The conventional wisdom was that Donald Trump was not a serious candidate and would not win a single primary.
Trump’s organizational deficiencies might doom him . . . or they might not matter.
What percentage of Hillary Clinton supporters will actually cast ballots this year? What percentage of Donald Trump supporters? Yesterday, Katie Packer, former deputy campaign manager for Mitt Romney, scoffed at the notion that Donald Trump could reach the necessary 270 electoral votes, suggesting that Trump would not win any state that he wasn’t leading by five points in the polls.
Will Trump underperform his polling numbers because his campaign’s get-out-the-vote operations aren’t as good as Clinton’s?
The entire political world is about to find out how much field offices and data analysis really matter. This year, Clinton’s campaign opened plenty of offices in every swing state — 65 in Florida, 54 in Ohio, 38 in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, 34 in Virginia, 33 in Iowa, 32 in Michigan, and 25 in Colorado and New Hampshire. They’re attempting to replicate and build upon a method that proved ruthlessly effective for the Obama campaign in 2008 and 2012. By comparison, the Trump campaign had just one campaign office open in Florida on September 1. Trump fans fervently believe their man will over-perform his final polling numbers, contending that there’s a “shy Tory” effect — that a significant number of voters support Trump but don’t want to reveal their support in surveys, and Trump inspires such passion in them that get-out-the-vote efforts won’t be as important as usual.
The conventional wisdom is that in order to win the White House you have to spend a ton of money on consultants, television, radio, and print ads, consultants, pollsters, consultants, phone and mailing lists, consultants, building a campaign infrastructure, and consultants. The conventional wisdom does not apply to Donald Trump. I’m not sure that the conventional wisdom applies to anyone this year.
Do you know who likes the conventional wisdom?
People like Katie Packer. Also pollsters, advertising agencies, television networks, radio stations, newspaper publishers, and all the other people who collect campaign dollars. The conventional wisdom was that Hillary and Jeb would spend over a billion dollars each this year. That’s a yuuge pie and lots of people were hoping for a slice.
But there is no amount of money that would make Hillary a better candidate. You can’t make chicken soup out of chicken shit.
A company came out with a new dog food, and hired an advertising firm to promote the product. The ad agency placed commercials on television and ads in magazines; millions of dollars went into the campaign. The commercials and ads were first-rate, but still the dog food did not sell. The client called a meeting at the ad agency and demanded to know what had gone wrong.
After a moment of silence, the leader of the ad agency team explained: “The dogs don’t like it.”