The Republican National Committee is absolutely firm in its support of Donald Trump. Or so they say. The dollars might convince a beleaguered, suspicious Trump to see things differently:
In 2004, the committee spent $18.2 million on independent expenditures — or IEs, in campaign parlance — boosting George W. Bush’s reelection bid. In 2008, the RNC’s IE spending surged to $53.5 million in support of John McCain’s campaign against Barack Obama. And in 2012, the RNC spent $42.4 million on IEs boosting Mitt Romney or opposing President Obama — with nearly 80 percent of the spending occurring before mid-October.
By contrast, this cycle the RNC has spent only $321,000 on independent expenditures attacking Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. And all of that spending occurred last fall — before Trump had emerged as the leader for the GOP presidential nomination.
According to the RNC, it’s nothing to do with
but rather the outcome of a strategic decision made after the 2012 election. And indeed, the DNC isn’t doing any IE advertising for Hillary Clinton, and no one would question her party’s commitment to her. The problem is, Trump needs the help and it looks awfully suspicious (hear that, Donald?) that he’s not getting it:
The RNC “had no way of knowing that Trump as the nominee wouldn’t have a significant paid media effort,” said Chris Mottola, a veteran Republican strategist who helped to oversee the committee’s 2012 ad campaign. “If you had predicted this election cycle, you would be living beside a pool in Vegas.”
Given the way the election developed, an adviser to one of the pro-Trump super PACs said the RNC should have adapted and stepped in to help offset the advertising gap for the good of the whole party. “It’s shocking that the RNC wouldn’t do an IE for the candidate at the top of its ticket,” the adviser said. “It’s the single best way to help every Republican candidate down the ballot.”
If you want to get technical about it, the single best way to help every Republican candidate down the ballot might be to have a nominee who wasn’t a sexual predator, but nothing can be done about that now! So TV ads might be the best option for the reality the RNC finds itself in. If their support for Trump was really as unswerving as Reince Priebus keeps saying it is.