In Defying the Odds, we discuss campaign finance and campaign technology. The 2019 update includes a chapter on the 2018 midterms.
President Donald Trump’s 2020 television and digital media advertisements show a candidate on the offensive, making an aggressive push to get in front of viewers with swipes at his political opposition. The president has massively outspent presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden in TV ads, and by a shrinking margin online.
Between May 11 and June 28, nearly 85,000 TV ads costing a combined $51 million were broadcast across America in the 2020 presidential race. Over 50,000 were purchased by Trump’s campaign, and another 11,600 by outside groups that support him — a major increase since the beginning of 2019. That’s according to a new analysis from the Wesleyan Media Project in partnership with OpenSecrets.
The Trump campaign shows no sign of relenting. Between June 26 and July 2, Trump pre-booked $113 million in television ads in key swing states Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio and Wisconsin.
Trump launched his first Spanish language broadcast TV ad of the election cycle last week, targeting Arizona and Florida, after Biden began ramping up spending in the states last month. Trump has already run digital ads in Spanish and Biden ran a number on broadcast TV during the primary.
Biden’s campaign has been saving its money. Biden aired just 3,100 broadcast TV ads in the same period, perhaps a sign of commitment to his lay-low-and-let-Trump-talk campaign strategy. Outside groups made up some ground for Biden, airing nearly 20,000 ads for the Democratic candidate. The groups are led in spending by Priorities USA, a liberal hybrid PAC that aired over 13,000 TV ads at a price of nearly $7 million.
Bidens leads Trump by 8.7 percent in the RCP average.