Diary

Call Donald Trump's bluff on self-financing

Donald Trump’s domination in the polls has upended the Presidential race ever since he entered in mid-June. This has caused incredible heartburn among the GOP political class who see a certain general election loser.

Supporters of Trump though see a strongman who will deport illegal immigrants, call out political correctness, and take on the establishment. Perhaps the most attractive aspect of Trump’s appeal, however, is the view that he cannot be bought by anyone and will self-finance his campaign.  But this also a potentially vulnerable aspect of his candidacy because he may not have the financial resources to fund both a primary campaign and a general election campaign, which could cost $1 billion. While Trump is worth billions of dollars on paper, he only has about $345 million in liquid assets, in essence, a possible paper tiger.

Trump of course will say that he will spend any amount of money necessary to win and that he has cash available beyond his liquid assets. If he is right, then he does not need the Republican National Committee (RNC) or any Political Action Committees (PAC) to help him compete in an election against Hillary Clinton. This is certainly what most of his supporters believe.

RNC chairman Reince Priebus should make the effort to find out how serious Trump is about self-financing his campaign and becoming President. This can be accomplished in the following letter:

Dear Mr. Trump,

Your presidential campaign has captured the imagination of millions of Americans across the country, many of whom have never been involved in politics before. Your anti-establishment message has been a breath of fresh air and has contributed positively to our nation’s political discourse.

The Republican National Committee is particularly gratified that you have decided to self-finance your campaign for President. Because of this, we have decided to respect your wishes  and will not be playing a role in the Presidential election should you receive our party’s nomination. The Committee’s focus will instead to turn towards maintaining and expanding our majorities in the House of Representatives and the Senate while you build the necessary infrastructure to defeat the eventual Democratic nominee.

Sincerely,

Reince Priebus

This letter presents a no-lose scenario for Priebus. If Trump goes on to win the nomination, the RNC will have washed their hands of him in case he goes on to suffer an embarrassing loss in the general and humiliates himself in the process.  The party will save millions of dollars that would go a presidential campaign and instead focus on saving vulnerable congressional incumbents. The RNC may also have leftover money for the 2018 Senate cycle where the map is more favorable.

Trump, however, will find himself in a quandary because he is counting RNC help if he were to win the nomination. While he may not quit the race, he will need to have a conversation with his financial manager and reexamine the political landscape.

It is time to find out how badly Trump wants to be President of the United States. Call his bluff.