 again) for November. Right now Trump is dismantling his campaign, not building a general election team (link #1).
March 28th Trump said he would be filing a lawsuit because “he wuz robbed” in Louisiana (please see group link #4). While Trump is finally building a pre-convention delegate operation, it almost certainly is being starved for resources. If Trump had kept his campaign offices open and fully staffed with local people, he would not have been ambushed in Louisiana. March 28th Trump went on a radio show (please see link #6) and later admitted he wasn’t warned in advance the host was hostile. Does Trump even have advance people in Wisconsin?
To rescue his convention delegate operation he hired someone whose most notable recent job was shilling for a Ukrainian dictator and pal of Vladimir Putin (please see link #7). Is this the best operation Trump can put together with his claimed billions of dollars? As I said, he has failed his first test as a commander in chief. Barack Obama may be a jerk, but he knew how to hire brilliant people. Trump?
How would a real “businessman” have built a “real” presidential campaign? He/she would have gone for the best data, the best ads, and provided his staff overwhelming resources to knock out the competition at the starting gate instead of allowing opponents to gain in strength and threaten his campaign later in the process.
What I am writing about is not rocket science. Barack Obama’s campaign team redefined the art of national campaigning in 2008 and again in 2012. They humiliated a supposed “number cruncher,” Mitt Romney, by whipping Romney with better numbers, better data and better organization. Cruz is following in Obama’s footsteps, building a 21st century campaign operation based on data analytics and operations, and not following a Trump-style horse-and-buggy era approach to campaigning.
I was in church with Trump on Easter Sunday (just a coincidence). But why? Why wasn’t he in Wisconsin? He had two weeks to win Wisconsin, to flood the zone with positive advertising, to cover the state with campaign offices and local staff. He should have set up a command center in Milwaukee and campaigned relentlessly (that, incidentally, was the Kennedy family style). Trump has apparently done little, or very little, in Wisconsin. He apparently still doesn’t know what a “ground game” looks like and is still relying on free media coverage (most of it increasingly hostile) to conduct his campaign.
If we were grading Trump’s campaign at the Wharton School (of Business) where he graduated, he would get a “D” or maybe even an “F” for the manner in which he is conducting his campaign.
Trump has proven himself to be a brilliant tactician, with an amazing sense of the battlefield (please see link #5). He is something akin to General George Patton. But Patton could not/did not win World War II. Eisenhower won the war, and went on to become president. Trump/Patton is/was a brilliant attacker but a limited one. It was General George Marshall and Eisenhower who assembled the overwhelming resources necessary to defeat the Third Reich. Trump can’t even assemble a substantial presidential campaign.
Trump’s campaign folly may ultimately be exposed in the words of his hero Abe Lincoln: “you can fool some of the people all the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.”
I’m not sure Trump was right 36 years ago when he said he could get away with putting cheap fixtures in his new luxury building; but I am absolutely sure he is wrong 36 years later. If he keeps campaigning on the cheap, he will certainly defeat himself. It may be too late to save Wisconsin. I don’t know if it is too late to save the rest of his campaign. Time will tell. Or Ted Cruz.
If Trump’s campaign eventually implodes and demolishes the hopes of his supporters I don’t want to be around to pick up the pieces.
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ANDY MARTIN – A BRIEF BIO:
Andy Martin is a legendary New Hampshire, New York and Chicago-based muckraker, author, Internet columnist, talk television pioneer, radio talk show host, broadcaster and media critic. With forty-eight years of background in radio and television and with five decades of investigative and analytical experience in Washington, the USA and around the world, Andy provides insight on politics, foreign policy, intelligence and military matters. For a full bio, go to: www.AndyMartin.com; also see http://www.BoycottABC.com/executive_director.htm
Andy has also been a leading corruption fighter in American politics and courts for over forty-five years and is executive director of the National Anti-Corruption Policy Institute. See also www.FirstRespondersOnline.us; www.AmericaisReadyforReform.com.
He holds a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Illinois College of Law and is a former adjunct professor of law at the City University of New York (LaGuardia CC, Bronx CC).
He is the author of “Obama: The Man Behind The Mask” [www.OrangeStatePress.com] and produced the Internet film “Obama: The Hawaii’ Years” [www.BoycottHawaii.com]. Andy is the Executive Editor and publisher of the “Internet Powerhouse,” blogging at www.contrariancommentary.wordpress.com and www.ContrarianCommentary.com.
Andy’s family immigrated to Manchester, New Hampshire 100 years ago; today his home overlooks the Merrimack River and he lives around the corner from where he played as a small boy. He is New Hampshire’s leading corruption fighter and Republican Party reformer.
Andy’s columns are also posted at ContrarianCommentary.blogspot.com ContrarianCommentary.wordpress.com
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