Trump's campaign gives up on key swing states to burn money where he can't win

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The Trump campaign has already spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to run ads Trump can watch from the White House to raise his spirits.

Facing plummeting polls and a budget crunch in the final stretch of the 2020 presidential race, Donald Trump's campaign has rearranged their television advertising budget, cutting spending in critical swing states like Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, and Iowa, and instead shoring up traditionally Republican states like Arizona and Georgia, according to ad spending tracked by Priorities USA.

As the Trump campaign took millions of dollars worth of ads off the air in states that are key to Trump building a path to 270 Electoral College votes, it increased ad spending by $230,000 in the Washington, D.C., media market.

It's a bizarre move given the city and the surrounding states of Maryland and Virginia are overwhelmingly Democratic and Trump has virtually no chance of winning either this fall. In 2016, Hillary Clinton carried the District of Columbia by an 87-point margin, Maryland by a 26-point margin, and Virginia by a 5.5-point margin — and Democratic nominee Joe Biden is expected to expand those leads this fall.

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It is, however, part of a pattern from the Trump campaign, which has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on advertising in the Washington this cycle to keep Trump — an obsessive cable news watcher — happy.

On June 9, the Daily Beast reported that the ads were intended to be seen by Trump while watching cable news at the White House to raise his spirits. At the time, Biden had a 7.5-point lead over Trump in FiveThirtyEight's national average.

Today, Trump's polling deficit is the worst it has ever been, with Biden leading Trump in the FiveThirtyEight average by 10.1% — a massive lead that threatens to sweep Republicans out of power in up and down the ballot.

It's left the Trump campaign playing defense in states like Arizona, Georgia, Florida and Pennsylvania, which Trump carried in 2016 but are now slipping away from him.

The biggest ad spending increase by the Trump campaign was in Arizona, which hasn't voted for a Democratic presidential nominee since 1996, but where Biden currently leads.

The Trump campaign also pumped more money into Pennsylvania, the state largely seen by political prognosticator as the "tipping point" state — meaning the state that would push either nominee past the 270 Electoral College votes needed to win.

Meanwhile, as the Trump campaign is forced to play defense after it blew nearly $1 billion before Labor Day, Biden's campaign is pushing into states that would push Biden far past 270 Electoral College votes.

The Biden campaign — which raised a record $365 million in August and likely broke that record in its September haul — is spending $6 million on ads in Texas. Texas hasn't voted for a Democratic presidential nominee since 1976; however, polling this cycle shows Trump only leading Biden by 1.7%, according to FiveThirtyEight.

The Biden campaign is also spending on ads in Georgia, which hasn't gone Democratic since 1992, as well as in Ohio and Iowa, two states Trump carried in 2016 that have shifted away from him since, with Biden in striking distance in both.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.