Patterico's Pontifications


Why Stop Now: Trump Reaping Big Bucks Post-Election

Filed under: General — Dana @ 11:13 am

[guest post by Dana]

‘What power has law where only money rules?’

While the long and baseless post-election slog through various courts continues, Trump’s grift is paying off handsomely:

President Donald Trump and his party raised $207.5 million in a less than three-week stretch after the U.S. election, fueled by outrage-filled solicitations to donors as he waged an unsuccessful challenge of the results.

Money flooded into Trump’s coffers at a much higher rate after he began to seek contributions to fight widespread voter fraud and election rigging, despite no evidence of either, after his loss to President-elect Joe Biden, according to filings with the Federal Election Commission.

The bulk of the cash — $121.7 million — came to the Trump Make America Great Again Committee via WinRed, the Republican platform for gathering smaller donations online. In the 20 days leading up to and including Election Day, those donors gave $44.8 million.

Via text message and email pleas Trump and the GOP continue to tap into a rich vein of MAGA anger and denial about the election results:

The TMAGA fundraising was spurred in part by an endless stream of text messages and emails insisting that the vote was marred and asking for help contesting the results of elections in Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin among other states.

“I trust you know that I’m fighting every second of every day to Make America Great Again and DEFEND the integrity of this Election,” began one recent pitch from the president to his supporters, despite a dismal record in the courts for his lawsuits.

However, it is unknown – and frankly, it wouldn’t matter – if contributors have read the fine print:

75% of money given to TMAGA will go to Save America, a political action committee Trump set up that allows him to spend the money on political activity, including holding rallies, advertising, fundraising, travel and supporting other candidates. The balance goes to the Republican National Committee.

The PAC is an alternative to raising money for the campaign directly, which is limited in what it can do with the cash in its coffers. Unless he officially files as a candidate running for president in 2024, Trump’s campaign can only raise money to pay down debts, fund his legal challenges or pay for modest wind-down expenses, said Larry Noble, a former general counsel at the FEC.

Interestingly, Trump’s campaign has $18.4 million cash, which is far more than enough to cover the $11.3 million owed to vendors. But still, if more money is there for the taking, why not just take it.

There are, however, limits on what the money can be spent on. Trump’s legal expenses won’t see much of it. But there is a plan to cover those:

Trump is funding those through the campaign, which attributed $4.3 million of the $37.5 million it raised after Election Day to its recount fund. The campaign also listed $8.8 million of recount expenses, with the biggest line item the $3 million paid for a partial recount in Wisconsin…The post-election pitches have not only raised more money than Trump’s closing argument for a second term, they’ve been far more cost effective. TMAGA spent $22.4 million on fundraising expenses after the election, compared to $43.5 million in the weeks leading up to and including Election Day.

In other words, when you’re running a successful grift, why stop it? It would be foolish to put the brakes on it now. Undermining the election? Trying to disenfranchise millions of voters? Undermining democracy? Making Herculean efforts to subvert the election in various states? Sow discord and distrust in our electoral process? Eh, whatever. If that’s what it takes to rake in the cash, then it’s a small price to pay for someone hell-bent on making a massive power grab and denying that he lost the election. Now that he has a substantial number of Congressional Republicans supporting him in his lunacy, one wonder just how long he will keep the nuttiness going. But remember, Trump will meet his electoral fate on Monday.

The prescience of David French: “When I wrote my book (finished in March), I warned that future politicians might recklessly threaten the union to preserve their power. In the election contest, the president, 126 members of Congress, and 18 state AG’s say that future is now.”


23 Responses to “Why Stop Now: Trump Reaping Big Bucks Post-Election”

  1. My sympathy toward Trump supporters being duped by Trump’s manipulation is gone. There is absolutely no reason why anyone in their right mind should continue to support the dishonest and self-serving behavior of a man seated in the most powerful position in our nation after having seen lawsuit after lawsuit tossed out of the courts by both Democratic-appointed and Republican-appointed judges.

