Spending nary a dime, Donald Trump has leapfrogged a large field of presidential wannabees to take a commanding lead in the race for the Republican nomination for president.
Anyone in that position who had unlimited financial resources and who truly wanted to win the nomination would have already unleashed wall-to-wall ads in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada, and would be assembling a massive ground-game in those states.
Why? Because if Trump won those primaries convincingly, it would be all over but the shouting.
Such a candidate would also be fielding ads and building organization in the compressed March 1-15th states where delegates will be handed out proportionally to build an uncatchable lead.
No one else can do this because they are donor-dependent and the donors want to see evidence of feasibility in early states to hedge their bets.
But, the Donald's only donor is himself. And, it does not seem that himself is taking the Donald's candidacy seriously enough to invest.
Two hundred million deployed now could wrap it all up for him.
Think of it. The obligatory fluff piece introducing a "Donald no one knows" would be airing in those states. In Iowa it would show him castrating hogs, patting cows and pitching hay (on his golf courses?), and dutifully attending church with his (current) family in tow. In New Hampshire, where Pat Buchanan scored well against George H.W. Bush, he would show his populist roots. In Nevada he would be talking about how much he loved the Hispanics and in South Carolina he would go back to church and complain about the political correctness forcing the confederate flag off the state capitol, and so forth.
He would also unleash his "bash-o-rama." Some ads would show him in triumphant moments at the debates, others with large crowds in Texas. He would also dump on his rivals as being part of the problem or not up to the job or lacking energy or being a failed CEO.
He could, perhaps rightly, proclaim a growing flock of followers, and demonstrate how much he cares for all of us by showing how much of his own money he is spending.
The bash-o-rama would not be Trump if he did not dump on immigrants while proclaiming his love for them.
And, of course, the polls. He could, perhaps paradoxically, use the ad buys to show that he surged to the top without spending a dime, showing poll after poll after poll. He could also repeat constantly that he takes no money from anyone, that he, unlike all his opponents, is his own man. He need not whisper a single syllable in support of campaign finance reform because he is free from any influence.
As his expenditures demonstrated his commitment to the race, all the best field operatives would take jobs with him. Indeed, he could tout their skills as proof that he attracts only the best, so he would get a double-whammy out of it.
The other candidacies would, as Newt Gingrich wished for medicare and social security respectively, wither on the vine and twist slowly in the breeze. If Trump deployed $200M, how many big donors would support the others?
But, Trump is not doing any of this. Nor will he. He either does not have the money he proclaims or he is too cheap to spend it, or both.
Reporters should ask Trump three questions: i) why, having sat atop the heap now for months, is he not overwhelming the others with cash expenditures to win it all, and quickly? ii) recount all the times he has alluded to "people saying things" and ask him to name the people who have actually said it; and iii) show him a copy of Ted Cruz's birth-certificate and ask if Ted Cruz is disqualified from serving as president.
This publication never has taken the Trump candidacy seriously. Neither have I.
Nor should anyone.
A true winner, as Trump claims himself to be in life, would go all-in. Now. Immediately.
But, Trump is not a true winner. He is an insecure, whining showman. A wimp.
Time for Trump to put-up-or-shut-up.