Blog 3 minute read
The amount of money spent in elections in the United States is mind boggling. Individual candidates spend many times more than the total marketing spend of the biggest UK companies. TV and social media ads, mega rallies, buses, planes, branding and everything in-between is used to get their message across to voters. Everything costs money.
The two main candidates - Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump - have each raised over half a billion dollars to fight the campaign. Before the race was whittled down to a fight between these two there were five other Democrats and sixteen other Republicans actively seeking to be their parties candidate.
It is the Republicans that I am interested here. Those sixteen, a mix of former and current governors and a handful of current senators plus a retired surgeon, battled Donald Trump and, one-by-one, withdrew from the race when a lack of support became apparent. These sixteen between them raised $762 million to fund their campaigns.
Now let’s fast forward to this week’s revelations - or “locker room talk” as Donald Trump describes it - of Trump boasting of his having groped, kissed and forced himself on women. The tape of a conversation from 2005 was obtained by the Washington Post days before the second televised debate and seems to have done significant damage to his chances of winning the election. Few people could have doubted that Trump might have said or done things which would damage his chances of election. So why has this only come to light now?
Of the things candidates and campaigns spend their money I listed above, I missed out something crucial in any good political campaign: opposition research. This is as described - seeking to find material to undermine your opponent. It might be their lack of consistency on an issue, a lack of candour over something else or even embarrassing sexist comments to a journalist.
Donald Trump is a very rich man with a large ego and a loose tongue yet none of the other sixteen Republican candidates were able to find anything on him that stopped him becoming the Republican candidate. Of the $762 million spent I would like to know how much was spent on opposition research. From experience I know a bright graduate on an interns salary can be as much use as the many 'strategists’ who ply their trade on political campaigns around the world. Perhaps the Republican Party realise that too now.
So now the Republican Party is in meltdown and it is all their own making. It is simply not credible for Republicans to withdraw their endorsements of Donald Trump at this stage. He is either the Republican candidate or he is not. If him and his views are so loathsome to senior Republicans then they should have done better, far better, at making sure he did not become their candidate in the first place. That is why the Republican Party is my Mis-Communicator of the Week.
Mis-Communicator of the Week is written by Edward Staite.