    Dana (cc9481)

  2. Since you brought up French, Dana, here’s some more

    I went over the rather glaring factual and legal problems with the case in my newsletter Wednesday. Rather than explain them again in detail today, I’ll sum up the basic deficiencies: Texas doesn’t have standing, Texas’s factual claims are almost laughably incoherent, its legal claims have been repeatedly rejected by previous courts, and there is no legal foundation for the remedy they seek.

    The president, of course, endorsed it immediately.

    And now 17 state attorneys general and 106 Republican members of Congress have filed amicus briefs in support of Texas’s frivolous case. This is dangerous, irresponsible behavior. Most (but not all) of the signatories know the case has no chance. They also know that by filing an amicus brief, they’re communicating exactly the opposite message to their constituents.

    Many of them also know that if the Supreme Court did rule in their favor, it would likely break this country. In fact, many of their own states (including Texas) made election changes to accommodate the pandemic that would be unlawful under the logic of their argument. Similar lawsuits would gut the entire election, generate massive chaos, and surely lead to political violence and calls for separation and secession.

    Making a lawless Supreme Court argument in the effort to create such a crisis is one of the most breathtakingly irresponsible (and outright malicious) public acts I’ve ever seen in my life.

    When I wrote my book, I intended to warn that our political climate was becoming so toxic that future politicians would be so reckless as to seek to break America. I did not believe 18 state attorneys general, and 106 members of Congress, would court the worst constitutional crisis since 1860 to keep Donald Trump in power. Donald. Trump. It’s astonishing and heartbreaking.

    Trump devotees have eyes to see and ears to ear. They have no excuse defending and supporting this post-election charade. They are complicit in Trump’s Big Lie, and they are damaging this democracy right before our very eyes.

    Paul Montagu (5a2167)

  3. I cannot think of a reason I would send money to a billionaire. Any billionaire. No matter what their politics.

    Nic (896fdf)

  4. “As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day, the plain folks of the land will reach their hearts desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”
    H.L. Mencken “Bayard and Lionheart” 26 July 1920

    Knickerbocker Slobberknocker (27d313)

  5. “Leadership PACs can be used to effectively keep your campaign staff on the payroll, keep them in your orbit, pay for travel, pay for rallies, even for polling,” said Brendan Fischer, the director of the federal reform program at the Campaign Legal Center, which supports greater regulation of these entities. “Trump could potentially use his new leadership PAC to not only preserve his influence within the Republican party after he leaves the White House, but also to potentially to benefit him and his family financially.”

    Trump could fly to rallies and give speeches, mostly what he loves doing, pretty much until he dies. All nice and paid for.

    Always Be Chiseling.

    Victor (4959fb)

  6. My sympathy toward Trump supporters being duped by Trump’s manipulation is gone. There is absolutely no reason why anyone in their right mind should continue to support the dishonest and self-serving behavior of a man seated in the most powerful position in our nation after having seen lawsuit after lawsuit tossed out of the courts by both Democratic-appointed and Republican-appointed judges.

    Dana (cc9481) — 12/11/2020 @ 11:17 am

    I have no sympathy for them. I think it’s hilarious that he’s ripping of his supporters like this. If you’re dumb enough to fall for it at this point you deserve to get fleeced.

    Time123 (66d88c)

  7. I’m leaning towards the position that the House should refuse to seat the Congresspeople who signed the amicus brief, and that all of them, plus the involved state attorneys general, are technically guilty of treason and should at the very least be impeached so as to prevent them from ever holding federal office again.

    This won’t happen. But if it doesn’t, I don’t see how we prevent a future attempt to do exactly what they’re trying to do now.

    aphrael (4c4719)

  8. A fool and his money are soon parted…

    Hoi Polloi (7cefeb)

  9. This might be the most money Trump has ever made.

    Fred (92cd93)

  10. David French is irrelevant.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  11. #7

    You really don’t want to make a court filing an act of treason. Just remember their names.

    Appalled (00e1f3)

  12. i got a text message today from harvardtrash ted asking for money to argue president donalds case in front of the supremes

    Dave (1bb933)

  13. I think you guys are half-right. The state AGs, Representatives, and Senators are pandering slime buckets who are willing to sacrifice their principles in order to keep their offices. However, there are many upright, ordinary citizens out there who support Trump for what they believe are good reasons.

