Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Trump's Ceiling Is His Wallet

Running for president is about to become a lot more expensive, and his business interests are vulnerable.
None of his offenses against propriety seem to have dinged the support that, in a crowded race, keeps Donald Trump atop the GOP primary polls.
Republicans are now talking about a brokered convention, which could be a disaster for the country, and for the GOP, and quite possibly hand the election to Hillary Clinton without a real contest or even critique of her agenda.
So goes the fear. But unless we miss our guess, our long national nightmare-cum-sketch comedy show actually has a termination date. It will end the moment campaigning begins to threaten Mr. Trump’s finances and business interests.
"Mr. Trump has gotten extraordinarily far based on 
free media" ... NO KIDDING!
Mr. Trump has gotten extraordinarily far based on free media plus a degree of self-funding that might come from petty cash. But he hasn’t shown even the willingness to spend the $44 million that Mitt Romney spent on his failed 2008 effort. Running for president is expensive—a billion-dollars-plus expensive, even with a party behind you, and it’s not clear that even with the nomination Mr. Trump would have the GOP behind him in any meaningful sense, its foot soldiers, its donors, its super PACs.
Mr. Trump claimed when he launched his campaign in June, “I’m not using donors. I don’t care. I’m really rich.” But not only has he not dipped into capital, lending his campaign a mere $1.8 million through the third quarter. His capital is not as deep ($10 billion) as he lets on. Forbes and Bloomberg News put his wealth at $2 billion to $4 billion. And assets that he could reasonably convert to cash are even less. Bloomberg puts the figure as low as $70 million, less than what several candidates in the race (Bush, Clinton, Cruz) and their super PACs already have raised.
And running is about to become a lot more expensive. When the campaign goes national after Iowa and New Hampshire, Mr. Trump would have to spend money on TV ads. To participate in widespread primaries and a convention fight he would have to hire staff. Mr. Trump, from day one, has likely never been down with any of that.
Read the rest of this WSJ op-ed HERE.

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