There’s no reason why you have to read the full, 814-page final report issued last night by the January 6th Select Committee, but what everyone should read is Appendix III, pps. 770-805, entitled ‘The Big Rip-Off: Follow The Money,’ which I am hoping will at some point be an issue that would attract the scrutiny it deserves.
I wish I could find this paper, it’s a research paper done a few years ago by a group of economists are MIT, and it is a very detailed attempt to figure out the impact of how much money is spent in a political campaign. And what the MIT team ends up saying is that the amount spent by a candidate running for any elective office only makes a difference if the candidate is hardly known and needs to build recognition for his or her name.
This certainly wouldn’t describe candidate Trump at the beginning of the 2020 election. In fact, from the very first head-to-head poll versus Joe Biden, the gap favoring Joe was seven points, a number which never wavered throughout the entire campaign. In fact, pollster after pollster remarked on how unusual it was to see not the slightest shift in electoral percentages over such a lengthy period of time.
The MIT research states that voters support a candidate for one or both of two reasons: either the voters just like a candidate in terms of how the candidate looks or talks, or they like a candidate because of what he or she has to say. In Trump’s case, his likability numbers cratered after he refused to completely and immediately disavow the Nazi march through Charlottesville, and he never recovered from that date. Additionally, his management of the Pandemic was abysmal or worse.
Why did Joe win the 2020 contest? Because he simply sat there and assured the American people that he wasn’t Donald Trump. That’s all he needed to do – be a quiet and controlled anti-Trump.
What makes Appendix III so instructive and revealing about January 6th is that the riot was the unintended consequence of a marketing campaign which raised “an unprecedented amount of political donations using inflammatory messaging alleging that the 2020 U.S. Presidential election was stolen.”
In other words, the decision to promote the idea of ‘election fraud’ had nothing to do with whether any fraud actually occurred but was all about generating cash revenues which could not only underwrite the Trump campaign but could also be used to augment create a financial windfall for Trump and his friends.
What they did was to set up a separate fundraising operation aimed at small donors and inundate them with as many as 20 email solicitations every day. The text of these emails often copied comments that Trump was making online, the goal being “to make the millions of recipients of aggressive, hyperbolic fundraising emails believe that the emails were coming from President Trump himself.” [p. 773.]
The Final Report doesn’t explain how Trump and his team settled on the idea of election ‘fraud’ as the narrative they would use to define their campaign, but telling small donors that their election was being ‘stolen’ from them by an unseen group of elitist Deep State adherents was perfectly in line with the whole MAGA appeal which is based on the idea that hardworking Americans are getting screwed by a government controlled by an international conspiracy which wants to give everything away to the Muslims, the illegal immigrants and all those non-Whites.
Meanwhile, not only did this fundraising effort generate huge amounts of cash for the Trump campaign, but the effort continued and expanded after the election, taking in more than $250 million after November 3rd, much of which was spent on salaries for Trump’s post-election team, as well as paid out to various companies affiliated with Trump and his friends.
The fact that every dollar in political donations has to be listed in reports given to the Federal Election Commission is hardly a way to keep sticky fingers away from the cash pot. The Committee’s report lists hundreds of thousands of dollars in payments to companies who are described as having provided services to the Trump campaign, but these services are never detailed, and the ownership of these Delaware corporations is never disclosed.
How could someone resist the temptation to phony up a deal like this one, particularly when that someone is a seasoned flim-flam artist like Trump? This is a guy, after all, who created an entire educational program known as Trump University, which was nothing more than a total and complete scam.