Money decides elections.
Jeez, hope I didn’t burst anyone’s bubble. It’s not ideology or policy positions, it’s cold, hard cash. Presidents in the modern era have spent a billion dollars and more per campaign to win the White House, so it’s not just money, it’s other people’s money.
And that’s a problem for Donald Trump. He might be worth $3.2 billion (at least according to a Forbes report from September), but The Don doesn’t like to spend his own cash. He’s looking to the money whales to fund his 2024 run, and they’re busy swimming out to deep water.
“GOP megadonors Robert Mercer and Rebekah Mercer have no current plans to help former President Donald Trump’s 2024 campaign for the White House, according to people familiar with the matter,” CNBC reported this week.
“The Mercers, a father and daughter who were among Trump’s major benefactors during his first run for president in 2016, are distancing themselves from the ex-president’s third White House bid and cutting back their overall campaign fundraising, these people said. The people who spoke to CNBC did so on the condition of anonymity in order to talk about private conversations.”
Makes sense, but still, they’re talking. It’s a whole new world after Republicans fared poorly in the 2022 midterms, in large part because of Trump. Nearly every candidate he backed (and almost all of the election deniers) lost on November 8 in key races, and top party leaders and donors suddenly feel free to bash the former president.
More are bailing.
“Blackstone CEO Steve Schwarzman, Citadel CEO Ken Griffin, wealthy New York businessman Andy Sabin and billionaire Ronald Lauder are among the wealthy GOP donors opting against helping Trump’s latest campaign — at least during the Republican primary,” CNBC reported. “Some of the country’s wealthiest GOP donors do not believe Trump can win again and have argued for a new face to represent their party in the race for president.”
“I’d like to think that the Republican Party is ready to move on from somebody who has been for this party a three-time loser,” Griffin said at Bloomberg’s New Economy Forum in Singapore, referring to the last three election cycles, The Hill reported.
Schwarzman was more harsh. “America does better when its leaders are rooted in today and tomorrow, not today and yesterday,” he said in a statement. “It is time for the Republican Party to turn to a new generation of leaders and I intend to support one of them in the presidential primaries.”
Losers don’t come back in presidential politics. Al Gore supposedly “won” the 2000 election, but he was not the Democrats’ candidate in 2004. Same, too, for John Kerry, who lost by just more than 118,000 votes in Ohio to lose the election, but wasn’t the Dems’ candidate in 2008. And Hillary Clinton loved to crow that she won the popular vote — by a lot — in 2016, but she was nowhere to be seen in 2020, when two-time loser Biden knocked off the incumbent president.
Even worse, Republicans are losing faith in Trump. A YouGov poll after the election showed Republicans who want him to run collapsed from 60% to just 47% (if you’re keeping score at home, that number doesn’t make you president).
After the dismal showing on November 8, Republicans and political pundits put the blame squarely on Trump. Exit polls found that a hefty chunk of voters came out just to vote against Trump’s candidates, and his presence was enough to throw some close races to the Democrats.
So far, so bad. But then came Trump’s announcement night. Trump held the event at the gaudy ballroom at Mar-a-Lago with an elite list of invited guests.
But as Trump bloviated, some of those people grew weary and decided it was time to leave. They were bored by what ABC’s Jonathan Karl called an “incredibly low energy” speech — which timed out at just over an hour — so they headed for the exits.
ABC’s Olivia Rubin shot a video of a crowd moving toward the doors to leave as Trump rambled on in the background.
“A crowd has formed by the exit of the ballroom as some try to leave Trump’s announcement speech before he has finished…. But security won’t let them,” she wrote on Twitter.
A crowd has formed by the exit of the ballroom as some try to leave Trump’s announcement speech before he has finished…. But security won’t let them. pic.twitter.com/O7C6QJfYgK
— Olivia Rubin (@OliviaRubinABC) November 16, 2022
Karl said, “I actually saw people trying to leave and people leaving early even before he was done. He’s still speaking now. And then they, I think perhaps a little concerned that the hall would empty out too much, they actually started preventing people from leaving, so now they’re no longer allowing people to leave.”
When they’re dying to leave your announcement speech, you got problems. But when you lose the moneybags, you just can’t win.
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.
Joseph Curl has covered politics for 35 years, including 12 years as White House correspondent for a national newspaper. He was also the a.m. editor of the Drudge Report for four years. Send tips to [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @josephcurl.