Trump campaign sets 'money on fire' with ads in states he can't win

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The Trump campaign has spent nearly $500,000 on ads aimed directly at its candidate.

Donald Trump's reelection campaign is continuing to spend money on ads in states he has almost no shot at winning in November, raising questions about the campaign's strategy exactly three months out from Election Day.

The Trump campaign on Monday purchased $38,000 on ads just on Fox News in Washington, D.C., that will run from Monday through Aug. 16, according to Medium Buying, which tracks political ad buys.

That follows an earlier $38,000 buy in the same market for ads that ran from July 23 to July 28.

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The likely audience for Trump campaign ads in such a reliably Democratic area is Donald Trump himself.

The campaign first started employing this tactic to mollify its candidate in late May, when it spent $400,000 to run ads on cable news networks in the Washington, D.C., media market as Trump began to worry about his reelection chances.

It has spent at least $476,000 on such ads.

The fact that neither the District of Columbia nor Maryland or Virginia is likely to vote for Trump in November makes the ad buys an even more confounding use of campaign cash in a critical stretch of the election — unless Trump is indeed their target audience.

Since the 23rd Amendment to the Constitution gave citizens of Washington, D.C., the right to vote for electors to the Electoral College back in 1961, they have voted Democratic in every presidential election.

Maryland has voted Democratic in every presidential contest since 1992. Virginia voted Democratic in the 2008 presidential election, and has grown increasingly bluer since, thanks to demographic changes and suburban voters fleeing the GOP.

The advertising in the D.C. area comes after the Trump campaign last week removed its ads from the air as part of a revamping of its strategy, as polls show Trump losing to presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.

The Biden campaign has been outraising the Trump campaign in donations.

Trump campaign aides have tried to brighten Trump's spirits by highlighting such events as Trump supporters holding boat parades along with the ad buys on networks Trump watches.

Democratic strategists seem bemused by their Republican counterparts' actions.

"One thing that survived the Trump campaign ad strategy reset is the need to light money on fire by advertising to Trump on Fox and Friends," tweeted Josh Schwerin, a strategist at the Democratic super PAC Priorities USA.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.