The email scandal may be rocking Clinton strategists, but they are anything but deterred from their goal as their targeted ad buys escalate and the Trump campaign has yet to act.
For several weeks headlines like “Clinton Spending Roughly $500,000 a Day on TV Ads, Trump Zero” and “Democrats Bet the House on Trump” declare Clinton’s campaign’s plan to outspend and out-strategize Trump’s, especially in swing states. In June, the campaign spent $9 million of its own resources, while pro-Clinton super PAC Priorities USA spent $17 million. Spending in Florida was highest, at $7.9 million, and Ohio second at $5.6 million. Beyond those two, spending ranged from $2.9 million in Colorado to $1.2 million in New Hampshire.
The ads serve several goals. They indeed do concentrate on the eight swing-states: Florida, Colorado, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia.
They put Trump on the defensive in states he might win, like Nebraska or North Carolina, forcing him, when he does launch ads, to spend to protect current advantages rather than expand into presumed Clinton territory.
By targeting swing congressional districts, they support House candidates in swing districts in states like Texas or Kansas.
How Hillary Clinton’s Campaign Ad Spending Strategy Helps Congressional Races
That same strategy also pulls House campaign resources from new initiatives. As Politico’s Garrett M. Graff explained, “The hope is that a combination of Democrats riled up by Trump, moderate Republicans and independents turned off to the party brand, and disaffected Republicans staying home will accelerate blue shifts in marginal districts to start their long road back to the majority.”
“But more immediately,” Graff continues, “they’re hoping to pick off enough moderate Republicans to leave House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) squeezed by the Freedom Caucus come January, which they believe will neutralize him both in Congress and as a potential 2020 challenger to Clinton.”
In other words, it’s a three-for-the-price-of-one investment:
As San Francisco Professor and Bloomberg analyst Ken Goldstein adds, “Advertising is reality. Campaigns can talk about states being competitive or not competitive, but where they put their TV dollars reveals what they really think.”
The question now is, as Trump continues to delay ad spending, what will we learn about his strategy when he finally opens his wallet?