Is Trump finally willing to spend big?

He noted in another tweet that his campaign was $35 million under budget. But the image of the Trump campaign as a model of financial frugality and rectitude is undercut by the fact that—as Tim Fernholz spotted—he’s paying about a quarter of his campaign expenses to himself, in the form of payouts to his own companies.

Fernholz wryly notes that Trump suggested in 2000, during an earlier presidential flirtation, that he could be the first candidate to make a profit on a campaign. But what if that really is what’s going on? One of the other mysteries of Trump’s spending is that despite his nearly constant mentions that he’s self-funding his campaign, it’s not really true. While Trump isn’t holding fundraisers in the traditional sense—no bundlers, no $2,700 per plate dinners, no multimillionaire-backed super PACs—he is taking in money in the form of donations, whether as cash or as payment for those confounded “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN” hats…

Since a few million dollars is basically chump change to Trump, why hasn’t he been more willing to open up his wallet earlier? If Trump is unable to seal the deal in the Republican primary, it probably won’t be because of lack of support—it will be because of lack of reliable polling, get-out-the-vote efforts, advertising, and the like. If he loses out on the nomination for lack of willingness to spend, Trump will come off looking penny-wise and pound-foolish.

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