If you’re a rich GOP donor, the butcher’s bill has been quite steep given that almost every candidate you’ve doe out cash to has been completely steamrolled by Donald Trump. So far, donors has flushed $200 million down the drain showing that money doesn’t by elections, and that television ads are losing their rate of return on the campaign trail (via Yahoo Finance):
…[A] fat bank account doesn’t automatically buy victory, a lesson being hammered into wealthy donors this year. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker was one early favorite of big donors—especially Wall Streeters—yet he flamed out last August months before voting ever began. Jeb Bush raised more super PAC money than anyone, yet he quit in February without winning a single primary. Many rich donors then turned to Marco Rubio, who won just one state—Minnesota—before he bailed out on March 15.
All told, GOP donors have spent more than $200 million on super PACs supporting candidates who are out of the race. That money bought essentially nothing. Most donors realize they’re gambling with their money, since there can only be one winner in a presidential race and most candidates are destined to lose. But the popularity of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders—who have both eschewed super PACs—shows that ordinary voters still matter, at least a little.
Trump’s renegade candidacy is obviously one reason millions of dollars in donor funds aren’t buying success this year. Trump may get more free media exposure than any presidential candidate in history, thanks to the controversy he stokes and entertainment value he provides on radio and TV. He’s also adept at using social media—which is free—to circulate his views and attack his foes.
And what’s the grand total of that media coverage: $2 billion. Trump has garnered $2 billion in free media coverage, which would lay the groundwork for a win with any candidate, even John Kasich if he were to be so lucky to exploit this deluge of media attention. Social media is one area that younger GOP operatives have been trying to convince Republicans to take seriously, though the Old Guard seems to be on focused television ads.