Trump Supporters Unequivocally Bad at Math
Matea Gold of The Washington Post reported today that Donald Trump raised $51MM in June. About half of that sum ($26MM) was raised through online and mail solicitations. The other $25MM came from GOP Fundraising events.
Make no mistake, this number is staggering. Especially when you consider, as Gold points out in her article, much of that money was raised in the final 10 days of the month — when Trump’s Campaign started aggressively asking its supporters for money online for the first time. This report should alarm anyone who hopes to keep the stubby fingered charlatan out of the highest office in the country. After all, it was only 16 days ago that The New York Times published a scathing article, ridiculing Trump for only having $1.3MM on hand — a paltry sum which threatened to bury his campaign before it ever got off the ground.
Let’s put aside the money raised by The GOP, and instead focus on the $26MM Trump was able to raise, Bernie Sanders style, ostensibly from individual contributors. While most analysts believe Trump’s net worth to be far less than the $10BB he claims, it’s safe to assume the individuals supporting his campaign trust his bluster. If that’s true then it is yet another devastating blow to their perceived intellect.
For comparison’s sake let’s take the total amount of money raised by The 2012 Obama Campaign, $1BB, as a reasonable fundraising goal for The Trump Campaign. This represents 10% of Trump’s purported net worth. A significant chunk, for sure, but the only way for a true populist to run would be to reject the influence of outside money, and Trump’s supporters definitely view him as a populist candidate. I’m choosing to ignore the $50MM Trump claims to have given to his campaign because there has been no documentation presented which shows his forgiving of a $50MM loan to his campaign, and this seems like something totally out of character for Trump to do.
Instead, because Trump is almost certainly worth far less than $10BB, he has opted to raise money from his base. So who is Trump’s base? The Atlantic reported in March that the single best predictor of Trump support in the GOP Primary was the absence of a college degree. According to Evan Soltas who analyzed Trump’s blow-out victory in New Hampshire:
For every 1 percentage point more college graduates over the age of 25, Donald Trump’s share of votes falls by 0.65 percentage points
The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the average weekly income for someone holding only a high-school diploma or equivalent was $638 in 2011, which adds up to just over $33k annually. A $33k HHI would put you in the 40th percentile of wage earners in America, and according to Forbes 63% of Americans do not have $500 saved to pay for an emergency while a full 30% would have to either open a credit card or borrow money from friends or family in such an emergency. (23% said they could pay for a $500 emergency if they cut back on spending in other areas of their life). These stats indicate that a vast majority of Trump Supporters who donated to his campaign likely have less than $500 in savings. (Editors Note: I wholeheartedly disagree with the thesis of that Forbes piece, but numbers are numbers)
If we take Bernie Sanders’ average campaign donation of $27 as a benchmark for public contributions that would mean most Trump supporters are committing a minimum of 5% of their savings to fund their candidate’s campaign. A candidate they believe to be worth $10BB which, if true, would mean he could entirely self-fund his campaign by putting up 10% of his Net Worth, and still have $9BB left over to live on. At $33k / year it would take a Trump supporter 272,727 years to earn $9BB, or in other words a Trump supporter would have had to have started working 72,727 years prior to Homo Sapiens appearing on The Earth to hit $9BB in lifelong earnings in the year 2016.
This isn’t anything new for Donald Trump. From defaulting on his debts to blue-collar workers in Atlantic City to the clear predatory practices adopted by Trump University — Donald Trump has, for nearly his entire career, made his money through scams that take advantage of the most vulnerable Americans. He is able to pull off these scams because he’s convinced people that he is a successful businessman, and the name Trump equals class and success. Talk about irony…
In less than two weeks The GOP will nominate the biggest con-man to ever run for office in this country as their candidate for The Presidency. If he wins we can point to our educational system and the lack of mathematical fluency it has produced as a significant enabler of our intellectual decline.