Search This Blog

Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Sunday, November 8, 2020

Inside Campaign 2020

In Defying the Odds, we discuss the 2016 campaign. Our next book (title TBA) discusses 2020.

Natasha Korecki and colleagues at Politico: 

  • Communication between the Trump campaign and Republican National Committee broke down for much of the final stretch, and the two sides clashed over strategy. The RNC thought Trump’s ads were of such low quality that it created its own commercials.
  • A pro-Trump super PAC took months longer than expected to materialize, prompting anxiety at the highest levels of the president’s cash-poor campaign. At one point, former top Trump strategist Steve Bannon was in discussions about helping to steer the group, an idea major donors would have rejected. By the time casino mogul Sheldon Adelson stepped forward to fund it, the president had been swamped by pro-Biden ads.
  • Trump offered to cut his campaign a check heading into the final week of the race. His advisers told him it wasn’t necessary — the campaign had enough resources. While people close to the president defended the decision, it ensured he would be overwhelmed by Biden on the air as voters headed to the polls.
  •  Senior campaign and GOP officials vented that Trump’s finance team, led by former Fox TV host and Donald Trump Jr. girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle, underperformed and was an HR nightmare. Trump couldn’t compete with Biden’s small-dollar fundraising machine, and some donors were horrified by what they described as Guilfoyle’s lack of professionalism: She frequently joked about her sex life and, at one fundraiser, offered a lap dance to the donor who gave the most money.
  • Biden aides clashed over a decision to refrain from door-knocking as part of a field operation, something campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillon supported, to the disappointment of some staffers who feared they forfeited a major organizing tool to Republicans.
  • The Biden campaign spent months pushing back on criticism of its “basement strategy,” including from its own party. It would feel vindicated when Biden remained virus-free as infections spread through the White House.
  •  Democratic Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, whose late-February endorsement of Biden proved to be a transformational moment for his campaign, revealed that he informed Biden advisers months earlier of his decision. But Clyburn resisted pressure from the campaign to go public because he thought it would pack more punch just before the South Carolina primary.