Donald Trump’s failure to launch
The treasonous former President announces a re-election bid with his digital operation leaving much to be desired
If you thought we’d all have the opportunity to take a nice break from campaign season and celebrate Democratic wins, you’d be sorely mistaken. The 2024 campaign has already begun, and Georgia’s crucial U.S. Senate runoff is less than 3 weeks away.
On Tuesday night, Donald Trump took the stage at Mar-a-Lago to announce his much-anticipated comeback bid for President in 2024. In this week’s FWIW, I’ll break down online engagement around his campaign launch and assess his 2024 operation’s digital strengths and weaknesses. But first…
By the numbers
FWIW, here were the top-spending political advertisers on Facebook + Instagram last week:
The majority of spending you see in the above chart took place from November 6th - 8th, as campaigns and organizations were spending down their ad budgets through Election Day. The exception to that is Raphael Warnock’s campaign, which has since launched new multi-platform digital ads educating Georgians on the December 6th runoff election.
Since last Tuesday, Warnock has spent around $1.6 million on this type of Facebook advertising while his opponent, Herschel Walker, has put a little over $100,000 behind these ads.
Meanwhile, here were the top political advertisers on Google platforms last week, including YouTube:
Warnock also topped the list of political advertisers on Google and YouTube last week. In the days since Election Day, several outside groups like Senate Majority PAC’s “Georgia Honor” and conservative One Nation have also continued to spend in the Peach State:
…and here are the top political ad spenders on Snapchat so far this year:
Are you in DC on December 1st?
There’s no party like a FWIW party, and we’re excited to partner with COURIER to host a big election debrief + happy hour at the Eaton in DC on December 1st.
We’ve got a line-up of some of the smartest minds in politics to share what they believe happened in 2022 and how campaigns should be run moving forward. It’s free to join, but the space will fill up fast. RSVP here>>
From around the internet
Most Democratic voters hate receiving unsolicited campaign spam emails & text messages, according to a new survey by Civic Shout & Daily Kos. Read the findings via Civic Shout’s Josh Nelson here>>
Republicans are scamming supporters of Herschel Walker to raise money for their own campaigns and organizations.
I joined Republican strategist Eric Wilson on the Business of Politics podcast this week, where I broke down Republicans’ “old-school” campaign tactics in the midterms. Listen here or wherever you get your podcasts>>
Nancy Scola has a great report in POLITICO Magazine about Washington’s infatuation with Twitter, and why many of us in DC just can’t quit the site.
Senate Democrats may have kept control of the chamber this cycle, but 2024 is going to be a whole other beast. In West Virginia, Rep. Alex Mooney just announced his intent to take on Joe Manchin, Sherrod Brown says he’s in for another re-election bid in Ohio, and the Montana GOP is salivating at the chance to take on Jon Tester in Montana.
The head of Trafalgar Group - widely considered to be the worst pollster of 2022 - isn’t really ready to apologize.
Donald Trump’s failure to launch
Launch day is typically one of the most critical days for a campaign. Successful candidates often release inspirational, well-produced videos, generate tons of earned media, rally with their supporters, and - most importantly - raise loads of money online. Good campaigns have functioning websites, optimized donate pages, and social media accounts ready to go.
By those standards, Donald Trump’s presidential campaign kickoff on Tuesday night was a little less than optimal. While the treasonous former President’s kickoff speech did generate around 8 million views across cable networks, his once-vaunted digital operation left much to be desired. By the next morning, the political press had begun to move on.
Donald Trump starts his online campaign in a significantly weaker position than he was in just several years ago. Facebook’s algorithm seems to be de-prioritizing political content, curtailing the impact of a critical right-wing online ecosystem. Most importantly, he’s still not allowed to post on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or YouTube - forcing him to rely on digital campaign consiglieres like Don Jr. or right-wing media personalities to carry his water.
On Facebook, his campaign launch did not drive huge engagement numbers. Here were the most-engaged public Facebook posts in the U.S. this week mentioning the former President: