Quick Takes: Trump Running a 1980’s Campaign

* Last week, in writing about the competence of the Clinton campaign, I quoted from an article by Sasha Issenberg on their campaign structure. Jim Tankersley noticed that piece as well and interviewed Issenberg. In talking about how the Clinton campaign has developed different groupings of states by messaging rather than a regional approach, he added this:

On one level, this structure reflects an even more basic form of progress, just a willingness to question precedent. Every institution that needs to break down the country into manageable chunks starts with geography, because it’s intuitive. (Even sports leagues that don’t actually divide teams by proximity use the language of “Eastern Division” or “Western Conference” to characterize them.) But if you were starting a presidential campaign from scratch and not just using a hand-me-down org. chart from 1976, is there a reason why you’re grouping North Carolina with Virginia and not with Nevada?

I’ve spent a lot of time reporting on how data-driven innovations play out in the field — how campaigns figure out which doors to knock on, which phones to call, etc. What we’re seeing in Hillary’s Brooklyn headquarters is, in essence, the trickle-up effect of all those innovations: the midlevel corporate structure rearranging itself to better reflect what’s going on at ground level in the field.

When it comes to the Trump campaign, Issenberg has some interesting insights that you’ll want to check out. Overall, he says that Trump is running a 1980’s analog campaign to Clinton’s 21st Century digital campaign.

Up until 1988, basically, campaigns would cut three checks — one to each of the television networks — and communicate with the electorate through national ads.

In the 1980s, direct mail became useful for persuasion, and then over the last 15 years, we’ve seen a renaissance of highly targeted individual contact because the data and analytics are now available to segment the electorate in all sorts of previously unimaginable ways.

Trump is very much a throwback to that old mass-media world — this is a guy who seems to prize being on the cover of Time or featured in “60 Minutes” above anything else — but has also decided to run for president on the cheap. So he’s still relying on the three national networks (and cable news), but since he isn’t paying for airtime, he is reliant on the media to filter his message in a way that past candidates haven’t been. No wonder he’s in such a love-hate relationship with us.

* Along these same lines, Lauren Fox lists “5 Points On The Weird Ways Trump’s Campaign Is Spending Its Money.” Here is one of them:

While Clinton’s campaign spent $3 million in July on a staff of about 700 people, according to the New York Times, the paper reported that Trump had spent about $500,000 on payroll and related expenses for a staff of fewer than 200.

“Trump spent more money on renting arenas for his speeches than he did on payroll,” the New York Times reported.

* This doesn’t strike me as a smart move from a guy running in a blue state that happens to be the home of a president who is pretty popular there.

Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk criticized President Barack Obama for delivering money to the Iranian government in coordination with the release of Americans being held prisoner there — saying he was “acting like the drug dealer in chief.”

* Right now there are a lot of Republicans who don’t think that they can vote for either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. Many of them are taking a look at Gary Johnson. It would be interesting to know how they respond to this interview with John Harwood where Johnson talks about legalizing pot and calls Mexican immigrants the “cream of the crop” when it comes to workers. On the other hand, he wants to get rid of both the income and corporate tax and replace it with a consumption tax, while also getting rid of Dodd-Frank and other pesky Wall Street regulations. It sure seems like he’s got something for everyone to love/hate.

* Markos Moulitsas says the Republicans have reason to panic.

1. Their House fundraising has fallen off a cliff. House Republicans raised just $4.6 million in July, half of what they raised in June. Democrats? $12 f’n million.
2. Senate Republicans raised just $4.2 million in July, compared to $7.5 million for Senate Democrats. Senate Democrats have $31.5 million in the bank, compared to $23.8 million for Republicans.
3. Because of Donald Trump and exacerbated by his claims of a “rigged” election, Republican voter enthusiasm is uncharacteristically down.
4. Dems have opened up a 5-point lead in the generic House ballot, close to the point that overcomes the Republican gerrymander.
5. So yes, the House is in play.
6. That’s why Republicans are reaching “new levels of panic.”

* Finally, here is the latest ad from the Clinton campaign:

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.