Plagiarism Gaffe Points To Much Larger Problems In Trump Campaign

Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump introduces his wife Melania to speak during the Republican National Conve
Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump introduces his wife Melania to speak during the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S., July 18, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

One absurdity of this plagiarism "scandal" that is marring Melania Trump's speech Monday night is that through all the handwringing is the suggestion that what she or her handlers lifted from Michelle Obama was something close to the Gettysburg Address -- it wasn't of course because there's just not that many different ways a woman can say how much she loves and admires her husband.

The other absurdity, and the one that really has people inside the Trump orbit here at the GOP convention in Cleveland so concerned, is that it happened in the first place.

And it keeps happening with no end in sight.

Their worry gets to the heart of what even they concede will likely doom Trump's chances in November: If a presidential campaign can't prevent obvious cribbing of someone else's words (obvious, I say, because all this stuff can be found on Google) or the lifting of an image from a racist website (again, stuff that's easy to check out), how are the Trump people going to create a state-by-state infrastructure to beat Hillary Clinton?

The solution to not having enough staff to check things or people on the ground in must-win states to drive voter outreach is of course money.

So how ironic that a man who professes to be worth $10 billion will blow any chance to become the leader of the free world, and prevent his wife from being embarrassed before the nation, because he's cheap. (Sources close to Trump say Melania distraught by the backlash and right now is keeping a low profile)

But money or lack of it has always been the root of The Donald's problems. Trump never wanted to raise money because it negated his claim that he's so rich he can't be bought by special interests. Trump likes to tout that he could have spent whatever he wanted but he won the GOP nomination because he ran an efficient campaign on a shoe string, as if it was his game plan from the beginning.

Based on what I know, that wasn't really the case. Trump's massive net worth has always been a function of his brand first and foremost; his real estate holdings, while formidable, are less than liquid.

He knows that, which is why he almost never let go of his Twitter account and his penchant for saying outrageous stuff was so strong: it generated the free publicity he needed in a crowded field where mistakes can be mollified because his hardcore supporters will always give him a pass even if he claims not to know David Duke.

General elections are different in many ways, which is why Trump grudgingly and way late began to take donor money; first there are two candidates who both get a lot free media. And with two candidates gaffes become bigger and more problematic and more expensive to prevent.

All of which is why modern campaigns spend so much money: this is more of a science than art, and to hire enough of the right people to handle the various tasks of even a moderately successful campaign is expensive.

And its worth it: gaffes change the news cycle and distort message; instead of talking terrorism or making America safe again, Trump adviser Paul Manafort spent the day parsing sentence structure and syntax.

Trump's fundraisers tell me after a late start they're finally starting to convince big money donors to ante up. As for the speech, they say the outrage is much to do about relatively little since such sentiments are so commonplace they can't be plagiarized, even if Melania is shell-shocked from the ongoing media storm.

OK, but why didn't Donald spend at least a few of his bucks in the meantime. It would have saved his wife a lot of embarrassment and maybe he would have a shot at being president.