The Slatest

Donald Trump Thinks He Can Win California (He Can’t)

Donald Trump addresses the California Republican Party Convention on April 29 in Burlingame, California.

Ramin Talaie/Getty Images

Plenty of people have vaguely surmised that Donald Trump’s nomination marks the end of the Republican Party as we knew it. But what is even the mechanism for that? Is there some sort of vehicle through which the death of one of America’s two major parties is processed?

Of course there is: bankruptcy. We don’t mean in any metaphorical chin-stroking sense like “moral bankruptcy” either. We’re talking cold, hard, say-bye-bye Chapter 7 bankruptcy, from which arises a more natural constellation of reactionary tribal entities.

Trump, aka Captain Bankruptcy, met with his finance team, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, and several dozen Republican donor types Thursday at New York City’s Four Seasons to lay out his big plans to crush Crooked Hillary Clinton.


Only one of those states, Pennsylvania, can be understood as “in play.” The others are not, and California and New Jersey are also money holes. You can’t even use the “well, we’ll at least force Clinton to defend there” justification in any of these states. Clinton does not have to defend there. She can watch from Ohio as Donald Trump burns through all of his, the RNC’s, and Republican donors’ money—although it’s hard to imagine that these donors will be inclined to give Trump money after he told them he plans to spend it in California.

There is something about Trump’s personality that makes him believe he needs a marquee media-centric state like California. He probably doesn’t see the typical Republican strategy of cleaning up in the South and the Plains as “flashy” enough for his brand. He’ll think he has to win California because it’s large and beautiful and he owns great properties there, terrific views, some of the best land in the world, really, like you wouldn’t believe.

Profound financial mistakes are going to be made with the money Trump is able to siphon from wealthy GOP donors. And that’s most likely how the GOP goes out of business.

Read more Slate coverage of the 2016 campaign.