According to NBC News, Republican nominee Donald Trump has yet to spend a single dime on television ads for the general election. Recent filings show that the Trump coffers are full; his campaign pulled in more than $80 million last month, much of it in the form of small donations. But despite sitting on a treasure chest and facing some unfortunate poll numbers, Trump apparently still feels the media is giving him enough free coverage to make ads redundant.
In the meantime, the Hillary Clinton campaign has already purchased more than $52 million in TV ads. NBC also pointed out that Gary Johnson and Jill Stein, third-party candidates for president, have “spent more on ads than Trump.”
When you think about it, this severely minimizes the impact of the most recent polls. The worst of them are bad indeed, showing Clinton with as much as a 10-point lead over Trump and routing him badly in several crucial swing states. We can debate the validity of those polls all we want, but the Trump campaign can’t afford to treat them as anything other than God’s holy truth. And the truth, in this case, looks grim.
But it becomes much less grim when you realize that Trump hasn’t really even started yet. Not a single television advertisement, and we’re creeping up on the middle of August. So you can’t help but wonder: Would a slate of effective TV ads be enough to close the gap between him and Hillary?
Trump benefited enormously from the free publicity he received in the primaries, but it’s time to recognize that not all publicity is good publicity. Not in this case. Not when mainstream sources of print and TV media have devolved into “journalists” squawking non-stop about how Trump is literally Satan incarnate. Don’t underestimate how much of an effect this onslaught is having on the average zoned-out voter. Trump needs to put a strong counter-narrative out there just to remind people that he’s not the monster the press has made him out to be.
It could have a really significant effect, if done well.
But let’s not wait much longer, okay?