    As for them being dumb and duped, I could make the same argument about people who believe in religion.

    norcal (670733)

  14. My comment at 13 was over the line. I apologize.

    norcal (670733)

  15. > However, there are many upright, ordinary citizens out there who support Trump for what they believe are good reasons.

    I made that argument myself, up until this summer. After this summer, continuing to support Trump meant endorsing his handling of the pandemic, and it’s a real struggle to me to understand how anyone could do that.

    After his post-election shenanigans, I think it’s impossible. Supporting Trump means you think his shenanigans are *preferable* to the alternatives. Whatever someone’s so-called good reasons are, they’re insufficient.

    aphrael (4c4719)

  16. Appalled — you’re right, I don’t want to make a court filing treason.

    But I *do* want something in place to ensure that we never again have a quarter of the Congress including the leadership of the majority party supporting a frivolous lawsuit’s attempt to overturn the properly codified results of an election.

    Because I do not trust the 35-40% of the public who are convinced that the election was stolen from Trump to change their mind, and I do not trust the 126 congressmen who signed on to this atrocity to not pander to that 35-40% and use them in the future to help seize power in the face of an electoral loss.

    This *can not* be tolerated.

    aphrael (4c4719)

  17. @15 Many of his supporters don’t think he handled the pandemic badly. If they do, they have what they feel are other reasons to support him. His fans don’t see Trump’s actions as shenanigans.

    Almost nobody goes to the voting both with the intent to vote for evil. People just see things differently. Virtually everyone wants peace and prosperity. They disagree on how to get there.

    norcal (670733)

  18. Thank you, norcal, for 14.

    David French is irrelevant.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5) — 12/11/2020 @ 4:10 pm

    I happen to think he is a good thinker who is willing to challenge any politician regardless of their party and faith. That makes him especially relevant in the season of Trump idol worship. We need more public voice to stand up for informed thinking, strong principles, and the Constitution – regardless of who gets hit the hardest.

    Dana (cc9481)

  19. I waded into the election issue with my 89-year-old mother tonight. She can still bring it when it comes to discussing politics. Unfortunately, she has bought into all the Trump propaganda. She said the election was rigged, Biden would be weak on China, the Green New Deal would be passed, and Kamala Harris would issue an executive order to ban guns. She insisted Trump had done good things. She mentioned the wall and abortion. I replied that Trump had done some good things, but his degradation of society was a heavy price to pay for those good things.

    She talked about the mail-in ballots, and all the fraud inherent in them. She even mentioned Stacey Abrams, and equated Trump’s failure to concede with that of Abrams.

    I told her she has been watching Fox News too much, and talking with too many like-minded people. She said CNN and others are biased for Biden. I agreed with her, and told her the truth was somewhere in the middle. I suggested she adopt a more nuanced take.

    Who knows if it will have any effect on her. She’s pretty set in her ways. I probably will be too when I’m that old.

    norcal (670733)

  20. Turn out the lights the partys over! Trump can now turn to cleanse the republican party of krypto never trumper economic libertarian free trade conservatives. Maybe the can get a job with communist china.

    asset (a52b6e)

  21. Trump can now turn to cleanse the republican party of krypto never trumper economic libertarian free trade conservatives.

    So, trade is your boogeyman?

    Many people fall into the trap of thinking that countries trade with each other. No they don’t.
    It’s not like the U.S. government contacts the Chinese government and says we’ll trade you this for that.

    In reality, companies trade with each other. It’s called capitalism, and it’s the opposite of communism.

    norcal (670733)

  22. I don’t think this is about the money. That’s obviously a nice fringe benefit but my sense is he knows that he’s in grave legal jeopardy as soon as the power of the office disappears and wants to demonstrate just how much chaos he can cause if he isn’t given a pass.

    I’d say it’s working. Trying to prosecute him could create an actual civil war even though his criminality is plainly visible.

    Bob (f2f128)

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