As Bernie Sanders fades with almost illogical slowness in her rear view mirror, Hillary Clinton is moving on to the general election and Donald Trump.
And that means Hillary is gonna do what Hillary does best; she gonna get that fundraising cheddar.
Since the beginning of 2016, Clinton's campaign added 125 major fundraisers to its list of “Hillblazers,” supporters who have helped pull in at least $100,000 for her presidential campaign. As of April 30, they had already raised a combined $41.2 million, roughly one-fifth of her war chest.
But she's going to get all that cheddar...
Victories in the final week of state primary elections finally gave Clinton enough delegates to make her the de facto Democratic nominee, facing off against Republican counterpart Donald Trump. And almost immediately, Clinton won one of the most coveted endorsements in politics: Billionaire hedge-fund manager Tom Steyer, the most prolific Democratic donor of recent times.
Steyer donated $73 million to candidates in the 2014 midterms, most of it through his own super PAC, NextGen Climate Action. For the 2016 cycle, he's donated $13 million so far. Steyer is a devout environmentalist who mostly spends his money campaigning against Republicans who dispute the effects of climate change and the need for solutions. Steyer didn’t say how much he’d be willing to spend on Clinton, but his endorsement suggests he may contribute more than if he were merely supporting the Democratic cause generally.
Some estimates put Hillary's cash on hand estimate in the neighborhood of $100 million, a sizable war chest that will likely only grow with finance types like Steyer climbing aboard now that Hillary is less likely to be pulled left by unappeasable Sanderistas. Pumping that kind of gas into the road-tested Clinton campaign machine is enough to make Democrats purr, but it's causing someone else to act very, very strange...
That is Donald Trump bragging about being small... Feel that.
Trump tweeting that that he likes the notion of "Small" is like hearing Bernie Sanders recite Gordon Gekko's "Greed is good" speech from "Wall Street." Trump saying that "small is good" is like the Kardashians announcing that they only watch PBS and read books. Trump singing the praises of tiny things is like Jamie Dimon, well, singing the praises of tiny things.
Throughout time, Trump has used adjectives for large to describe things that he likes and adjectives for small to denote things he finds worthless.
Right, L'il Marco?
But before we put Trump on a 72 hour psych evaluation, maybe there's (gasp) an ulterior motive behind this transformation...
Clinton already has a sizable funding advantage over Trump. Between her campaign and various super PACs supporting her, Clinton had more than $80 million on hand at the end of April. Trump had just a couple million. Trump has self-financed about 75% of his campaign up till now, but even billionaire Trump has nowhere near the liquid assets to fund a battle with a candidate who could easily raise $1 billion, when super PACs and other sources are combined.
Republican finance guru Fred Malek said recently that Trump could face a fundraising shortfall of $300 million to $500 million. That would be a giant gap.
So is Trump compensating in the off-chance that his dream team of hedge fund managers and Silicon Valley billionaires fails to deliver him the $1 billion that he so badly desires?
Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump distanced himself from his own fundraising estimate of $1 billion, refusing to commit to collecting even half that amount, and saying his campaign didn't need much money to win the White House.
Trump, who has held just two major fundraising events since agreeing three weeks ago to help the party raise cash, said he would rely instead more on his own star power as a former reality-TV personality to earn free media, and has no specific goals for how much money his campaign needs.
“There’s no reason to raise that,” Trump said about raising $1 billion. “I just don’t think I need nearly as much money as other people need because I get so much publicity. I get so many invitations to be on television. I get so many interviews, if I want them.”
If the money is any indication (and this being modern American politics, the money is every indication) Clinton v. Trump is going to force both candidates to radically "re-communicate" the core appeals that each staked out in their primary races.
Hillary spent more than a year telling voters that, despite all rumor and evidence, she was not "too close to Wall Street." But with Bernie dropping out of the race like a melting, Brooklyn-accented glacier, Clinton is free to turn back to her investment banker donors and say "Now that he's gone, you guys know I was just playing right? Great! Now make out the check to H-I-L-L-A-R-Y..."
And Trump - who made his wealth and metaphysical size the centerpiece of his campaign so far - is now turning reality on its head by vaguely embracing the image of an under-funded underdog. But while the idea of a penniless outsider hellbent on real debate has already proven useful against Hillary, it's so outside Trump's comfort zone as to seem borderline untenable.
Especially considering that Trump is already struggling with the idea of funding a general election on a state-by-state basis...
If Clinton has tens of millions more dollars, she can start spending money in states that are leaning toward Trump, forcing him and his allies to defend that ground. Simply by having more money to play with, they can force Trump to spend more of his own money in places that he wouldn't otherwise target. And if Trump is spending money on polls and lawn signs in New York, where he's almost certain to lose, that's money he can't spend making sure that the vote isn't too lopsided in Atlanta.
Perhaps the biggest issue that Trump now faces in the race is that Wall Street and its money view him as the thing it hates most: "Unpredictably risky." By shifting tone and getting out-raised by hundreds of millions of dollars, he's proving that he might be even less-predictable and riskier than they thought.
Hillary Clinton starts to rake in the cash [Yahoo Finance]