The Washington Post snagged this astonishing, sign-of-the-times scoop Tuesday night: Donald Trump, the Republican candidate for president and de facto leader of the party, and his campaign have stopped fundraising for the Republican National Committee. In fact, Trump Victory, the joint fundraising committee for the party and the campaign, held its last formal fundraiser on Oct. 19, nearly three weeks before the election, the campaign’s national finance chairman, Steven Mnuchin, told the Post. “We’ve kind of wound down,” Mnuchin said in reference to formal fundraisers. “But the online fundraising continues to be strong.” (Update, 11:45 p.m.: The Trump campaign issued this statement from spokesman Jason Miller in response to the reporting on its fundraising, “All fundraising, large and small including our Victory effort, will continue through the end of the election.”)
Just, kinda, wound down? Wound down trying to win? It seems pretty clear, if it wasn’t clear already, that both sides—the GOP and the Trump campaign—have given up on each other. Trump never appeared to care about building a governing majority, or governing in general, so it doesn’t seem like much of a shock that raising money for the GOP party apparatus wasn’t his bag. And, in fairness to Trump, his entire campaign was based on sticking it to the party apparatus, so giving big sums of money to Trump wasn’t exactly traditional GOP donors’ bag either. In the end, the big ticket fundraisers also likely wound down because there weren’t many more funds to raise. Either way, from a party perspective, this could be a (the latest?) death knell, certainly for Trump, but likely for many Republican candidates in tight races up and down the ballot.
“The consequences of halting major fundraisers will compound the challenges facing a candidate and a party already straining to match Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s much larger and better-financed operation,” the Post notes. “Unlike Clinton, who has an extensive turnout operation of her own, Trump and many other GOP candidates down the ballot are relying heavily on the Republican National Committee to bring voters to the polls.”
By contrast, the Clinton campaign has 41 fundraising events lined up between now and Election Day, accord to the Post.* Hillary Clinton’s last fundraising gig will be Tuesday night, but the campaign still has dozens and dozens more lined up featuring other high-profile surrogates. Clinton has also been reportedly weighing her strategic options when it comes to redirecting funds to bolster Democratic candidates in tight races. Obama has also been on the road trying to take advantage of the GOP’s top of the ticket weakness to pick off some congressional districts and Senate races that weren’t considered winnable previously.
*Update, Oct. 25, 2016: This sentence was updated to make more clear that the Clinton campaign has 41 fundraisers remaining, not Clinton herself.