Speed Reads

Can't buy me love

Trump's campaign has vastly outspent Biden, who currently leads by 9 points

President Trump, the Republican Party, and two allied committees have spent nearly $1 billion since Trump launched his campaign in 2017, according to Federal Election Commission filings released Monday. The huge sum, more than $983 million, eclipses the $552 million former President Barack Obama had spent at this point in his 2012 re-election campaign, The Washington Post notes.

Trump's campaign and its affiliates spent about $240 million in June and ended the month with $296 million in the bank. Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden's campaign and its affiliates spent $165 million in June and entered July with $238.5 million. Despite Trump's generous spending and shrinking cash advantage, Biden has maintained a lead of about 9 percentage points for more than a month, according to polling averages by RealClearPolitics and FiveThirtyEight.

"The last time a candidate sustained such a large advantage for so long was nearly 25 years ago, when Bill Clinton led Bob Dole in 1996," Nate Cohn reports at The New York Times, and Biden's enduring lead makes it "harder to assume that it is just another fleeting shift in the polls. Perhaps the lead is not just different in size and length, but also in kind. It's possible the nation's political stalemate has been broken, at least for now, by one issue: the president's handling of the coronavirus pandemic."

"Nothing compares to the daily impression he's making, with his handling of the pandemic and with the state of the economy," Michael Malbin at the nonpartisan Campaign Finance Institute tells the Post. "If those turn around, his support will turn around. If they don't, no amount of advertising will help."

Even if he loses, Trump wouldn't come out empty-handed, though: His campaign and affiliated committees sent another $45,123 to Trump's family businesses in June. Trump and the Republican National Committee say their record spending has been used to hire a large staff across the country, bolster the campaign's data capabilities, and finance litigation tied to voting access.