Since March, the campaign has been laying off field staff en masse around the country and has dismantled much of what existed of its organizations in general-election battlegrounds, including Florida and Ohio.
Last month, the campaign laid off the leader of its data team, Matt Braynard, who did not train a successor. It elevated his No. 2, a data engineer with little prior high-level political strategy experience, and also shifted some of his team’s duties to a 2015 college graduate whose last job was an internship with the consumer products company Colgate-Palmolive. Some of the campaign’s data remains inaccessible.
As the final stretch of this hard fought GOP primary bogs down into a delegate fight among party insiders and operatives that likely won’t be decided until the July convention in Cleveland, Trump’s singular star power appears to be no longer enough—and his campaign’s months-long lack of attention to other fundamentals is emerging as a hindrance to his ability to clinch the nomination outright.
“Presidential campaigns are a team sport, and he doesn’t have that mentality,” one high-level GOP operative said. “That’s why they’re missing a lot of these opportunities that are passing them by. [Trump] might be a great quarterback, but every quarterback still needs a strong offensive line.”