With Donald Trump the now presumptive nominee of the Republican Party, he has quickly shifted gears away from his largely self-funded campaign, and is going after the large Republican donors.
Sure, he’ll get the huge Republican war chest due any nominee for president, but the real money is in the super PACs, people like the Koch brothers, Sheldon Adelson, or any of the top billionaires who have a long history of opening their wallets to influence elections.
But, how does Trump proceed when he’s spent the last year bashing the establishment, antagonizing and berating the big funding that he has taken down, or even laughing about his own political contributions?
The problem is, it doesn’t seem like donors are going to be too quick to open their wallets, at least without seeing a Trump who acts like a presidential winner.
While Adelson, a former Rubio supporter, has declared his support for Trump, this is almost like a jinx in Republican politics — spending $150 million in 2012 with a completely busted slate of unelected candidates.
The Koch brothers seem to outright despise Trump and are unlikely to funnel money to his candidacy. It seems their intentions are to try to hold as many Senate seats as possible for the Republicans in a vulnerable year.
And the list goes on — donors are just leery of the Trump brand.
Facing any Democrat this election cycle is going to be a problem; money is king in elections, the better funded candidate wins 91 percent of the time.
But money isn’t everything. Jeb Bush proved that you simply cannot buy an election, spending an estimated $153 million in the primary without a single win.
But with 16 candidates in the initial field, there was going to be some bumps and bruises down the road for party favorites.
However, this is general election time. It is now a one-on-one match with the Democratic candidate, one that presumably will be exceptionally well-funded, backed by their party, and ready to take on Trump’s style of campaigning.
Trump got incredible mileage in the primaries from the ‘free advertising’ given to him by the media for his shenanigans. He probably can’t expect as much in a one-on-one with the Democratic challenger.
So the real question remains: will money be Trump’s biggest opponent this cycle?